Beyond giving us a sense of pride, being Africa’s foremost bank places on the Standard Bank a huge responsibility that we have gladly shouldered for more than a century and half. Our purpose to drive Africa’s growth has reflected in the substantial positive social, economic and environmental impact we have achieved through our core business activities. To Africa and our people, we are more than just a bank. We are a core and indispensable member of the African community offering not just integrated financial services and superior value, but also supporting African countries to realize their full socio-economic potentials.
Our presence in Ghana over the past two decades has been a journey of growth. By this we mean growth that creates jobs and socio-economic opportunities for as many Ghanaians as possible; that helps to alleviate poverty and supports community development and financial inclusion; supports improved access to crucial services such as quality health care and quality education, adequate water and sanitation, and reliable and affordable energy, transport and telecommunications infrastructure; minimises harmful impacts to the natural environment, and respects universal human rights. In doing this, we have ensured that the clients we bank, and the projects, partnerships and infrastructural developments we finance, create net positive social, economic and environmental impacts.
These considerations are front and centre when we make business decisions and are mirrored in the projects and partnerships we have embarked on in the past 20 years. Within the health sector, our interventions have focused on ensuring sustainable growth through quality healthcare provision. It is this underlining principle that encouraged us to provide critical funding support for the construction of a 45-bed facility for the Accra Medical Centre. This was to ensure that the Centre has all the amenities required for an efficient customer-oriented healthcare provision.
West Africa’s largest referral hospital, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, has also been a major partner in our interventions within Ghana’s health sector. Circa 2017, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital was experiencing revenue leakages as a result of financial reconciliation challenges, delays in transaction time and non-provision of real time access to relevant stakeholders. Realizing this and the adverse effect this would have on the provision of effective healthcare to Ghanaians, Stanbic Bank provided an onsite end-to-end hospital revenue collection software to have revenue leakages sealed. The software has, till date, improved revenue collection and financial transactions in the hospital.
In recognition of the critical role SMEs play as the backbone of the Ghanaian economy, our support for the sector has been consistent and enthusiastic. Stanbic Bank has, to date, provided over USD$ 200 million financing support to SMEs across the country. The bank has been instrumental in the growth of SMEs such as Ghana Tuna, Myroc Adom Mbroso and downstream cocoa processing company, Afrotropic. Our support for the SME sector goes beyond financial. Stanbic Bank has introduced a business incubator, the SBIncubator, to provide business advisory, coaching and mentorship and market access facilitation and networking opportunities to aspiring entrepreneurs and startups in the country.
Stanbic Bank’s commitment to the provision of superior value to corporate clients on their growth journey has led us to support some of the thriving organizations in the country. Kasapreko Company Limited and Goldfields Ghana Limited are classic examples of this commitment. In tandem with our belief that financial institutions remain a primary enabler for meaningful interventions that lead to economic prosperity, Stanbic Bank provided financial support to Kasapreko for the construction of aUSD$25 million factory at Tanoso in the Ashanti Region. As an indigenous Ghanaian company, we believe supporting Kasapreko is critical in the realization of a self-sufficient country that is in charge of its destiny and in control of the pace and direction of its growth.
With regard to our intervention with Goldfields Ghana Limited, our aim was to facilitate the transition of the company’s financial flows from manual to digital through our ‘Host-to-Host’ service. The Stanbic Host-to-Host service is a secured automated two-way interface for managing high volume financial transactions and reporting. While the service gives clients multiple options to upload a myriad of file formats, it also has features that allow for viewing and managing transmitted files, status dashboard and alerts among others. The secured and seamless integration allows Goldfields to carry out banking transactions from their financial management system, without having to access the bank’s electronic platform. It also enables them to receive extracts and transaction reports on their own system, providing greater operational speed, independence, confidentiality and security. This has brought enormous ease to doing business and superior value to the operations of Goldfields.
While doing all these, Stanbic Bank has been an agenda setter invoking and leading national conversations that are critical to national development. Our quarterly Graphic Business/Stanbic Breakfast Meeting has brought to the fore burning issues that border on national development. From agriculture to education to the economy, Stanbic Bank thought leadership has led to some major policy changes and directions in Ghana.
Over the past two decades, our commitment to the wellbeing of the Ghanaian society has never been in doubt. We believe that our sustainability and success are inextricably linked to the prosperity and wellbeing of the Ghanaian society and therefore, we ensure that our core business activities and operations support and contribute to this prosperity and wellbeing.
Steeped deep within the Standard Bank Group’s Social, Environmental and Economic (SEE) framework, we have made significant contributions in the areas of education, sports development, agriculture poverty relief, health and environmental protection. This enables us to weigh-up commercial versus societal impacts and make appropriate decisions on this basis delivering what matters to our clients whilst enhancing the trust, reputation and sustainability of the society. Overall, we have invested over USD $4.5 million in these focus areas with the sole aim of developing the Ghanaian society.
Throughout the conduct of our business, there is a conscious and deliberate approach to generating a net positive impact across the whole spectrum of our service delivery. We are committed to the African continent and by extension to all the countries we operate in. Our footprints across the continent show clearly our dedication to ensuring that this continent that we call our home is prosperous in all aspects. We, at Stanbic Bank, have decided to take those bold steps and decisions that drive Africa’s growth and we encourage all of us to do our bit along this journey.
The writer is the Manager, Communications – Stanbic Bank