"ETI Partners ACCION International"
The Daily Graphic

8/11/08


ECOBANK Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the pan-African bank, has partnered ACCION International, an international micro-financing institution to assist in providing services to micro-lending institutions in the country.

The $1.5 billion investment is known as EB-ACCION Savings and Loans Company limited, with equity participation from the two companies.

The company, which is started in Ghana, will be replicated using ETI’s Africa operations which currently has 25 operations in Africa to support micro-, small and medium-scale enterprises.

At the launch of the new company in Accra over the weekend, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, stated that the partnership was in line with the government’s vision of supporting the micro sector of businesses in the country.

“We need partnership to move forward this nation,” he said, while making references to the GT and Vodafone deal.

He said the economy had been growing at a steady pace and stated that there had been improvements in the financial services delivery.

Mr Baah-Wiredu called on beneficiaries of the loan facilities from the loan company to ensure early repayment to enable the fund support other people.

The minister called on the management of the company to ensure good corporate practices that would make the business more viable.

A Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development (PSD) and the President’s Special Initiative (PSI), Mrs Gifty Ohene-Konadu, stated that the partnership between the two companies would complement the government’s initiative to support micro and small industries in the country.

She said the government had signed a €20 million loan agreement with the Italian government to support the development of the private sector.

The Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ETI, Mr Arnold Ekpe, said the mission of the group was to offer world-class banking service that would make a difference, as well as contribute to the economic development of the region.

The President and Chief Executive Officer of ACCION International, Ms Maria Otero, said the event carried several messages to support micro and small businesses in the country.

She said ACCION operated in over 24 countries with 35 partners and had 3.3 million customers.

Ms Otero added that the company had so far granted $3 billion in loans to customers and had repayment rate of 96 per cent of all loans granted.

The CEO stated that partnership with ETI was to reach the low-income earners in the Ghanaian society, and stated that the company was honoured to partner ETI to provide financial services to the people.

The Managing Director of EB-ACCION, Mrs Frances Adu-Mante, stated that within the short period of existence, the company had 4,000 savings deposits and had granted about 1,000 applicants credit to turn around their businesses.

She said the partnership, primarily, was to identify an opportunity to support individuals and micro and small businesses in the country.

ACCION is an innovator in financial access, pioneering many of the best practices and emerging standards in the industry.

The company provides a full range of technical assistance and management services, as well as investment and governance support to help financial institutions build institutional capacity and financial strength in order to serve low-income households on a broad scale.

Over the past 35 years, ACCION has helped to build and strengthen some of the most successful micro-finance institutions (MFIs) in the world.
 
Story by Boahene Asamoah