Absa Bank Ghana has unveiled a female banking proposition known as ‘EMERGE’ to offer women entrepreneurs tailored value added financial solutions to empower them to sustainably grow their businesses.
The Absa ‘EMERGE’ is designed to help bridge the financial gap which is currently skewed towards male-led SME businesses.
In recent times there has been the growth of women entrepreneurs, women-owned and managed businesses particularly in the SME sector globally.
According to a World Bank report, on why gender matters, female-run enterprises are growing steadily all over the world contributing to household income and growth of national economies.
A 2019 report from Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) ranked Ghana as the second country with the highest number of women entrepreneurs.
Speaking at the launch, the Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mrs Elsie Addo Awadzi who was the guest speaker for the event said in spite of significant contributions to economic development, women still lag behind male counterparts in accessing finance.
“In Ghana, only 31per cent of women have bank accounts compared to 43 per cent of men, implying a nine percent gender gap in access to bank accounts,” she said.
Mrs Awadzi lauded Absa Bank Ghana for introducing a banking solution that support the growth of women-led businesses.
“Absa Bank Ghana clearly sees the business case in helping to bridge the gender gap in access to finance through bespoke offerings that meet specific needs. EMERGE will help to grow women-owned businesses, and ultimately lead to an increase in employment and contribute to poverty reduction in line with Sustainable Development Goals,” said Mrs. Awadzi.
She encouraged women entrepreneurs in Ghana to take full advantage of the suite of offerings under ‘EMERGE’ to grow their businesses, develop themselves, grow their networks, and maintain balanced lives to stay more productive.
Mrs. Awadzi indicated that the Bank of Ghana would continue to promote a resilient and inclusive banking sector, and was committed to helping to improve access to financial services from 58 per cent in 2015 to 85 per cent by 2023.
This she said would be done under the National Financial Inclusion and Development Strategy, and to halving the gender gap by 50 per cent by the end of 2021 under the Alliance for Financial Denarau Action Plan.
In her remarks, Mrs. Grace Anim-Yeboah, Business Banking Director at Absa Bank Ghana said this banking solution would facilitate the growth of women businesses which will ultimately lead to an increase in employment and contribute to poverty reduction.
“Close to half of private businesses in Ghana are owned by women. Despite this, women businesses are still faced with limited or no access to financial services. As a forward-looking African bank that is committed to helping people finding a way to get things done, Absa Bank sees this gap as an opportunity to promote inclusiveness and unlock economic growth for women through EMERGE,” said Mrs. Anim-Yeboah.
“We understand our role as agents for economic growth and development. This is why we have taken a brave and passionate step to tap into this opportunity to connect the dreams of our enterprising women with financial resources, services and opportunities, to bring their possibilities to life. Women always have a way of getting things done and at Absa, we call this tenacity, Africanacity,” she added.
According to the bank, the launch of EMERGE will create the developmental and nurturing opportunities for the growth of women-led businesses.