Ecobank Launches ‘SME club’ to boost growth of small businesses

Accra , March 30, GNA – Ecobank Ghana has launched ‘SME’ Club to offer preferential business support, products and services to its Small and Medium size Enterprise (SME) customers across the country.

The Club will also serve as a platform for the SMEs to boost their activities through information sharing and networking with peers as well as capacity building.

Speaking at the launch Mr Samuel Ashitey-Adjei, Managing Director Ecobank Ghana, said the support for the SMEs was in line with the Bank’s vision to contribute to the economic development and financial integration of Africa.

He said SMEs are the foundation of all economies of the world, both developing and developed countries, and that the idea of the SME club is to help build the capacity, develop and expand markets and introduce technology.

In addition it would also enable the SMEs negotiate price discount from SME service providers and expose club members’ businesses and products to the world, especially across Africa.

It will also serve as a loyalty package that rewards SME clients   for doing business with the pan African bank.

Mr Ashietey-Adjei said in Ghana an estimated 70 per cent of all businesses in Ghana belong to the SME sector.

‘This means that Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, foreign exchange generation, and especially our nation’s ability to employ the teaming masses of school leavers is largely dependent on the successes or otherwise of our SMEs. The very existence of our economy depends on their operations,’ he said.

Mr. Ashitey- Adjei said it was for this reason that the bank had taken a very important step to launch SME club, membership of which would help address some of the challenges that militate against SME development in the country.

‘The idea behind the club is to help build capacity, develop and expand markets, introduce technology, negotiate price discounts for SME service providers and expose club members’ businesses and products across the world and especially across the Ecobank footprint in 36 African countries.

Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Head of Domestic Bank, Ecobank said the SME club was in line with the pan African agenda of the bank.

The club he said had already been formed in Burkina-Faso and Senegal and would be launched in markets in which the bank has business concern.

He said an SME awards would be instituted to reward deserving club members, saying this would push them to work harder.

In a speech read on his behalf, Mr. Kweku Ricketts Hagan, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry said SMEs were the major drivers of growth in Africa with a huge potential to lead the development of intra-African trade.

He said currently, Africa’s internal trade was low making up only about 10 per cent of its total trade and that active performance of the sector would help encourage trade among the countries on the continent. GNA

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