Supporting MSMEs for Ghana’s transition to a Circular Economy: Solutions from SEED’s Policy Lab
Solutions from SEED’s Scale Up Lab for Policy Prototyping
“Today’s linear economic model of produce, consume, and dispose is not sustainable...there is a need for a more responsible model of consumption and production, and that is what the Circular Economy Model is all about.”
Oliver Boachie, Special Advisor to Ghana’s Minister of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI)
With these words, Mr. Oliver Boachie, Special Advisor to Ghana’s Minister of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI), opened the SEED Practitioner Labs for Policy Prototyping Ghana Scale Up Lab on 24 November, 2020. Pointing to the rising prominence of the circular economy as an economic model of the future, Mr. Boachie highlighted the role of eco-inclusive enterprises in implementing a circular economy, addressing key challenges of global health, the environment, and waste management.
While eco-inclusive enterprises drive the transition to a circular economy, they often face significant constraints to build and scale their businesses. Mr. Boachie highlighted that eco-inclusive MSMEs often face specific challenges based on perceived higher-than-normal risks, and a unique need for longer-term financing.
At the Scale Up Lab “Moving Towards a Conducive Policy Environment for Eco-Inclusive MSMEs,” two policy prototypes were pitched on how to respond to these needs to support green and socially inclusive MSMEs to start and scale their solutions in Ghana, thereby catalysing the transition to a circular economy. Private Enterprise Federation & the Ghana National Cleaner Production Center, and Social Enterprise Ghana & the British Council Ghana, pitched their ideas:
- Partnering to share information and opportunities in industrial symbiosis for waste generators and users (PEF and GNCPC)
- Building a vibrant social enterprise ecosystem through partnerships (SE Ghana and British Council)
The prototype from PEF and GNCPC aims to provide data and information to MSMEs, corporates and financers in order to link waste generators and users, thus closing the loops in production and improving access to markets for enterprises that add value to waste. By doing so, it would raise awareness of sustainable consumption and production, as well as contribute to job creation and reduce health risks from pollution.
The prototype from SE Ghana and the British Council looks to strengthen Ghana’s social enterprise ecosystem by increasing access to markets through the construction of a vibrant network of partnerships, supporting enterprises to network, create e-commerce arrangements, and link to corporate value chains. This would encourage the growth of social enterprises and generate further social impacts and job creation, much of which is directed at Base of the Pyramid populations.
Mr. Boachie outlined that an essential element to fostering impact from MSMEs is ensuring that Government understands the needs and demands of the market and the more specific needs of the private sector. Implementation of the policy prototype ideas sets us on the path to integrating the needs of MSMEs into policy making, and ensuring that policies towards a green, circular, and inclusive economy translate into impact at a local level. They furthermore complement circular economy efforts at a national and international level, where Ghana is considered a key partner.
The SEED Practitioner Labs for Policy Prototyping were implemented in Ghana this year in partnership with Innohub, and with funding from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.