A Group of German-trained African students who have returned to their home countries as entrepreneurs under a Returning Experts Programme financed by the Germany Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, have met in Ghana to deliberate on their experiences and to share ideas to impart other African students.
The group has paid a visit to B-Bovid Limited, an agricultural company, set up by a German-trained Ghanaian.
Germany has over the years assisted Ghana in various sectors of national development. They include support for vocational and technical skills training, agriculture amongst others. The Centre for International Migration and Development Programme (CIM), financed by the Germany Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, seeks not only to train African migrants in Germany, but also to reintegrate them into their home countries to contribute their quota to development.
These entrepreneurs from Ethiopia and Cameroun were in the country to meet with their Ghanaian counterparts to share ideas on their experiences to devise a road-map for other Ghanaian students who are studying in Germany with the hopes of returning home to work.
Students upon completion of their studies, either through scholarship or personal investments, can apply to the programme which provides their transportation back home and offers them job placements in the areas of Agriculture, decentralization and good financial governance and economic cooperation.
Students on job placements are given salary top ups by the programme between 400 – 1,000 Euros monthly for a two year. Aside this, their host companies or institutions receive equipments from the programme which upon completion of the studentsâ€™ work, become the property of the institution.
Some students who decide to set up their own businesses after the period also receive some form of start-up capital from the programme. Those who return home with the sole aim to set up, receive start-up capital of about 10,000 Euros and beyond.
The Programme operates in parts of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, and has so far benefited over 10,000 people globally since its inception in 1994.
In Ghana, about 400 people have benefited from it. Mr. Issa Quedraogo who lived and trained in Germany has returned to Ghana to start B-Bovid Limited, an Integrated Organic and Biodiversity Farming Company at Mpohor in the Western Region.
His company focuses on aquaculture, agro processing, eco-tourism amongst others. The company, which will produce palm oil and other palm products for export and local consumption, hopes to improve the lives of local farmers whose produce will be purchased for processing. Farmers will also be supported by the company to increase their production for the benefit of both parties, and will benefit from several corporate social responsibility projects.
Mr. Quedraogo has also employed a German trained student who is a beneficiary of the Returning Experts Programme. David Y. Tetteh, an Advisor and Coordinator for the Centre for International Migration and Development Programme in Ghana, who led the team of entrepreneurs to observe the work done by B-Bovid, said he was impressed.
Mr. Tetteh dispelled the notion that the programme is intended to send home African migrants in Germany, explaining that people are not forced to enrol on the programme to return to home. He said it is meant to give a positive perception of African migrants by converting what is commonly known as â€˜brain drainâ€™ into â€˜brain gain’.
The Western Regional Crops Officer at the Ministry of Agric Enock Smith Koranteng said his outfit will benefit immensely from the activities of B-Bovid.
He said the company has a training centre for famers and agric extension officers; an Agricultural ICT Centre to help farmersâ€™ access information, as well as a mechanization centre which will be of great help to farmers. He said there will also be a large-scale production of quality vegetables to stop the importation of vegetables by oil companies operating in the country.
Advisors and Coordinators of the Programme in Cameroun and Ethiopia also commended B-Bovidâ€™s work so far. The company will begin full production by December 2011.