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Graphic, Access Bank sign pact on SME clinic

BY: Joshua Bediako Koomson
Mr Kafui Bimpe (right), Group Head, Business Banking of Access Bank (Ghana) Ltd, exchanging documents with Mr Ato Afful (left), MD of GCGL, after signing the pact. Picture: ESTHER ADJEI
Graphic, Access Bank sign pact on SME clinic

The Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) and the Access Bank have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the organisation of the maiden edition of the Graphic/Access Bank SME Clinic.

The clinic is an initiative to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to add value to their businesses.

The maiden edition is slated for the Labadi Beach Hotel on March 24, this year.

As part of the initiative, SME businesses will have access to tailor-made services ranging from digital payment solutions, instant business loans, advisory services, dedicated customer service, insurance and more to help improve their operations.

The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Ato Afful, signed for the GCGL, while the Group Head of Business Banking at Access Bank, Mr Kafui Bimpe, initialled for the bank.

In attendance were the Director of Finance of the GCGL, Mr Samuel Essel; the Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Kobby Asmah, and the Deputy Editor of the Graphic Business, Mr Charles Benoni Okine.

Leverage knowledge

Speaking at the event held at the head office of the GCGL in Accra yesterday, Mr Afful stressed the need for Africa to leverage its knowledge to chart its own course to ensure the speedy development of the continent.

“There is so much knowledge that sits in some pockets of the continent that should be leveraged across borders. It is not always up to us to go and find something on other continents to import to Africa. We understand Africa, we live here and we know how the continent works,” he said.

“Usually, you will find that it is mostly the World Bank or an organisation somewhere which is charting a course for a continent that understands itself. We live here and we are the only ones who understand how the continent does its business,” he added.

Mr Afful stated that with the continent’s under-25 age group constituting about 50 per cent of the population, the indication was that such very young population was an entrepreneurial workforce.

As a result, he said, there was the need to create opportunities that befitted their aspirations through the right channels.

Appreciation

Against that background, Mr Afful expressed his appreciation to Access Bank for partnering the GCGL through the latter’s Graphic Business channel.

He expressed confidence that the partnership would offer the bank the very best of opportunities to tap into the network of SMEs.

“We think with the launch of an initiative of this nature, we will continue to get the value that we all seek. We are confident that the Graphic/Access Bank partnership will do so much more to enrich the lives of our population,” he added.

Critical sector

For his part, Mr Bimpe indicated that the SME sector was one of the critical sectors of the economy which could help improve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.

Therefore, he said, the priorities of the two companies were not misplaced, as the partnership would support the sustainable growth of the SMEs.

He noted that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had adversely affected SMEs in the country.

To overcome such a situation, Mr Bimpe said, there was the need to create platforms for them to be able to grow. As such, he deemed the partnership with Graphic as that of growth for SME businesses in Ghana.

He said due to the pandemic, consumer behaviour had changed completely, indicating that it was time for businesses to start doing things out of the normal to enable them to thrive.

In order for SMEs to grow within the current situation, Mr Bimpe said, they needed to be supported with innovative digital solutions.

“We are happy for this partnership and we hope that we will create that avenue for businesses to grow. We are going to provide a lot of advisory support, equip them with a lot of skills and provide them with tools to enable them to sail through the challenges brought about by the pandemic,” he stated.