The BET Ghana initiative brings university graduates and companies together and prepares them for economic challenges.
What influences the purchasing decisions of Ghanaian consumers? While foreign products were often favoured in the past, price and quality are the key factors nowadays. This was the finding of a study of the initiative “”. The study of consumer behaviour was presented at the conference “”. In February 2020, more than 180 experts invited by BET Ghana attended the conference at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences (H-BRS) to discuss the links between education and economic development.
BET Ghana’s primary objective is to better gear higher education – especially in the area of agriculture and the food industry – to the needs of the employment market in this West African country. Furthermore, the project fosters the entrepreneurial activities of graduates and cooperation with companies. In so doing, it contributes to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 8: promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. The DAAD is supporting BET Ghana with funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Adapting curricula to local requirements
For Oghenekome Umuerri, who coordinates BET Ghana at the H-BRS, the greatest challenge is to adapt the education provided by universities to the specific requirements of the African market. “Most universities are still reliant in their teaching on using case studies from abroad to illustrate how theory is applied in real-life situations.” The curricula should therefore be tailored to a much greater extent to local circumstances. “It is vital that we get businesses on board here”, says Umuerri. “We can only draw up relevant case studies if we involve the private sector and other actors in industry.” This is also why the project is already well-connected with business partners from Germany and Ghana. An published by the Institute for International Studies at the H-BRS in 2019 is intended to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) from Germany to enter the market.
As well as promoting applied research, BET Ghana’s goal is to build capacities in online teaching. “In this sense, of course, Covid-19 has played into our hands”, says Umuerri. “Our focus on digitisation means we are better prepared to deal with the pandemic.” During two workshops that took place before the crisis in Germany, 13 academic staff were given training in the relevant learning and teaching methods. “The timing was perfect”, agrees Professor Daniel Agyapong, who coordinates the project at the University of Cape Coast. “During an e-learning workshop we were able to pass our knowledge straight on to colleagues, enabling them to respond appropriately to the corona crisis.”
The third pillar of BET Ghana is to get graduates enthusiastic about entrepreneurial activities. One of the steps taken to achieve this was to stage a business plan competition: the best ideas receive support in the form of coaching and mentoring. “Through our start-up development programme, we make small and medium-sized enterprises in the food and food processing industry more attractive for investment”, explains Umuerri. “Thanks to our focus on agriculture, we are also making an important contribution to Sustainable Development Goal number 2: end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.”