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The Ghanaian-European Centre relies on team spirit and teamwork

Achieving something together – this was the aim that brought Ghanaians to meet at the Migration Day trade fair.

The Ghanaian-European Centre relies on team spirit and teamwork

The Ghanaian-European Centre (GEC) had invited people to attend an event on International Migrants Day. Its main focus was the role of the community. People who had been assisted by the GEC were able to present their products and talk about their experiences at an associated trade fair.

“It takes a community” was the motto of International Migrants Day, which the Ghanaian-European Centre for Jobs, Migration and Development (GEC) together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) invited people to attend.

Regina Bauerochse, National Director of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Ghana, stressed the role of the community in the integration of people returning to their country of origin. Together, communities could be developed and the potential of women and men could unfold.

Kobby is very happy about the success of his cosmetics company.

An exhibition of the products and services of 80 Ghanaians showed how the community can support those who have returned with their integration. These women and men had developed their products and services with help from the GEC and talked about their experiences.

No easy return

An example is 33-year-old Kobby. He returned from Germany in 2019 and the GEC had provided him with training and start-up equipment to launch a cosmetics company in Ghana. “It was especially important for me that the speeches today stressed that society must accept returnees and that the stigmatisation must end”, he said.

“I found it difficult to reintegrate when I returned to Ghana, because most people, even my friends, saw me as a failure”, Kobby recalls. The GEC supported him in making something of his life and in his view that also altered the attitude of his friends and family towards him. The Ghanaian built up a successful company dealing in organic hair products, which he now sells internationally.

Rita presents her dresses made from African fabrics.

Kobby met some colleagues at the trade fair who work in the same sector and were also supported by the GEC. “We work together and seek out markets where we can sell our products.”

A new view of migration

Rita presented her prints and handbags in an African design at the Migration Day trade fair. The 33-year-old was supported by the GEC to expand her clothing business. She is so successful that she can employ three women. “I’m now living my dream with the centre’s support”, she says. She feels that the corporate training arranged by the GEC helped her to learn how to run a business successfully. She feels reassured by the good response at the fair.

Farmer Emmanuel has new business ideas for expanding his business.

Support for small farmers

Emmanuel, a 35-year-old who farms a smallholding, hopes to become a successful agricultural entrepreneur. “A GEC training course taught me how to better manage my small farm. I grow plantains and cassava.” He submitted a business plan to the centre and wants to produce more in the future.

“The GEC has also helped me learn how to make ice cream and yoghurt, a business I can now run as well as farming”, he said. In addition to the training, the GEC also provided him with the necessary materials for a start in his new line of business.

His contact with the GEC has changed Emmanuel’s opinion about returnees. He used to be rather negative towards them, but he now knows “that you have to travel with the right documents, otherwise you can't stay in Europe.”

Simon received support from the Ghanaian-European Centre with building up his business.

Major interest due to the trade fair

Simon, who returned from Germany in 2018, praised the organising team for the attention he received from the trade fair. The 52-year-old produces organic sewage treatment plants. This technology has many advantages compared to septic tanks that have to be emptied regularly. He received support from the GEC to start his business.

“The centre supported me to be trained by a German company for 15 months. Now I’m very proud to be a sought-after producer of organic sewage treatment plants in Ghana”, he said. In the meantime, he has already employed three staff members. “The trade fair enabled me to make contact with people who are interested in my products.”

More than 70,000 vocational contributions so far

Kobby, Rita, Emmanuel and Simon are four success stories among many. The GEC was opened in December 2017. Until February 2023 it was still called the Ghanaian-German Centre (GGC). The centre has to date supported the creation of around 5,000 jobs for returnees and unemployed people from the local population. More than 70,000 contributions could be realised, including qualification measures and individual business start-ups.

As of: 03/2023

The centre supported me – now I’m very proud to be a sought-after producer of organic sewage treatment plants in Ghana.”

Other experiences