City Dispatch: Kumasi, Ghana
MCI Formally Closes its Investment Promotion Program in Kumasi
Kumasi Transition 1-smallAs MCI brings to a close the Regional Partnership to Promote Trade and Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa, private sector development specialists Dr. Karin Millett and Mr. Rene Samek traveled to Kumasi, Ghana, in mid-June, to complete the handover to local officials of the portfolio of activities relating to business development and investment promotion.

This trip marked the close of the three-year, three-city Regional Partnership project, funded by the Government of Finland to strengthen the business climate as well as the capacity to assess and promote each city’s promising sectors for investment as well as specific investment opportunities in the Millennium Cities of Kumasi, Mekelle, Ethiopia, and Tabora, Tanzania.

As part of this transition, Dr. Millett and Mr. Samek, together with MCI’s Investment Promotion Specialist Bennet Elvis Niboi and Regional Coordinator for West Africa Abenaa Akuamoa-Boateng, met with Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) officials who presented their own three-year strategy and one-year operational plan for advancing the progress already made in this important domain of the city’s economic life.

Representatives from Kumasi-based business organizations, including the Association of Ghana Industries, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana Investment Promotion Center, Association of Small Scale Industries, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Foundrymen Association Ashanti Region, also joined MCI and the KMA to offer their assessments of Kumasi’s efforts to promote private sector development in the course of the Regional Partnership. This group of seasoned local businessmen also identified specific opportunities and made helpful suggestions for making business entry even more attractive to prospective investors in the future.

City Dispatch: Kisumu, Kenya
Girls’ and Mothers’ LitClubs “Blossom” this Spring
KisMothersClubgroup_April 2014“If there was a month that I really loved, it was April,” writes Phoebe Darya Bosse, Kisumu’s LitClubs Coordinator. “We had fun, laughter and a bit of down lows, but all in all, we emerged winners.”

April is typically the rainy season in Kenya, so the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. But the “flowers” we’re referring to are the participants in Kisumu’s Girls’ and Mothers’ LitClubs – programs introduced in Kisumu by MCI partner LitWorld and MCI to teach literacy and life skills while building self-confidence.

One teenage girls’ group, comprised of 25 Girls’ Club graduates, joined Phoebe at the National Library in Kisumu, for serious, intimate and dynamic discussions of sexual abuse, bullying, teenage pregnancies and relationships – all tenacious concerns among girls their age.

Among the older set, the 40 or so mothers participating in the two Mothers’ Clubs attend quarterly gatherings focused on successfully navigating their “table banking system,” which allows them to pool funds, enabling them to borrow from one another. As several mothers attested, understanding and implementing this system has improved their well-being as well as their families’ lives.

The April programs were a big success — participants in both age groups engaged in intense and lively dialogue in an encouraging, motivating setting and sought collaborative solutions to their most pressing challenges. The girls and their mothers now look forward to their next set of meetings, which will be held in August, enabling them to continue to “bloom.”

KisumuTeensClub_April 14