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Ghana-Germany SME Training and Exchange Programme

Promoting partnerships between
Ghanaian SMEs and German Businesses


Driving sustainable and inclusive growth in Ghana through SMEs

The contribution of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to economic development and employment at the world stage cannot be overemphasized. As a result, it's no surprise that most governments have leveraged the SME sector as a strategic driver for sustainable and inclusive growth in recent years.

According to the World Bank (2018), SMEs account for about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide. Formal SMEs contribute up to 40% of national income (gross domestic product) in emerging economies, and even higher when informal SMEs are included.

In Ghana, SMEs represent over 85% of the business population and contribute about 70% of the gross domestic product according to the International Trade Centre (ITC). However, investment barriers and lack of capacities often undermine their participation in regional and global markets, stifling their growth.

That’s why, through the Ghana-Germany SME Training and Exchange Programme, 60 Ghanaian SMEs with growth potential have been chosen to receive support through capacity-building as well as matchmaking opportunities with German businesses. The ultimate goal is to enhance their readiness to compete in regional and global markets.


Harnessing the growth and export potential of Ghanaian SMEs

With the aim of promoting business-to-business (B2B) linkages between Ghanaian SMEs and European (mostly German) companies, the 60 beneficiary SMEs have been selected from sectors with high export and/or business development potential.

The chosen SMEs are grouped into three cohorts with 20 companies each, from the following sectors:

  • Cohort 1: Agri-processing, Cosmetics, and Shea Nut Processing
  • Cohort 2: Wood Processing and Furniture Production
  • Cohort 3: Garment, Textile and Fashion

To achieve the programme’s goal, the Ghana-Germany SME Training and Exchange Programme employs a three-pronged approach: For the first phase, a two-week intensive training workshop is organized in Ghana on various topics such as international business, marketing, financial planning, and leadership, tailored to the needs of each cohort. The second phase includes a two-week business trip to Germany for company visits, exchange of best practices and B2B meetings with German businesses. The third phase includes a joint workshop with all three cohorts, an exhibition event and follow-up coaching.

In line with the objectives of the Special Initiative "Decent Work for a Just Transition", the Ghana-Germany SME Training and Exchange Programme is expected to create 300 new decent jobs by the end of 2022. With the support of Invest for Jobs, the programme is implemented and managed by COGNOS International.



Impact of B2B linkages between Ghanaian SMEs and German businesses

The first phase of the programme has been completed. All three cohorts, 60 SMEs in all, have benefited from tailor-made trainings and workshops. Nathaniel Adajagsa, Team Leader for Kente Master and participant in cohort 3, recalls: ‘The training has greatly improved our capacity to enhance our business model to embrace diverse cultures and creatively expand sustainably.’


The business trip to Germany has taken place for cohorts 1 and 2. As part of the exchange with German businesses, the 20 Ghanaian agri-SMEs visited, inter alia: Herzapfelhof, an apple farm; Lebensmittelinstitut KIN e.V., a food institute that runs a modern pilot plant and an accredited laboratory; DEULA-Nienburg GmbH, an international training, research and testing center with a focus on agriculture; and the trade fair Fruit Logistica in Berlin. Cohort 2 visited, among others, carpentries such as Hamburger Moebel that produces high-quality furniture; Hansa Complet Küchen, a kitchen retail company; Felder Group, a woodworking equipment manufacturer from Austria; WOB Timber, a family business in international timber trade that imports from Ghana; and Gsechs, a vocational training school for carpenters.

Next, the second phase for cohort 3 is slated to take place in June 2022. The joint workshop with all 60 SMEs and the product exhibition will take place in August.

At the end of the programme, beneficiary SMEs will be able to expand their customer base on an international level and increase their orders, resulting in increased turnover and profit, which will benefit the company and its employees and increase the need for additional staff members.

The Ghana-Germany Exchange and Training Programme is supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH as part of the Special Initiative "Decent Work for a Just Transition" on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Project details

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Project objectives

Job Creation Training SME Promotion International Trade


Agri-Business Textile Other

A project with




We are looking forward to hearing from you

Under the Invest for Jobs brand, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has put together a package of measures to support German, European and African companies in investment activities that have a high impact on employment in Africa. The Special Initiative "Decent Work for a Just Transition" – the official title – offers comprehensive advice, contacts and financial support to overcome investment barriers. The development objective is to work together with companies to create up to 100,000 good jobs and to improve working conditions and social protection in its African partner countries.

Partner countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia.

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