The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has conducted an Implementation Support Mission to the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP) in May 2016 following the Mid-Term Review of the Programme in Nov-Dec 2015. Country Director of IFAD in Ghana, Ms Esther Kasalu-Coffin led the Mission. The Support Mission was aimed at addressing pending issues with a view to finalise the Joint IFAD/AfDB MTR report. The Mission was also used to review progress made in the implementation of agreed actions from the MTR and the Programme’s 2016 AWPB.
As part of the Mission, Ms. Kasalu-Coffin with the National Director of REP, Kwasi Attah-Antwi, visited the Business Advisory Centers (BACs) in the Sekyere South and Obuasi districts and also interacted with the respective District Assembly leadership. The field visit afforded the IFAD Country Director the opportunity to examine the customer care competences and attitudes of BAC staff towards persons who visit the centers for support. As part of efforts to make the centers sustainable beyond REP, Ms. Kasalu-Coffin discussed opportunities for the re-orientation of BACs towards revenue generation.
At a meeting between the Mission team and staff of the Programme Coordination and Management Unit (PCMU) of REP, Ms. Kasalu-Coffin expressed her conviction about the need to support the BACs to become attractive business support services providers, not only for small businesses but also to medium and large scale ones. Other matters discussed related to the new of NBSSI and GRATIS in the post MTR period and the need to clarify specific support REP can provide them for that purpose. The PCMU’s recent visit to IITA in Ibadan, Nigeria, as part of efforts to roll-out the ENABLE Youth Program, funded by the African Development Bank was discussed with the Mission team highlighting the lessons learnt from the IITA experience and the next steps to kick-start the Program, which will become a new sub-component of REP.
At the end of the Mission, the key outcomes were agreement on the preparations of an operational plan for the speedy implementation of the MTR recommendations; the revision of the Programme Log-frame; the need to begin preparations for the 2016 AWPB at mid-year; and the preparation of a Concept Note on the ENABLE Youth sub-component under REP. Other members of the Mission were Franck Messrs Luabeya Kapiamba, Programme Officer and Daniel Pasos, Financial Management Specialist from the IFAD Country Office. The African Development Bank was represented by Mr. Tabi Karikari, Agriculture & National Resource Management Officer at Ghana Field Office and Task Manager for REP.