US Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan on Tuesday announced new co-investments by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) totalling $4.2 million with five companies operating in Ghana. These projects, leveraged with private sector funds, will help these companies scale up operations, develop export opportunities, and create jobs. Ambassador Sullivan made the announcement during the US Embassy’s Providing Opportunity for Women’s Economic Rise (POWER) programme for women entrepreneurs from Ghana and the North American diaspora.
As part of Women’s History Month, the Embassy, in collaboration with Howard University and the International Trade Centre, is hosting the Women’s Empowerment Lab. The programme will help Ghanaian and American women entrepreneurs take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to grow their businesses by seizing export opportunities, while facilitating networking opportunities across the Atlantic.
‘The West Africa Trade and Investment Hub was created to help entrepreneurs like those participating in the Women’s Empowerment Lab take advantage of export opportunities. Ghanaian companies can export more than 6,500 goods duty-free to the United States today, and the AfCFTA opens up a $3.4 trillion market. These co-investments will help these companies access African and U.S. markets, while creating jobs here in Ghana,’ said Ambassador Sullivan.
Co-created at USAID/Ghana, the grants are aimed at deepening the United States’ commercial relationship with Africa in line with the Prosper Africa Initiative, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and President Biden’s Build Back Better World initiative.
The five companies are: AMAATI Company Ltd, DTRT Apparel, FreezeLink, Maphlix Trust, and Nuts 4 Growth. The grants build on USAID/Ghana’s work to drive large-scale development by supporting firms poised for catalytic growth. By leveraging USAID’s co-investments, these companies are expected to generate over $45 million in private investment, increase exports by $166 million, and create more than 2,000 new jobs, mostly for women and youth.
AMAATI Company Ltd: A woman-owned, Ghanaian social enterprise that pioneered the revival of fonio, a nutritious African grain, AMAATI aims to support 5,800 landless women farmers in northern Ghana. USAID/Ghana’s $742,000 grant, together with private investments of $4.5 million, will help create a new West African global value chain for increased exports of fonio to North America and Europe, while generating income for 8,000 farmers. AMAATI will use American-made John Deere equipment and sell to Century Green and Mayaresa in the American market.
DTRT Apparel: With a USAID/Ghana grant of $760,000, West Africa’s regional market leader in apparel manufacturing will leverage additional private investments to expand its existing garment manufacturing capabilities, with the goal of achieving more than $100 million in exports annually by 2025 and supporting more than 5,000 local workers. At least 2,000 new jobs will be created, mostly for women, as the company scales up its operations and expands its exports to large international clothing brands, including several leading US companies.
FreezeLink: Ghana’s leading third-party provider of temperature-controlled transport, warehousing, and engineering services, FreezeLink will receive a $767,000 USAID/Ghana grant to install affordable cold storage units to boost horticultural exports from Ghana and reduce vaccine spoilage, including for Covid-19 vaccines. USAID’s grant will catalyse $6.7 million in additional investment and boost exports by $11 million. FreezeLink will use refrigeration units for its trucks from American company Carrier and has partnered with Zipline, an American medical product delivery company.
Maphlix Trust: A leading orange-fleshed sweet potato exporter in Ghana, Maphlix will use USAID/Ghana’s grant of $970,000 and private investments of $6 million to support 1,100 farmers and boost sales of value-added purée products addressing Vitamin A deficiency. Maphlix has American investors and will install $1.2 million of food processing technology from Sinnovatek, an American company, to process the purée. By 2024, Maphlix anticipates earning annual revenues of $4.4 million, of which 60 percent will be from exports.
Nuts 4 Growth (N4G): An up-and-coming large-scale shea and soy processor, N4G will leverage a USAID/Ghana grant of $980,000 to catalyse additional private investment and help expand the incomes of 20,000 women soy farmers. Increasing the number of women within its out-grower program, expanding its pool of international buyers, and boosting production capacity through upgraded machinery, N4G expects to achieve $30 million in shea butter exports to the US and EU markets by April 2024. N4G supplies American firm Bunge and relies on American lab equipment manufactured by Agilent and BrandTech Scientific. This equipment uses high-performance liquid chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance to monitor and ensure purity in food, air, and water during factory operation.