Business News of 2014-06-05

SG Ghana, EIB to provide €20 million support to SMEs

The European Investment Bank (EIB), Europe’s long-term lending institution has agreed to provide EUR 20 million to Societe Generale Ghana (SG Ghana) to support investment by small and medium sized private sector companies in Ghana and further develop the financial sector in the country.

This is the first initiative within a planned EUR 80 million European Investment Bank programme expected to leverage at least EUR 160 million investments across the country. It is expected that following SG Ghana, other leading banks in the country will soon join the programme.

According to Mr. Pim Van Ballekom, the EIB Vice President for sub-Saharan Africa the European Bank is pleased to work together with Societe Generale Ghana and build on the success of similar cooperation with other banks both in Europe and across Africa.

The new engagement which was launched last Tuesday in Accra is expected to increase investment by the private sector essential for economic development and reducing poverty in Ghana.

“The Europe Investment Bank is committed to supporting the financial sector in Ghana and stimulating private sector development across Africa” Mr. Van Ballekom told Journalists.

In his welcome address, the managing Director of SG Ghana Mr.; Gilbert Hie stated that the 10-year credit facility would provide long-term financial support for SMEs at cheaper rates with focus on exporters. Adding that, SG Ghana will continue to offer developmental support to the local financial sector.

The new lending programme by the European Investment Bank will allow SG Ghana to provide loans in Euros and US dollars for up to 10 years. This represents a much longer maturity than currently usually available.

Lending under the scheme will focus on high added-value sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, construction, transport, education and healthcare and reinforce crucial long-term investment by Ghanaian companies to support create jobs.

The European Investment Bank agreed the new SME lending programme with SG Ghana following an earlier successful scheme in 2007.

Apart from SME support, the EIB’s engagement will help improve the banking sector in Ghana through backing expansion of branch networks, IT systems and staff training. The EIB loan to SG Ghana will as well fund the bank’s capital expenditure in its headquarters building and five new branch offices in the country that will enhance banking services available to private sector companies.

The EIB is also working with number of lending banks across Africa to support private sector investment; the bank has supported projects in Ghana since 1976. Societe Generale is one of the leading banks in Ghana with 37-networked branches across the country. The bank is recognized for supporting individuals and businesses of various sizes and backgrounds to achieve their full potential.

The SG Ghana is the foremost innovator in the banking industry spearheading key reforms such as Doorstep Banking, Factoring, Foreign Exchange and Commodity Hedging.

Others are Consumer Credit Loan, Sika Card, Sikatel and Sikatext to meet its growing customer needs.

Source: Charles Addo/GhanaWeb
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