Bank of Africa Ghana (BOA) has collaborated with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advisory Unit of the Office of the President, to embark on a community-based sensitisation exercise to popularise and create critical mass support for the SDGs.
The maiden edition of the exercise dubbed: ‘SDGs – Regional Outreach and Advocacy’ (ROA), was held for three days in Ho, the capital of the Volta Region under the theme: ‘Leave No One Behind’.
Chief of Staff – Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, in her address, informed the gathering that Ghana is putting together innovative measures to meet all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) before 2030. Therefore, she took the opportunity to call on all stakeholders to actively get involved by engaging in safe activities toward the implementation of the goals.
Taking his turn, Presidential Advisor on the SDGs, Dr. Eugene Owusu, indicated that the President is poised in his quest to implement the 17 United Nations SDGs in order to “build a fairer, healthier and prosperous environment for all”.
Adding to that, he called for a strong partnership between government, civil society organisations (CSOs), the private sector and traditional leaders to present a unified front in tackling the issues head-on.
Deputy Managing Director – Bank of Africa Ghana, Fatoumata Gakou, in response to a question posed to her during the panel discussion, stated that with just eight years left to achieve the SDGs, it is very important for the private sector to find ways of supporting government in the achievement of the 2030 timeline, citing the deliberate efforts by BOA through its policies and procedures to help protect the environment and the citizens as an example.
According to her, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank implemented a support system called ‘Oxygen’, to ease the financial burdens on businesses that were affected by the pandemic.
“This ‘Oxygen’ gave these businesses ample time to re-strategise and come up with innovative ideas to rebuild and re-position their businesses for the sake of posterity. This initiative was mainly motivated by the goals of SDG-9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.
“Again, as a means of ensuring the bank’s contribution to implementing SDG-12: Responsible Consumption and Production, the bank currently does not provide funding to businesses whose operations affect the environment,” she said.
She explained further that the BOA performs an environmental and social assessment of the activities of all businesses seeking financial support from the bank before offering such support. And in addition, the bank is currently providing extensive support to businesses that are in the production of green energy, such as those in the development of solar panels.
Furthermore, the deputy manager emphasised the role of her outfit in meeting SDG-5, which calls for gender equality. “BOA provides financial literacy among women by organising various webinars to support women in the small and medium-scale enterprises (SME) sector, and also has internal mentorship programmes which seek to empower female staff to effectively juggle their work, family and social lives”, she stated.
Present at the event were representatives from the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, Volta Regional Coordinating Council, The Association of Ghana Industries, and The Ho Technical University.
On the final day of the event, three young entrepreneurs out of 10, who pitched their business ideas during the SDG Innovative Challenge were awarded financial support to sponsor their business ideas.