Traditional banks can do more for women-owned businesses – Stanbic’s Strategy Lead urges


By Mohammed AWAL

Kwaku Arthur-Annobil, Strategy Lead and Business Manager at Stanbic Bank, has urged traditional financial institutions to increase their support for women-led businesses and the informal sector in general, which play a crucial role in the country’s economy.

Speaking at the maiden edition of the Women in Business Dialogue Series organised by the B&FT in Accra, he noted that the informal sector has long served as an engine of economic growth, making significant contributions to the country’s GDP and sustaining livelihoods for millions of citizens.

Against this backdrop, he said it is imperative for traditional banks to recognise the importance of this sector and find innovative ways to tailor their services to meet its unique needs.

The informal sector in Ghana, dominated by women, encompasses a wide array of businesses, ranging from street vendors and artisans to small-scale traders and service providers.

Despite its prominence, informal enterprises often encounter challenges in accessing formal banking services, including limited access to credit, cumbersome documentation requirements and a lack of tailored financial products.

Mr. Arthur-Annobil, while emphasising that his outfit offers tailor-made products and services to meet the critical needs of the sector, also stressed the importance of other banks increasing their support for the informal sector. He suggested implementing innovative strategies aimed at addressing the sector’s challenges.

Among the key recommendations put forth by him is the call for banks to develop specialised financial products and services tailored to the needs of informal businesses.

This includes offering flexible credit options and simplified account opening procedures. He also urged leveraging technology, particularly mobile banking and digital payment platforms, to improve the accessibility and efficiency of banking services for informal entrepreneurs, many of whom operate in remote or underserved areas.

Additionally, he underscored the import of providing financial literacy training and business support services to empower informal entrepreneurs to manage their finances effectively and access formal banking channels.

“I think that is where we need to position ourselves. Let’s find very innovative ways to support the informal sectors,” he stated.

Furthermore, Mr. Arthur-Annobil stressed the importance of fostering collaboration between banks and regulatory authorities to create an enabling environment for the informal sector.

He particularly stressed the need for regulatory frameworks that promote innovation while safeguarding consumer rights and financial stability.

He concluded that by embracing the opportunities presented by the informal economy and working collaboratively to address its challenges, traditional banks can play a pivotal role in driving inclusive economic growth and prosperity in Ghana.

The maiden Women in Business (WIB) dialogue series was organised by the B&FT, Africa’s leading source for relevant business information.

The event afforded an ideal platform for women business owners to rub minds and proffer insight into harnessing the potential of women-leaning businesses under the theme investing in women-owned businesses for Ghana’s transformation agenda: a call for action.

Globally, women’s entrepreneurial activity is on the rise. Estimates suggest that women run around 24 percent to 33 percent of all businesses worldwide. Of particular interest is sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The region boasts the world’s highest rate of women entrepreneurs, with a staggering 27 percent of female residents actively involved in entrepreneurial activities.

Studies suggest that if women entrepreneurs in the region were given equal access to resources as men, they could contribute an additional US$1trillion to Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.

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