The Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Elsie Addo Awadzi, has challenged banks to design financial products that are suited to the peculiar needs of women entrepreneurs to fully harness their contribution to the creation of jobs and wealth for national growth.“Despite their immense contribution to job and wealth creation, women entrepreneurs lack access to finance with only 31 percent of women owning bank accounts, according to research.
This means that a lot of economic activities are going outside the sector and yet they don’t have access to credit; this is actually an opportunity that must be explored by the banking sector to drive economic transformation,” she said.
Mrs. Addo Awadzi who was speaking at the launch of Absa Emerge, a women-centric product by the pan-African bank, said the central bank is poised on improving access to gender-inclusive financial services, with an exercise to solicit demographic data from banks set for January next year to assist the bank’s decision-making efforts.
She said most formal businesses in the agro, textiles and hospitality sectors are largely driven by women in addition to driving the informal sector. The lack of access to capital, she said, hinders their overall impact on the economy and to livelihoods.
“Women contribute immensely to the nation’s development as they dominate the entrepreneurial space. Eighty-five percent of private jobs are SMEs which contribute 70 percent of Ghana’s GDP, half of which are owned by women,” she further underscored.
With the severity of harm done by the coronavirus pandemic to informal businesses, Mrs. Awadzi indicated that Absa Emerge comes in handy as it would go a long way to alleviate the pain that women have felt amid the pandemic.
“This is a momentous milestone in Ghana’s banking industry; women, especially those in informal businesses, have been mostly affected by the pandemic largely because most of them had no bank account.
With this product, Absa has not only seen the need to bridge the gender gap in access to finance for women but with bespoke offerings that address both the financial and non-financial needs of women entrepreneurs to drive their growth and productivity,” she noted.
According to Business Banking Director at Absa Grace Anim-Yeboah, the Absa Emerge has been carefully designed to address the needs of women entrepreneurs with mentoring and business nurturing opportunities.
It seeks to empower women-led businesses for sustained financial growth, guarantee excellent customers service and expand business network, with free financial and business advisory services as well the chance to participate in international business trips.
“This is a solution that truly helps women entrepreneurs to balance it all. As a forward-looking bank, Absa sees the gaps in access to finance for women as an opportunity to promote inclusion and unlock economic growth for women.
“Today, we are deepening our commitment to shaping role in our society, helping to create a brighter future for Ghana,” Ms. Anim-Yeboah, said in her remarks.