Date: 2018-10-31

A former President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and Chairman of the Afariwaa Group of Companies, Nana Dr. Owusu-Afari, has launched his book titled “Growing the Ghanaian Informal & Small Businesses” in Accra.

The book, which focuses on the nature and development of the small business and the informal sector in Ghana, is borne out of the experiences of the author in his many years of doing business in Ghana both as an informal and formal businessman.

In his address, the author, Nana Dr. Owusu-Afari underscored the important roles informal and small businesses play in the socio-economic development of the country. He stated that “with the explosion in youth population growth resulting from the annual increases in graduates coming out of our vocational, technical and tertiary institutions, the informal businesses become the main guaranteed and ready source of employment available for the majority of these youth”.

He was however quick to point out that many of these businesses are faced with very difficult and hostile business climate, which affects their growth. “If you meet any Ghanaian businessman or woman, you would hear a lot of harrowing stories of how they ploughed through uncharted terrain, falling and rising before coming to where they are now”, he stated. Narrating his personal experiences, Nana Owusu-Afari disclosed how he persisted against all odds before becoming a successful formalized business, disclosing that he had to sell his house at a point to pay debts.

The author observed that many studies on informal businesses in Ghana go unpublished, a situation which leads to the recurrence of the same challenges and difficulties to SMEs. “I realize that a number of studies conducted on Industry go unpublished and it will be useful for these works to be published to offer some learning experience. There could be a lot more success stories to tell if much of the challenges identified in the studies and explained in the book had been addressed earlier by our Governments and policy makers. The current trend observed in the studies is that informal businesses are increasing at a faster rate in Ghana and the earlier we adopt policies that can help them grow positively to help the economy the better it will be for our growth and our development as a nation”, he opined.

The author commended the government for setting up the Ministry of Business Development. According to him, this initiative “is one of the best policies that has happened in the development of businesses in the country.” He stated that since the informal sector is a critical player in the economy of Ghana as far as employment creation is concerned, “it is our hope that this new Ministry will expand their activities to oversee the development of the crucial informal sector, spearheading the enactment of Legislation to guide and help develop and grow the informal and small medium enterprises.”

Nana Dr. Owusu-Afari disclosed that net proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the AGI to use in further research into growing the informal and small-scale businesses.  This fund, to be known as INFORMAL BUSINESS AND SME RESEARCH FUND will be managed by the AGI. An initial target of GHS 100,000.00 has been earmarked as seed money to start the fund.

The book was launched by Baffour Dr. Ossei Hyeaman Brantuo VI, Asantehene’s Manwerehene. Dignitaries at the event included Mr. Kwame Pianim, Mr. Charles Darku, Vice President of AGI, Mr. David Ofosu Dorte of AB & David, Prof. Peter Quartey from ISSER, Mr. Prince Kofi Kludjeson, Former President of AGI etc.


About the book

The book “Growing the Ghanaian Informal and Small Businesses” explains the advantages that Ghana stands to gain if the huge informal sector businesses are given proper recognition and support in Government policy initiatives. The informal sector businesses currently employ over 50% of the economically active working population and appear not to be operating under any coordinated policy framework.

For a sector of the economy that employs such huge numbers of people, it is important that the government pays close attention to the challenges the sector faces by first understanding its evolution, its growth dynamics, what attracts its operations to the sector and what policies can be initiated to help the sector grow and contribute positively to the socio-economic development of Ghana.

The book draws on examples of policy initiatives adopted by some countries, especially in Africa who also face such informal business challenges and how such policies are helping to bolster the growth of their informal businesses.

The author recommends a wide range of policy initiatives that both Government and the private sector can adopt to enhance the growth of the informal businesses and throws the challenge to others to join the conversation to help grow the vibrant informal sector for the benefit of Ghana’s economic development.