For several decades, Ghana implemented public sector-led economic development strategies where Government directly controlled most of business activities. There was a shift in focus however in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, where the private sector’s role was guaranteed in the 1992 national Constitution and placed as ‘the engine of growth’ to play the lead role in national economic development. Quote “affording ample opportunity for individual initiative and creativity in economic activities and fostering an enabling environment for a pronounced role of the private sector in the economy”. As a result, government initiated processes to forge partnership with the various private sector associations and groupings to build consensus on national development agenda.
However, in arguing for policies that will create an enabling business environment, the various associations sought their individual interests as each group had created an empire in itself; which made it difficult to converge views or interests. This situation could not engender efficiency and development of the private sector. The need for a strong private sector leadership was perceived as necessary in improving on performance of the sector. Hence the Private Enterprise Foundation was established in 1994 as the apex institution to forge consensus and provide the leadership voice for advocacy, on the initiative of the Association of Ghana Industries, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ghana Employers’ Association, and the Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters; with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB) was later admitted as the fifth founding member and the Ghana Chamber of Mines (GCM) was also added as a member later on.
The Private Enterprise Federation (PEF) as a non-profit, non-political, autonomous institution and a Company Limited by guarantees under the Ghana Companies Code, Act 179, has its membership open to all private businesses and trade associations from both the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
Anticipating a renewed effectiveness of the Federation’s advocacy functions and efficient leadership for the private sector, four (4) new members namely, Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications (GCT), the Ghana Insurers’ Association (GIA), the Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMC’s) and the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Operators Association (GLiPGOA) have joined the Federation as full-fledged members since October 2012. Over the years, the Federation has had working relationships with various associations in the local front such as the Ghana Grains Council (GGC), Association of Small Scale Industries (ASSI), Ghana Association of Consultants (GAC), Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), Ghana Real Estate’ Developers’ Association (GREDA) and Ghana Association of Women Entrepreneurs (GAWE) making the impact of the Federation’s activities far and wide. In the international arena PEF has a long standing relationship with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE of USA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung (KAS) and other multilateral institutions.