The pan-African banking group, Ecobank Group, has entered a partnership with Microsoft, LinkedIn, GitHub and Ecobank Academy to provide training to equip Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across sub-Saharan Africa. The training is expected to provide Small and Medium-sized Enterprises digital skills and knowledge to succeed in today’s digital world.
According to Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Group Executive, Commercial Banking for the Ecobank Group, the COVID-19 has greatly affected SMEs and made them lose revenues. Therefore, she noted that Ecobank wants to bridge the digital skills gap within SMEs.
“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.Josephine Anan-Ankomah
“In response to feedback from the 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 further highlighted the importance of digitization in development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. She also noted that the partnership will help employees and business owners with the needed digital skills.
“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.”Josephine Anan-Ankomah
Moreover, Ibrahim Youssry, Regional General Manager, Middle East and Africa – Multi market region at Microsoft also stated that Microsoft is committed in investing in digital talents to champion local innovations.
“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.”Mr. Ibrahim Youssry
Meanwhile, Mr Youssry observed that start-ups 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.
Besides, this latest partnership adds to the growing list of projects being undertaken by the Ecobank Group to help Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to overcome the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ecobank Group has considerably ramped up investments in programmes targeting SMEs by expanding SME-focused lines of credit, providing technical assistance to SME development institutions and building SMEs’ capacity via linkage programmes in partnership with its strategic partners.
It is no coincidence that Ecobank beat a host of other banks in the African Banker Awards 2021 to take home the SME Award in a 2020 tumultuous year characterised by the Covid-19 pandemic which continues to ravage many African economies, with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) taking the greatest hit.