Stanbic Bank Ghana in partnership with the German Government has launched a project to support the preservation of employment by Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in Ghana against the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the project, the German Government via the KfW Investing for Employment (IFE) facility, will provide a total grant funding of EUR 6 million, while Stanbic will supplement the grant by providing additional credit relief to SMEs through extended loan tenors.
Speaking to Citi Business News at a signing ceremony between Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited and Investing for Employment, the Managing Director of Stanbic Bank Ghana, Alhassan Andani, said that they are expected to support at least 40 SMEs and preserve more than 12,000 jobs across a wide spectrum of important economic sectors such as education and health through the project.
“In total, KfW IFE and Stanbic expect to be able to support at least 40 SMEs across a wide spectrum of important economic sectors (such as education or health) through the project, with a total of around 4,400 employees. In addition, the combined intervention aims to contribute to the preservation of more than 8,000 jobs at other small enterprises collaborating with beneficiary SMEs, e.g. as suppliers or service providers. This adds up to more than 12,000 jobs that are foreseen to be preserved,” he said.
He also added that Stanbic Bank Ghana will deploy the funding to selected SMEs in its portfolio suffering from the negative effects of Covid-19 related restrictions.
“Stanbic will supplement the grant by providing additional credit relief to these SMEs through extended loan tenors. This combination of measures aims to enable the beneficiary SMEs to maintain the largest share of their employees,” he said.
He further noted that the aim of the facility, which is to help preserve jobs and support the SME sector, is in line with Stanbic Bank’s own interventions aimed at mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on the sector.
“We believe that when our SME sector is supported to survive this pandemic, the sector will be uniquely positioned to continue being the backbone of the Ghanaian economy that takes it to the next level”, Mr. Andani said.
“Stanbic Bank has, since the advent of the pandemic, put in place a number of measures to ensure that Ghanaian SMEs are supported through these difficult times and this joint project fits perfectly into our efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. This partnership with the IFE is the ideal supplement to our own efforts so far,” he added.
Mr. Andani encouraged businesses in the country to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the facility to ensure that they thrive to continue to contribute significantly to the economy.
One of the Executive Directors of KFW IFE, Mr. Andreas Holtkotte, noted that, “We are very pleased to collaborate with Stanbic Bank Ghana under IFE’s Corona Response Programme. IFE is proud to have a professional and reputable partner such as Stanbic in order to implement the allocated funds. The project aims at supporting SMEs which are known to be the backbone and job engine of the Ghanaian economy. The partnership with Stanbic Bank enables us to deploy our results-based grant support in a targeted manner to SMEs which hold the potential for poverty reduction and development of African economies.”
Head of Cooperation at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mrs. Dorothee Dinkelaker also said, “Germany and Ghana maintain close and trustful relations. Ghana is a key partner for Germany in Africa, as illustrated not least by the intensive cooperation under the G20 Compact with Africa and its bilateralisation, the Reform and Investment Partnership.”
She added that “in light of the massive socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic both on a global and domestic level in Ghana, quick and substantive measures are necessary to help preserve employment, production capacities and supply chain linkages. KfW IFE’s Corona Response Programme forms part of the Special Initiative on Training and Employment under which the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) offers a package of measures to support investment activities that have a high impact on employment in selected countries of Africa, including Ghana. With the joint support, not only SMEs and their employees, but also their families who are manoeuvring through these challenging times will benefit from this intervention.”