Absa Bank, Mastercard offer support to SMEs
The Absa Bank Ghana has partnered the Mastercard Foundation to introduce a new support programme to help elevate Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and propel their growth.
The initiative, among other things seeks to build the capacities of more than 5,000 small businesses and groom them to be investor ready in the next two years.
It also offers a loan scheme which creates an opportunity for women-owned businesses, young entrepreneurs, agribusinesses and fintechs in the country to borrow up to GH¢1 million at a low rate of 10 per cent without collateral.
The timing for the new loan scheme could not be better as the average commercial borrowing rates in Ghana have soared above 25 per cent, making it harder for businesses to thrive and achieve their full potential.
The Managing Director (MD) of the Absa Bank Ghana, Abena Osei-Poku, at the launch of the programme in Accra observed that the support programme was an exciting development that reflected the bank's unwavering commitment to empowering and partnering SMEs as they navigate the challenges of today's marketplace.
She described the support programme as a groundbreaking moment in the bank's journey to transform the landscape of Ghanaian businesses.
"We are not just a bank – we are a partner in the country’s real sector growth.
“We are committed to making an impact within our communities, to supporting the dreams and aspirations of SMEs as they contribute to the total transformation of the Ghanaian economy," she said.
According to her, the programme is one of the most compelling stories of hope and possibility in a world that is grappling with uncertainty and volatility.
The MD explained that the Mastercard Foundation was offering capacity support and guidance for the programme, while the Absa Bank will take care of the lending aspect of the initiative.
She said this development was a beacon of hope for SMEs in Ghana, as it presents a unique opportunity to access capital at an incredibly low rate, empowering them to create jobs, drive economic growth and unlock their full potential.
“It is an investment in the country's future and the Absa Bank Ghana is leading the charge to transform the economy by supporting and partnering these businesses, one story at a time,” she said.
She added that the bank had always been committed to the growth and success of small and medium-sized businesses, recognising their power to transform the economy of the country.
Strong SME sector
The Country Director of Mastercard Foundation, Rosy Fynn, noted that a strong SMEs sector was important for the growth of every economy, advanced or developing.
She said in search of viable solutions to support SMEs, the Mastercard Foundation partnered the bank to support the growth of small businesses in the country.
As a result, she said a five-year partnership agreement between the two parties had been reached to build the capacities of 5,000 SMEs to ensure their sustainability.
“Through this initiative, we also plan to create 50,000 dignifying and sustainable jobs for Ghanaian youth.
We also expected that within the five years period, about 20 fintech startups would be supported with a grant of $250,000 to scale up their businesses,” he said.
The Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Elsie Addo Awadzi, stated that the programme would help boost productive sectors of the economy.
She said the initiative was exciting as it sought to help SMEs to maintain and put their businesses on the path of growth at this challenging time.
“This initiative could not have come at a better time to support SMEs who have been affected by the recent economic challenges in Ghana and across the world,” she said.