Ecobank Group launches new initiative that targets businesses owned or managed by women

AFRICA – The Ecobank Group, a pan-African banking conglomerate, has officially launched a new initiative that targets businesses owned or managed by women across 33 markets, to contribute to the continent’s economic development and financial integration.

The new ‘Ellevate‘ programme equips women with financing, business, and leadership training as well as financial tools and resources for success.

This programme is designed to help women reach their full potential by empowering, growing and supporting them with customized financial and value-added solutions.

Access to finance, perceptions of creditworthiness, gender discrimination, and violence against women are some of the significant challenges that are yet to be solved.

“We believe women are the catalyst for change and prosperity.”

Mrs Myriam Dossou-D’ Almeida – Minister, Togo

“The Government recognises the contribution women are making to the socio-economic development of Africa. We believe women are the catalyst for change and prosperity,” stated Mrs Myriam Dossou-D’ Almeida, the Minister of Grassroots Development, Youth and Youth Employment, Republic of Togo.

“The Government of Togo continues to develop and implement policies and programmes that will promote the economic empowerment of women of all ages and social status. Togolese women have always played a critical role in the economy.

“We are pleased to see that the Ecobank Group, through the Ellevate programme, offers to women an opportunity to take their rightful place in the economic development of our country and indeed across the continent. We will work with the private sector to tap into this great potential of African women and create inclusive business opportunities.”

Women constitute roughly half of the population in Africa. SMEs account for up to 90% of all businesses in Africa and women own about a third of all registered African SMEs. 1 in 4 of the adult female population in Africa starts or manages a business, making the African continent one of the highest in terms of women entrepreneurs across the world.

“The empowerment of women is not only a developmental issue. It is very much an economic issue. Financial institutions that recognise the changes that are happening globally and are taking steps to ensure that they are participating in this emerging market, will more fully reap the economic benefit of their investment,” said Graça Machel, Founder, Graça Machel Trust and, Foundation for Community Development.

The Ecobank Group recognises the strategic importance of women on the continent and the need to continually support them to reach their full potential.

“In developing Ellevate, we made time to understand the needs of women, what they really require from their bankers, and came up with practical solutions that will help bridge the identified gaps. Ellevate is an end-to-end comprehensive product suite that supports women-owned and women focused businesses with differentiated business solutions that will unleash their potential,” stated Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Ecobank Group Executive, Commercial Banking.

A healthy collaboration between Government and Private sector is critical for the creation of a conducive environment in which women can thrive and succeed.

“Ellevate by Ecobank is designed for businesses owned by women, managed by women, businesses with a high percentage of female board members or employees and companies that manufacture products for women,” added Josephine Anan-Ankomah.

“These businesses will benefit from smarter cash management solutions, favourable lending rates and value-added services such as leadership training and networking opportunities. All these will ensure that their businesses can scale and remain sustainable. We intend to allocate 10 percent of our Commercial Banking loan portfolio to help bridge the financing gap.”

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