The Pan-African banking group Ecobank won the title of African Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Bank of the Year at the African Banker Awards 2021.
According to a statement by Ecobank, the African SME Bank of the Year award 2021 recognises the bank’s significant contribution to the development of the SME sector, thus helping them to build the economic backbone of the continent.
It added that part of the entry criteria required that the winning bank has significantly catalysed funding into the private sector in Africa and promoted enterprise development by facilitating credit and access to finance for SMEs.
“Since the onset of Covid-19, the Ecobank Group has considerably ramped up investments in programmes targeting SMEs by expanding SME-focused lines of credit, providing technical assistance to SME development institutions and building SMEs’ capacity via linkage programmes in partnership with its strategic partners. The Group has been at the forefront of promoting gender inclusion and closing the gender finance gap through innovative initiatives such as ‘Ellevate by Ecobank‘ that targets women-led and women-focused businesses across the continent,” the statement says.
Some of the measures taken by Ecobank to support the SMEs in 2020 included proactively instituting mitigating actions, including tenor extensions and moratoriums on interest, to assist SMEs to manage their loan repayments, increasing the utilisation of digital channels, such as Ecobank Omni Lite, to provide customers with capabilities to make payments remotely and conveniently.
Others initiatives were upskilling staff to ensure their capacity to help develop the SME sector; collaborating with existing risk sharing partners, particularly Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), to share a portion of the risk associated with our lending to the SME sector; partnering with tech giant Google to provide SME customers with the means to develop free online presence through the Google My Business platform; collaborating with the African Union’s Development Agency–AUDA-NEPAD–to focus on strengthening Africa’s support for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and assist their recovery from the impact of the pandemic by empowering MSMEs with access to capabilities, markets and finance, so that they can play a pivotal role in restarting Africa’s economies.
The bank also launched “Ellevate by Ecobank“, a women-owned and women-focused product offering women an end-to-end partnership, through which they gain access to both financial and non-financial services such as financial education, product information, networking and recognition.
Finally, the number of merchants using Ecobank’s point-of-sale (POS) terminals grew from 5,571 to 15,878, and the number of EcobankPay users, their flagship QR collections platform, grew from 180,060 to 248,664.
Commenting on the award, the Ecobank Group Executive, Commercial Banking, Josephine Ankomah, said: “We are truly honoured to receive this recognition. Our immense gratitude goes to our staff, customers and partners who have made this possible. 2020 was a year of unprecedented challenges on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. It required resilience and innovation. We needed to rethink our business and provide innovative ways to assist our SME customers to help them to survive the difficulties brought about by the pandemic. ”
Ecobank Tanzania was established and licensed on 2nd February 2010. The Bank is 99.9% owned by Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the pan-African financial conglomerate headquartered in Lomé, Togo.
ETI is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchanges in Lagos, the Ghana Stock Exchange in Accra, and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières in Abidjan.
The Ecobank Group operates in 33 countries in Africa, and has a banking license in France and representative offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Beijing, China; London, UK; and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
The Group offers a full suite of banking products, services and solutions including bank and deposit accounts, loans, cash management, advisory, trade, securities, wealth and asset management.
For further information please visit www.ecobank.co.tz