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The leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank Group has launched a programme called Ellevate. The new programme is targetted at women-owned and women-focused businesses operating across multiple markets in Africa.
Ellevate aims to encourage women to grow their businesses through customised financial solutions with added value.
Ecobank Group launches a new programme for African women-led businesses
In an official press release, Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Group Executive for Commercial Banking at Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, explains that Ellevate assists women-led businesses with reaching their 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.”
The Ellevate programme gives women-owned and women-focused businesses the opportunity to grow in the business ecosystem by making use of the financial and practical solutions offered through Ellevate.
Africa is reported to have the highest number of women entrepreneurs in the world with roughly half of Africa’s population being women. Reportedly, small to medium enterprises make up 90% of Africa’s businesses, and women own about one-third of all registered SMEs in Africa. One in four African adult females initiates or manages a business.
Myriam Dossou-D’ Almeida, Minister of Grassroots Development, Youth and Youth Employment, Republic of Togo, comments that women are the driving force of economic development and inclusivity remains at the forefront of the Ellevate programme.
“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. 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.”
The Women-led Economy represents a large portion of the market that is noticeably untapped. Ecobank’s launch of the Ellevate programme aims to contribute to economic development as well as strengthen financial integration within Africa by investing in women.
Graça Machel, Founder of Graça Machel Trust and, Foundation for Community Development explains that financial institutions who are shifting to support women-led businesses in Africa will also benefit from the investment in the economy.
“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.”
A collaboration between the Government and the Private sector is encouraged to ensure a healthy environment for women to thrive and succeed in.
Anan-Ankomah comments that the Ecobank Group acknowledges the strategic importance, needs, and support required for women to reach their full potential.
“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. 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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