Ecobank Group and Microsoft Upskill Africa’s Small and Medium Enterprises to Succeed in a Digital Economy
The leading pan-African banking group, Ecobank Group, in partnership with Microsoft, LinkedIn, GitHub and Ecobank Academy is set to provide training to equip Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across sub-Saharan Africa. This training will provide SMEs digital skills and knowledge to succeed in today’s digital world.
SMEs have been significantly impacted by the COVID19 pandemic with its attendant lockdowns and disruptions to supply chains, plummeting sales, lost revenue and operational challenges. In response to feedback from our customers, Ecobank through its Commercial Banking Segment is helping business owners close the digital skills gap within their chosen fields and improve the digital capabilities of their employees.
Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Group Executive, Commercial Banking for the Ecobank Group said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has turbocharged the shift towards digital. It is essential that businesses adapt so that they are able to compete effectively in today’s rapidly changing landscape. Ecobank’s Commercial Banking is committed to supporting SMEs across our pan-African footprint. Through this partnership with Microsoft, LinkedIn, GitHub and Ecobank Academy we are offering training to equip business owners and their employees with the digital skills that they need to stay connected to their customers. We are intent on ensuring that our SME customers remain relevant, grow and succeed in the post COVID-19 era.”
SMEs have been invited to register here (https://bit.ly/3iEspdc)for the upcoming webinar taking place on July 26. The Global Skilling initiative program is available on an online portal where SMEs can register, and start their learning journey for any of the 10 in-demand skill sets (Customer Services; Digital Marketing; Financial Analysis; Graphic Design; IT Support/Help Desk; Project Management; Sales; Data Analysis; IT Administration; And Software Development). They can complete the virtual programme at their own pace and at times that work best for them. The programme runs until 31st of December 2021.
Ibrahim Youssry, Regional General Manager, Middle East and Africa – Multi market region at Microsoft said, “we are committed to building digital talent pipelines to support the workforce of the future, and our Global Skilling Initiative is an important part of this process. But beyond the future workforce, digital talent will also support more local innovation, as developers and entrepreneurs are empowered to create locally relevant solutions that best address the challenges and needs of African countries. Startups and SMEs play a critical role in innovation, economic growth and job creation, and expanded access to digital skills is one of the key steps needed to foster a successful economic recovery.”
The Global Skilling Initiative is just another example of how Ecobank wants to help SMEs reach their full potential and play a vital role in driving Africa’s economic resurgence. Other support initiatives for SMEs include:
- The Ecobank Marketplace eCommerce solution for businesses to grow their sales on digital marketplaces
- And the Ellevate programme to provide women-led/owned/focused businesses with loans, cash management solutions, training and mentoring opportunities.
SMEs in Africa That Adopted Tech For Their Businesses Reported Higher Rates of Sales
International Finance Corporation (IFC) analyzed data from a survey of 3,325 small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in seven countries in Africa reported that businesses that adopted tech for their operation, reported six times higher sales levels, increased rate of productivity, and 1.9 times the number of employees than non-users.
The survey which was conducted in Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania revealed that less than seven percent of micro-enterprises disclosed that they used digital technologies for their business. 71 percent of respondents reported that there was no need for the use of technology while 35 percent disclosed that using technology for the operation of their businesses was quite expensive for them.
While 34 percent revealed that they did not have the technological know-how of these technologies, 20 percent revealed that lack of access to high-speed Internet was a reason for not adopting tech in their business.
As the world grapples with supply chain disruptions and stifled economic growth following the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic, the adoption of technology by businesses in Africa has never been more prominent compared to other continents.
Despite the ongoing digital revolution that is transforming economies and driving innovation across all economic sectors, the African continent has continued to play catch-up with the rest of the world. Analysts suggest that for a wide range of SMEs in Africa to adopt technology for their businesses, the people need to be empowered with the necessary digital competencies.
While the formal business sector in Africa is dominated by Small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), the adoption and leveraging of technology in business is of great importance and can play an important role in accelerating the continent’s industrialization and economy.
Digital technology has no doubt created new opportunities for businesses across the globe, however, Investors King understands that businesses in Africa are yet to enjoy the full benefits of technology because of a difficult environment.
Union Bank Pledges More Support for Nigerian SMEs
Union Bank of Nigeria has declared that it will stand like a pillar behind Small and Medium- sized Enterprises (SMEs) to ensure growth and development in the country economy.
Head, Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) Products & Segments, Union Bank, Ayokunnumi Abraham made the declaration at the Business Day newspaper ‘Top 100 Fastest Growing SMEs in Nigeria’ conference.
The conference was themed, “How SMEs can thrive in an age of volatility.”
Mr. Abraham said SMEs needed to pay attention to capacity building and keeping proper financial records as he noted these are the areas that will attract investors.
“SMEs must focus on building capacity and developing the necessary skills to increase their expertise if they hope to succeed in this volatile age. SMEs also need to embrace technology and digital tools as an enabler for business growth while ensuring their books and records are organised if they hope to attract funding from the right financial partner.”
Union bank were joined by other various stakeholders in the SME sector, including entrepreneurs, industry experts, start-ups, and financiers at the event.
Union bank has remained one of Nigeria’s Leading financial institution ever since its creation in 1917 and were awarded at an award ceremony held after the conference as “Nigeria’s SME Financier of the Year.”
According to the organisers of the award, the award was in recognition of the bank’s efforts to support and promote the growth of the SME sector in the country.
State Govts Responsible For Funding, Approving Beneficiaries of NG-CARES Grants– Bank of Industry
As the process of obtaining the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) grants is ongoing, the Bank of Industry, BOI has cleared the air on its responsibilities.
BOI stated that each state government is fully responsible for funding and selecting beneficiaries for the NG-CARES scheme, not the bank.
This is contained in a statement issued by the BOI on Sunday, clarifying the processes of implementation and disbursement of the grants.
Investors King understands that the NG-CARES scheme is an initiative of the World Bank in partnership with the federal government of Nigeria to aid recovery of communities, households, and businesses affected by COVID-19 Pandemic.
According to the BOI statement, each state is in charge of funding arrangements and determines its preferred grant sizes and number of beneficiaries across different programme components as approved by the World Bank.
The statement indicates that the World bank chose the Bank of Industry to provide and monitor the infrastructure for the actualisation of the scheme in Nigeria.
The BOI stated that it will disburse the funds as directed by the states, noting that “its role as an execution partner is to work on the end-to-end application and verification processes and present successful candidates to enable states’ decision-making for disbursements.”
“The World Bank nominated the bank to provide this infrastructure for the delivery of the MSME component of NG-CARES (RA3) nationwide. Following this nomination, 28 out of 33 states chose BOI as their preferred execution partner to leverage the bank’s MSME infrastructure to deliver NG-CARES.”
Investors King reports that enquiries on the eligibility requirements, implementation status, and other information on the programme can be accessed through the NG-CARES federal CARES support unit, state delivery agencies, or its official website– www.ngcares.gov.ng.
The BOI noted that only candidates that meet the requirements of the initiative will receive the grants.
The bank added that each state does the selection for disbursement as they manage the funds available for the programme and make sure there is fair distribution of the grants across business categories, local government areas, gender and other demographics which will be accounted for.
Wema Bank Plc Announces Dividend Declaration and Director Appointments at 2022 AGM
Unity Bank Grows Gross Earnings to N57Billion in 2022FY, Builds Momentum as Profit Grows by 21% in Q1/2023
Tinubu’s Inauguration Triggers 5.37% Growth in Stock Market Last Week
Cryptocurrency4 weeks ago
Binance Resumes Bitcoin Withdrawals After Pause, Cites Congestion of Network
Technology4 weeks ago
Apple And Google Collaborate to Stop Unwanted Tracking of People by Bluetooth Devices
Fintech4 weeks ago
WhatsApp Users in Singapore Can Now Pay Local Businesses Through Chat
Telecommunications4 weeks ago
Airtel Africa plc’s Customer Base Grows to 140 Million, Fueled by Mobile Data and Mobile Money Services
Appointments4 days ago
Wema Bank Plc. Appoints Dr. (Mrs.) Oluwayemisi Olorunshola as Board Chairman
Finance5 days ago
Zenith Bank Maintains Position as Best Corporate Governance Financial Services’ in Africa for the Fourth Consecutive Time
Banking Sector2 weeks ago
Zenith Bank Executive Director Acquires 4.04 Million Shares, Reinforces Confidence in Bank’s Growth
Cryptocurrency4 weeks ago
Pepecoin Traders Remain Bullish Despite Recent Price Correction; Whales Continue to Accumulate