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Ecobank unveils business club targeting SMEs

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Ecobank Kenya has launched a business club with an aim of widening opportunities for businessmen and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) customers.

The launch of the Ecobank Emerald Business Club comes on the back of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) agreement which signed by 44 African countries last month and expected to create a $6.7
trillion market by the year 2030.

Speaking during the media launch, Humphrey Muturi, Ecobank Kenya Executive Director and Head of Commercial Banking, Kenya and EAC, stated that the launch of the new Business Club is
a wider strategy by the bank to grow SME sector by offering direct linkages and a seamless base
of transaction for Kenyan businesses and their counterparts across the continent.

“Ecobank Emerald Business Club the Emerald Business Club will focus on bolstering intra-Africa trade leveraging on the Bank’s presence in 33 African markets enabling SMEs to leverage on Ecobank’s customer book aims at facilitating the interaction amongst emerging Kenyan SMEs and the larger businesses across Africa, enabling members to benefit by being part of a like-minded community,” he added.

Due to the lack of adequate platforms to network and understand potential partners have
made most businesses cautious and unwilling to partner.

“For most SMEs, the main risk is the loss of their products or services to unscrupulous traders
with no formal traceability or channels to authenticate the end recipient. If they can get access
to a secure network, formal business channels and an understanding of trade rules and
requirements in different markets through B to B agreements.” Said Ms. Laurence Do Rego –
Ecobank Group Executive, Commercial Banking.

She added that SMEs will also be able to leverage on the Ecobank Mobile App which has four
million downloads so far. The platform will benefit small businesses along border communities
that have in the past had to transact in cash and constantly trade currencies subjecting them to
exchange losses.

Club members will get the privilege of gaining access to direct networking platforms, market
information as well as business advisory services from Ecobank, associated partners, external
trade facilitation and preferential banking among others.

In addition, the Emerald Business Club will focus on bolstering intra-Africa trade leveraging on
the Bank’s presence in 33 African markets enabling SMEs to leverage on Ecobank’s customer
book to authenticate and vet trading partners across the continent.

“For most SMEs, the main risk is the loss of their products or services to unscrupulous traders
with no formal traceability or channels to authenticate the end recipient. If they can get access
to a secure network, formal business channels and an understanding of trade rules.

SMEs will also be able to tap into new opportunities and deepen intra-Africa trade which
currently stands at 14% accounting for 18% of African exports.

READ: US taxation firm, Andersen Global, debuts in Kenya

Across Africa, small and medium sized enterprises are singled out as the key drivers for job
creation, wealth generation and social-economic growth and development. The club is already
operational in Ghana, Nigeria, and Cote D’Ivoire among others with plans to launch in the entire
East Africa in the next two months. Ecobank has representative offices in China, Dubai and the United Kingdom.

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DAVID OKUNDI
DAVID OKUNDIhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
David Okundi is a communications student at Daystar University specialising in print media. He can be reached on email at: [email protected]
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