A forum to empower youth and women in mining communities has been held in Accra.
Themed “Maximizing socio-economic benefits from Extractive Areas for Women and Youth Entrepreneurs – Connect, Collaborate, Scale-up”, the 3-day forum seeks to tackle topical issues including participatory and inclusive local development in extractive areas.
The forum further seeks to facilitate discussions on women and young entrepreneurs in mining areas i.e., how they can access finance and the technical support to grow their businesses and local development mining funds and other mining revenues.
This event is an annual flagship event co-hosted by the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and the Center for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI) with funding from Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
WUSC and CECI through the WAGES project bring together diverse stakeholders from the sub-region including Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Guinea to reflect on the progress and challenges about local governance and the place occupied by women and young people in local economic development in extractive areas.
Country Director for WUSC Ghana, Emelia Ayipio Asamoah said: “To enhance local economic development through a partnership with Global Affairs Canada, the project was able to disburse over CAD 300,000 across the three countries in direct grant support to female and youth entrepreneurs. The regional forum will be looking closely at those results.”
The Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Kati Csaba, in her address expressed her satisfaction at the successes the WAGES project has chalked in enhancing sustainable local economic development.
She further stressed on the Canadian government’s resolve in the provision of technical support in skills and business development and access to financing and market linkages particularly for women and youth to improve their access to better job opportunities.
The project has directly supported over 6,000 entrepreneurs in the three countries by partnering with entities such as the Ghana Enterprises Agency (formerly NBSSI) in Ghana to train entrepreneurs on how to start, manage, and grow their businesses.
The training allowed entrepreneurs to learn about business planning, branding, marketing, communications, and production of green economy products, such as mushroom growing and black soap manufacturing.
Apart from sharing project results and giving a full platform for community members and international organizations to share their experiences and thoughts; the regional forum will also offer an exhibition for entrepreneurs to sell their products.
With over 20 entrepreneurs in attendance from the three countries, there will be a wide array of products displayed, ranging from jewelry, beauty products, and creams to nutritional products.
The WAGES Project is a 6-year initiative funded by Global Affairs Canada and jointly implemented by WUSC and CECI in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Guinea. Working in partnership with communities, local governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders, the project is supporting communities, specifically women and youth, to maximize the socio-economic benefits from investments in the extractive sector in West Africa.
The WAGES project aims to support local communities, especially women and youth who are excluded from the benefits of mining investments. Specifically, the project works to empower local communities, and specifically integrate women and youth, to participate fully in local governance, economic opportunities, and the sustainable development of these areas. The project collaborates with local and national governments, select mining companies, as well as small and medium-sized businesses and civil society organizations to attain those objectives. Global Affairs Canada funds the implementation of WAGES from 2016 until 2022.
World University Service of Canada (WUSC) a Canadian non-governmental organization focused on economic empowerment of youth and women, will be hosting a regional forum, highlighting key results and learnings from one of its consortium projects, the West Africa Governance and Economic Sustainability in Extractive Areas Project (WAGES Project).
The WAGES project is co-implemented by the Center for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI) and funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). The forum will be taking place in Accra from November 30th to December 2nd at Alisa Hotel; hosting a wide array of dignitaries and strategic partners, including the Canadian High Commission, Chamber of Mines of Burkina Faso, Ghana and Guinea, Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), the Mineral Development Fund (MDF) and Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), among various regional partners, entrepreneurs, and financial institutions.