Ecobank launches SME Club

Ecobank Ghana has launched Small and Medium size Enterprise ‘SME’ Club to offer preferential business support, products and services to its customers across the country.

The Club also serves as a platform for adding value to SMEs through information mining, networking and capacity building.

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

The idea of the SME club is to help build the capacity, develop and expand markets, introduce technology, negotiate price discount from SME service providers and expose club members’ businesses and products to the world, especially across Africa.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Samuel Ashitey-Adjei, Managing Director, Ecobank Ghana said the massive empowerment 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 bedrock of all economies of the world both developing and developed.

He said although, statistics were not readily available, it was believed that over 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 vision of 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.

Mr. Kweku Ricketts Hagan , Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry said SMEs have been identified as 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.

Most of its exports he said went to the world’s advanced economies, and most of its imports come from those same advanced economies.

“It is against this background that I am particularly pleased to witness this outstanding initiative by Ecobank. Bringing SMEs together in this club will equip you SMEs with additional skills as well as the network and access to markets within the African continent to enable you develop your businesses further,” he said.

By David Adadevoh

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