17.03.2005 Business & Finance

Ecobank Trains Key Management Personnel of SMEs

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Tarkwa (W/R), March 18, GNA - One of the Ecobank's key strategic objectives is to develop and build the capacity of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with growth potential.

The bank recognises that, this important objective can be achieved by building strategic linkages with other SME supporting institutions. Ecobank Ghana Ltd in collaboration with Africa Project Development Facility (APDF), United State Agency for International Development (USAID) and EMPRETEC have therefore, embarked on training programmes to enhance the managerial capacity and financial skills of its SME clientele.

Mrs. Frances Adu-Mante, Executive Director, Consumer Banking of Ecobank, said this at the opening of a one-day workshop for 40 key management personnel of SMEs at Tarkwa on Thursday. The workshop was aimed at enhancing skills, strategic thinking and tools for business management, record keeping, financial planning and management among other things.

She said three of such workshops have earlier been held in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi.

Mrs Adu-Mante said, Ecobank's commitment to the development of SMEs has been demonstrated over the past few years by the growth of its SME loan portfolio to approximately 30 per cent of its entire loan portfolio.

She said the customer base of Tarkwa Ecobank branch is made up of mostly SMEs with most of them providing services to mining companies, adding, "Tarkwa is therefore, a key in the bank's SME strategy and indeed, it offers enormous potential for business growth in this direction".

Mrs. Adu-Mante said, the bank's special unit, which manages its SME portfolio would hopefully help develop SMEs to become better-managed business with improved ability to provide more reliable financial data and report.

She mentioned the most critical issues associated with SMEs that needs to be addressed, as financial planning and reporting and management capacity building.

Mrs. Adu-Mante said financial report serves as a vital post-monitoring tool for both banks and the SME to enable them access the progress of project or other part of financing provided by the bank, while capacity management building is another important factor, because of the ownership structure of SMEs and the owner-manager linkage. Mr George Mensah-Asante, Tarkwa Branch Manager of Ecobank said, at the end of the programme participants will be equipped with critical tools to handle some of the challenges of managing the operations and finances of the businesses.

He said, interacting with the participants would give the bank the opportunity to address the banking needs of the Ecobank's SME clientele.

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