Absa Bank, Mastercard Foundation partner to grow MSMEs

Abena Osei-Poku, MD of Absa Bank Ghana (left) and Nathalie Akon Gabala, Regional Head at Mastercard Foundation

Absa Bank Ghana and the Mastercard Foundation have formed a partnership aimed at stimulating the growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to create access to 50,000 dignified and fulfilling jobs for young people in Ghana.

The partnership seeks to build the capacity of 5,000 MSMEs, especially women led firms, smallholder farmers, and players in the agribusiness value chain; strengthen MSME lending capability within the bank to build understanding and help improve quality of service to sector; and leverage digital technology to drive financial inclusion at scale and enable Absa Bank Ghana to provide financial and technical support to scale up promising Fintech start-ups while building their capability to help digitize the MSME space in Ghana.

The five-year partnership is part of the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy in Ghana, an ambitious 10-year programme to enable three million young people, 70% women, to access dignified and fulfilling work. It also affirms Absa Bank’s commitment to connecting the dreams of enterprising Ghanaians to financial resources and opportunities to bring their possibilities to life.

Abena Osei-Poku, Managing Director at Absa Bank Ghana, reiterated the Bank’s commitment to playing a shaping role in society through enterprise skills development initiatives designed to facilitate job creation and sustainable livelihoods for young people.

“We believe in connecting the dreams of our young entrepreneurs to financial opportunities to fuel their ambition and help scale up their businesses in a sustainable manner. Leveraging a high-value partnership such as this enables us to support young businesses to realize their aspirations,” noted Mrs. Osei-Poku.

“We will continue to a play significant role in the micro, small, and medium enterprise sector to help create jobs as well as grow and transform our economy,” Mrs. Osei-Poku added.

As part of the partnership, Absa Bank Ghana will provide entrepreneurial and business sector-specific training. It will also facilitate lending at favourable interest rates to agribusinesses and women-led enterprises to enable them to scale and create access to dignified jobs for thousands of young people in Ghana.

“MSMEs are the bedrock of Ghana’s economy and they are currently the leading provider of employment for young people. Building capacity and providing affordable financing options and access to markets through digitization will go a long way in creating sustainable jobs. Together we can enable the sector to become a major contributor to Ghana’s economic growth,” commented Nathalie Akon Gabala, Regional Head for Western, Central and Northern Africa at the Mastercard Foundation.

Absa Bank Ghana Limited (formerly Barclays Bank Ghana) is a market leader offering an integrated set of products and services including Corporate and Investment Banking, Business Banking with solutions for SMEs and a three-tier Personal Banking proposition – Personal, Prestige & Premier Banking.  With 67 service outlets and over 170 ATMs spread across the country, Absa Ghana also provides a wide range of bancassurance products and an array of digital banking and Cards solutions.

As a systemically significant bank that has supported economic growth for over 100 years, Absa Bank Ghana remain solidly anchored in the Ghanaian economy. Absa Bank Ghana is a member of Absa Group Limited, which is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services group, offering a full suite of banking services, wealth and investment management and insurance.

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management.

Young Africa Works is the Mastercard Foundation’s strategy to enable 30 million young people, particularly young women, across Africa to access dignified work. Africa will be home to the world’s largest workforce, with 375 million young people entering the job market by 2030. With the right skills, these young people will contribute to Africa’s global competitiveness and improve their lives and those of their communities.

The Mastercard Foundation will implement Young Africa Works in 10 African countries in collaboration with governments, private sector, entrepreneurs, educators, and young people. The first phase of countries identified by the Mastercard Foundation are Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Nigeria.

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