…reiterates SMEs’ support commitment for AfCFTA
Bank of Africa-Ghana (BOA-Ghana) has been named ‘2022 Trade Finance Bank of the Year’ by two separate credible awarding schemes: the Innovation and Excellence Awards, and the Ghana Credit Excellence Awards 2022.
The awards are organised by two well-respected institutions, the International Centre for Strategic Alliances (ICSA) and Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM). Both honoured BOA for its remarkable contribution to promoting cross-border trade and financing small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs).
According to management of the bank, the recognition by these two institutions affirms the bank’s position as a specialist Trade Finance Institution, as it was also adjudged ‘Trade Finance Bank of the Year’ at the 2021 Ghana Accountancy and Finance Awards last year.
The Executive Director for Business Development, William Boateng, reiterated the deliberate efforts and product lines developed by the bank to position it as a lead trade finance bank on the continent, leveraging on its existing infrastructure and presence in over 20 African countries as well as other continents.
He mentioned that in these challenging times when the whole trade ecosystem on the continent is under threat – due to currency depreciation and high inflation rates among others – the ability to still support businesses and keep them sustained is what stakeholders consider. Therefore, to be recognised for the bank’s contribution toward Trade is an affirmation that the initiatives and inputs are yielding results and show how firm the bank’s foundations are.
“What has enabled these successes chalked up over the past few years is that we realised our capacity in terms of our Group network on the African continent, Asia and America, and then decided to leverage on it to make Trade a key pillar of the bank’s strategy. The basic infrastructures were present and the foundation was solid, hence the important task then was to bring onboard the necessary skills and expertise to harmonise all the competitive advantages – which was done competently. The recognition by our stakeholders and customers in such a ‘back-to-back’ honour is not something achieved out of a vacuum; rather, it is a fruitful result of expertise and footprints of our commitment to serve clients to satisfaction,” he said.
Head of Cross-Border Trade & Business Synergy, Musah Abdul-Rahman, on his part mentioned that a key factor to its success is the bank taking keen interest in receiving feedback from customers. “We use these feedbacks to analyse the impact and value of our products and services. The bank’s inability to meet certain needs of our customers is considered an assignment to go back to the drawing board and find solutions which later feed into the bank’s strategic development.”
According to the Executive Director for Business Development, BOA-Ghana has been supporting Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) and exporters over the years with trade financing. He indicated that SMEs form the majority of businesses in Ghana’s economy and tend to bear the brunt of any economic crisis, thus BOA is ready to advance more funding into the SME space.
“This is a better time to support SMEs more, and we are ready for them in terms of trade finance support. We want all of them to come onboard and rest assured of our support. In 2023, we are restructuring some of our branches to be SME-friendly and give special attention to SMEs which walk in for trade finance support, business advisory assistance and other technical support required,” Mr. William Boateng stated.
Mr. Abdul-Rahman reiterated that the bank’s commitment to SMEs is a journey and not a one-off event. “We want every SME customer that visits us to be satisfied with our services and become our ambassador, telling other businesses about how supportive and tailor-made our services are. So, we have deliberate plans in the coming year dedicated to anchoring SME businesses,” he said.
He urged SMEs to adhere to international standards, and producers of similar goods to collaborate to have good economies of scale and competitive advantage in cross-border trade.
Africa Continental Free Trade Area Support as Best Trade Finance
As an African bank with global reach, trade support to essential sectors of the economy – including SMEs, oil & gas among others – has been a key focus of the bank; and with the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) now in progress, the bank has maintained its commitment to supporting SMEs and businesses penetrate the market.
Mr. Boateng mentioned that to facilitate cross border trade for both exporters and importer, BOA-Ghana is integrating the Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) system into the system of the Bank.
Additionally, he mentioned that the bank has been supportive of the AfCFTA since its inception and will continue to work and collaborate with the secretariat to implement initiatives that promote cross-border trade for a prosperous Africa.
In his message to customers of BOA-Ghana, Mr. William Boateng said: “We want our customers to be proud of being part of the BOA brand. We assure them that we will continue to be Strong as a Group and as Close as a partner”.