The Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, has promised the government’s support for firms that are willing to partner in transforming the economy with their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that is setting up skills projects which will not only train but also help achieve developmental targets.
This, according to him, is because the Nana Akufo-Addo administration sees the private sector as a partner that must tailor its CSR in line with the needs of the communities they operate in and that of the government.
With government providing an enabling environment for the private sector to flourish by creating the needed jobs, it is just proper that the private sector seeks government direction and align its corporate social responsibilities.
One of such successful projects is the Okuafo Pa Project which is entirely developed by Oil Exploration firm Eni with the Government of Ghana, specifically within the framework of an MoU with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Under this project, training activities have been developed with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) as well as Coldiretti, Italy’s leading farmer organisation; Bonifiche Ferraresi (BF), a leading Italian agribusiness company, and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), an Italian financial institution to support in the development of agricultural supply chains in its development phase.
Speaking to Joy Business, Yaw Osafo Maafo said, the government has, for this reason, decided to revamp the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector.
“We are formalising the economy through the introduction of the National Identification Authority but also, more importantly, ensuring that we make the youth employable and able to start their own business by giving them the skills they need through the vocational and technical training.
“This is the reason why TVET is part of this initiative which is the Okuafo Pa project. They have been revamped and strategically placed in our quest to get Corporate Ghana to partner with us to take not just any kind of corporate social responsibility but ones that will help the youth to start their own business or become employable.”
Currently, the country’s high unemployment numbers have been blamed on neglect of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) with industry players arguing that the over-concentration on social sciences at the expense of entrepreneurial and artisanal training, limits the urge of graduates to start and own businesses.
The Senior Minister promised the government’s commitment to developing the needed infrastructure in terms of providing electricity, roads and rail network to better connect all economic zones in the various regions.
He also thanked the people of Dormaa and Paul Twum Berima, the Stakeholder Engagement Co-ordinator for the project, whose collaborative efforts with his directors led to the commissioning of a new TVET project.
On his part, the Chief Executive of the ENI Claudio Descalzi said, professional training and skill acquisition is a precondition for social and economic development and Eni intends to play an active role in defining virtuous paths for sustainable growth in Ghana.
“This project is a concrete example of what we can do if we pool our resources and those of our partners together. We all know that Professional training and skill acquisition is a precondition for social and economic development and it is for this reason that Eni intends to play an active role in defining virtuous paths for sustainable growth in the countries in which it operates.”
The Okuafo Pa, a pilot project which is part of a bigger African project, aims at triggering economic diversification in the agricultural sector by transferring technical skills through vocational training, supporting access to the labour market, promoting new investments and start-ups, and stimulating local entrepreneurship in Ghana and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Prime Minister of Italy, Giuseppe Conte, in his address said the project was a sign of the strong cooperation between the two countries and a commitment to promote sustainable developments by helping train the youth in Ghana and Africa to find employment to build their nation.
The project has a campus that extends over an area of 40 hectares and includes experimental laboratories and farming areas; it will provide theoretical and practical vocational training to 800 students per year in the agricultural, agri-food and zootechnical fields. It has training courses which are developed in collaboration with local universities, and trainees can focus either on farming courses or agri-business courses.
This project is also to help increase the production of Agric produce under the Planting for Food and Jobs and the One District One Factory programmes.