B&FT (6th June 2022) – Access Bank champions SMEs growth through digitalisation workshops

Access Bank Ghana Plc has held training on digitalisation for SMEs in Kasoa to equip them to leverage technology for their business success and growth.

The capacity building workshop was in partnership with Development Bank Ghana and Open Labs on the theme ‘Boosting Digital Skills for Emerging Opportunities’. It was the third of its kind organised by Access Bank in the year; the first two being held in Tamale and Techiman.

In an interview with the Managing Director of Access Bank Ghana ahead of the workshop, Olumide Olatunji said Access Bank believes in the prospects of SMEs and assured of the bank’s support toward their progress and success.

“Supporting SMEs to positively impact Ghana’s economy is a mandate our bank holds dear. They are a major employer in Ghana, and when given the right support Ghana’s economy will do well,” he noted. He called on SMEs in the country to contact any of Access Bank’s branches to get support for their businesses.

Addressing the over-100 participants at the workshop, the Group Head of Retail Banking for Access Bank, Matilda Asante Asiedu, said building the capacity of SMEs is in line with Access Bank’s goal of becoming the bank of choice for SMEs in Ghana. “As important stakeholders to the sustenance of Ghana’s economy, SMEs deserve to be supported to make the necessary impact, and we are pleased to be partners of this agenda,” Matilda noted.

She shared some findings on SMEs’ contribution to Ghana’s economy. “Research reveals that Ghana’s private sector is dominated by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) by a little over 90% of the market share. SMEs employ 60% of the labour force and add 70% to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”  Despite the enormous contribution SMEs make to employment and GDP, they are saddled with the critical challenge of funding, training and advisory services among others (Kumaza A. 2021, Growing the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Ghana, Ghanaian Times).

Also speaking on Access Bank’s dedication to SMEs, Group Head of Business Banking for Access Bank Ghana, Kafui Bimpe, explained that Access Bank’s growing commitment to SMEs is to equip them in leveraging available technology to derive all benefits the digital space provides.

“Within these past two years, we have championed SMEs’ digitalisation through our capacity building sessions, access to loans for business expansion, advisory services and other tailor-made products to help your businesses. When SMEs succeed, our economy will also do well,” Kafui noted.

Facilitating the workshop, Peniel Amankwah of Open Labs took participants through effective book-keeping, tracking sales and leveraging social media for business growth. She advised participants to utilise their mobile phones in reaching the world with their businesses.

Phyllis Rose Asante, an entrepreneur in the juice processing industry at Millennium City, Kasoa, was happy about business prospects with the new information she had acquired.

She said her business will no longer be kept on the boundaries of its physical space, but will move beyond the shores of Ghana. “I am grateful to be part of this training. I have been enlightened and empowered. I didn’t know my phone was so powerful as to make my business go international. I really thank Access Bank for this opportunity,” Ms. Phyllis shared.

Access Bank remains committed to giving customers more than banking. The bank has over the years developed a deep understanding of customers’ needs, delivering excellent service and empowering them to achieve more through financial inclusion.

 

Source: Business & Financial Times

Myjoyonline (8th June 2022) – Agribusiness to receive more support through GIRSAL & DBG

The Ghana Incentive-based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL) has announced its collaboration with the newly established Development Bank Ghana (DBG) which is aimed at improving the funding and capacity-building opportunities for agriculture-based businesses (agribusiness) and agriculture generally in Ghana.

As a non-bank financial institution, GIRSAL has been at the forefront of de-risking agricultural financing by financing institutions, through the issuance of agricultural credit guarantee instruments, to enhance the total amount of credit to the agricultural and agribusiness sectors.

Currently capitalized with over GHS200 million and USD14 million, GIRSAL continues to look for opportunities to improve its support to agriculture and agribusiness including the provision of technical support.

In line with its approach, GIRSAL collaborates with its immediate and direct clients, namely financial institutions made up of universal banks, savings and loans companies, rural and community banks, and other lenders or investors who demonstrate a desire to work with GIRSAL, to improve the support for agricultural lending.

Over the years, GIRSAL has formed partnerships with banks and institutions that are well placed to offer financial and technical support to their focus sector.

With the introduction of DBG, GIRSAL looks forward to a collaboration that would inject the much-needed improvement to what it has been doing since its inception.

GIRSAL’s collaboration with DBG is structured on three pillars.

  1. One is to build the capacity of DBG by providing training programmes that would deliver a greater appreciation of the agricultural sector. GIRSAL has done this over the years to enable banks to access and evaluate agricultural projects.
  2. The second is to support DBG’s efforts to assess projects that commercial banks submit to them for funding; to have a better understanding of the risk elements, the technical viability, financial viability, and how such facilities should be structured.
  3. The third is that the two institutions are a good fit for participating financial institutions like banks to understand and support the agricultural sector.

Commenting on the collaboration, GIRSAL Chief Executive, Mr. Kwesi Korboe said, “GIRSAL as an institution has a sole objective of ensuring that financial institutions lend to players in the agribusiness sector. The key issues are always getting funding that is long-term and priced in a very competitive way that makes it possible for agribusinesses to borrow money from the financial institutions for their businesses.

“What DBG brings to the table which we find very exciting and critical is that they have a pool of funds that is competitively priced and also has a long tenure which allows commercial banks to access and potentially on-lend to agribusinesses. This will ensure that we have a very vibrant agribusiness in this country.”

GIRSAL acknowledges that the agricultural sector or agricultural value chains require a lot of funding and technical support in order to cut across most of the activities along the value chain from production, processing-related activities, marketing haulage and value addition.

Through the partnership with DBG, GIRSAL aims to ensure that there is an increased pool of funds and capacity-building opportunities available for agribusinesses to access to improve their businesses.

This would result in more rural employment as most agribusinesses operate in the rural areas usually on production-related activities which typically require more hands.

It would also result in increased exports which would generate more foreign exchange for Ghana and lead to a reduction in the value of food and other agricultural products imported into this country.

GIRSAL, therefore, considers the socio-economic benefits of the collaboration with DBG as very attractive for the country as the ultimate impact will be very positive.

GIRSAL is well placed to support all agricultural value chains and continues to do so through touch points such as input suppliers, producers, aggregators, transporters, warehousing, marketing, and processors/value addition.

These have been possible through working with financial institutions and intermediaries to strengthen their institutional capacity to support new lending to agribusinesses in selected value chains, offering participating financial institutions who grant loan facilities to agribusinesses credit risk guarantee cover, and facilitating technical support to farmer groups and agribusinesses in the value chains to build their capacity and thereby prepare them to access loan facilities.

DBG will launch on 14th June. It is expected to begin making further announcements in the very near future.

 

Source: myjoyonline

Business Ghana (10th June 2022) – AGI & DBG Sign MoU to Deepen Support for SMEs

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and Development Bank Ghana (DBG) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cement their relationship and commitment to promoting the growth of the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) sector.

The move is to ultimately improve the contribution of SMEs towards the development of Ghana’s economy.

The AGI as the national body of industries acknowledges the role of SMEs in the economies of developing countries and is committed to growing Ghana through industries, especially the SME sector.

SMEs form about 80 percent of businesses in Ghana, as such the AGI considers it critical that it offers structured support for this sector of the economy.

Over the years, AGI has remained focused on contributing substantially to the growth and development of Industry through effective policy advocacy and the provision of business support services. With the establishment of DBG, the AGI sees a great opportunity to grow strong bonds with the development bank and thereby work together towards improving the support that SMEs receive in Ghana.

AGI will pursue its agenda through capacity building of SMEs, training and networking as its cardinal activities.

Furthermore, AGI will continue to engage government and its agencies to create the enabling environment for the growth of businesses and the creation of jobs.

In line with its objective to grow a strong industrial base with key sectors that are globally competitive, the AGI also sees the relationship with DBG as an opportunity to strengthen Ghana’s industries for international competition, particularly with the introduction of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The AGI, therefore, looks forward positively as it works with DBG to build on the support available to the SME sector to position Ghanaian businesses for exports to the region.

Commenting, the AGI President, Dr. Humphrey Ayim-Darke said, “AGI and DBG’s relations will assist in deploying various interventions to support SMEs for growth. This will be done through capacity building, mentoring and business advisory services. We will fish out potentially innovative SMEs that we believe are in the growth-oriented sectors of the economy that cuts across the nation. We will identify and support them through the DBG and AGI collaboration.

Specifically, AGI will avail the data of its SME members who meet the eligibility, criteria of the participating financial institutions or commercial banks that receive funding from the DBG to lend to SMEs. We will seek to bring to the table further understanding of each sector to assist these financial institutions to be able to structure suitable funding for each sector and business entities.”

Over the years, the business barometer survey and report has indicated that access to funding and cost of funding have been the biggest challenge of most SMEs. With the introduction of DBG and the collaboration with AGI, there are several expected benefits to members of the Association in the SME bracket.

These include access to medium-to-long term funding, access to competitive rates, that positions these SMEs for potential growth and export of their products as well as job creation which is very critical for the stability of Ghana.

AGI will additionally offer mentoring, capacity building and networking opportunities to assist succession planning in SME businesses.

The AGI has since 1957 pursued the not-for-profit agenda of promoting industries and indigenous manufacturers in Ghana.

This includes providing proactive support services to the industrial sector with the view to contributing substantially to the growth and development of industry in Ghana.

The Association has over 1200 members across all the regions of the country and is recognised as the leading voice of the private sector.

 

Source: Business Ghana