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29.08.2005 Business & Finance

Accelerate development banking - Asantehene tells MD


Kumasi, Aug. 29, GNA - The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at the weekend urged Barclays Bank to accelerate development banking instead of the present retail banking it was involved in.

He suggested that the bank should therefore, enter into commercial agriculture to create a major development in agriculture in the country. Speaking during a courtesy call on him by Mr Malcolm Hewitt, Managing Director of Barclays Bank in-charge of Sub-Saharan Africa, the Asantehene observed that private sector development in agriculture, industry and commerce were not moving because entrepreneurs did not have the much needed resources.

He therefore requested the bank to package some products to help improve that sector.

The Asantehene assured the management of the bank that he was ready to package land for investors and added that for a start, he could release the Race Course area to the bank to establish a shopping mall. In furtherance of this therefore, he suggested the putting together of a team from Manhyia Palace and Barclays to explore the possibility of creating land banks, which could be ready for investors.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu called on the bank to invest in long term agricultural financing pointing out that Ghana could survive through agriculture.

"I am interested to see Afram Plains develop in terms of agriculture so that farmers can export to bring in foreign exchange".

Mr. Hewitt told the Asantehene that the bank would refurbish the Kejetia branch before the end of February 2006 by introducing bulk cash handling facility to make it a real financial centre. He hoped when the new block was completed, cash collection in the community will improve besides this, adding that, it will also provide easy access to banking and ultimately introduce imaginative low cost lending facility to the people.

Mr Hewitt disclosed that it was the intention of Barclays Bank to make Ghana its International Financial Service Centre by establishing offshore sourcing facility.

He said the management of the bank would come back to the Asantehene to discuss land for agricultural investors, adding that Kumasi will be used as a model for investors who were prepared to add value to raw materials produced in Ghana.

Mr Hewitt said the bank also plans to get involved in Eco-Tourism which if it takes off will make Ashanti part of its area of operation. Those who accompanied Mr Hewitt to Manhyia included Madam Margaret D. Mwanakatwe, Managing Director of Barclays Ghana, Mr Felix Nyarko-Pong, Executive Director, Retail Banking, Mr Frazer Hume, Chief Operating Officer and Mr Simon Dornoo, Treasurer.