600,000 rural poor micro and small entrepreneurs to receive support

About 600,000 rural poor Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) in 160 districts nationwide are expected to receive various forms of support under the Rural Enterprises Project (REP) from 2012-2020.

The National Project Co-ordinator of REP, Mr Kwesi Attah-Antwi who announced this said the project would provide credit funds to 32,000 MSEs especially women groups and youth start-up enterprises, which is expected to generate 100,000 additional jobs.

It would also establish about 36,000 new businesses and strengthen 70,000 existing ones in all the municipal and district assemblies.
Mr Attah-Antwi made this known in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Mankessim in the Central Region after the launch of the Third Phase of REP.

The occasion coincided with the inauguration of a multi-million cedis Rural Technology Facility and the opening of a five –day trade and exhibition fair.
He said REP was part of government’s efforts to reduce poverty and improve upon the living conditions in rural areas.

Mr Attah-Antwi said the programme is being funded by the government of Ghana, African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development Bank.
The National Co-ordinator pointed out that the programme estimated at GHȼ330.8 million is to improve the livelihood and incomes of rural poor micro and small enterprises.

It also seeks to increase the number of rural micro and small enterprises that generate profit, growth and employment opportunities.
Mr Attah-Antwi explained that the REP would have a particular attention for vulnerable groups including rural women and the youth.

It would also attract the youth to MSEs and value chain opportunities in order to face the challenges of unemployment and underemployment.
He said the programme would implement a youth action plan to support the beneficiaries to graduate from the attainment of basic skills training to commercial loans for enterprise growth.
The first phase of REP was implemented from 1995 to 2002 in 13 districts in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions while the second phase, which started in 2003-2011, is being implemented in 66 districts.

Mrs Marie Laure Akin-Olugbade, Resident Representative of the African Development Bank Group, said her outfit engaged in the REP in 2003 with the objective of slowing rural-urban drift, contributing to the creation of sustainable jobs and disseminating appropriate technologies.
She said REP was one of the interventions that the Bank expects to undertake during the period of 2012-2016 to support the government objective of promoting infrastructure development of entrepreneurship.

Mrs Akin-Olugbade said the Bank is also supporting a study on opportunities to enhance youth employment in agriculture through the REP phase three intervention. GNA

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