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Ghana: Barclays pledges $93 million for African youth development

By Dasmani Laary in Accra
Posted on Tuesday, 12 July 2016 12:51

The bank also promised to raise $89 million to help small and medium-sized African businesses grow, and to ensure that more people gain access to digital and non-digital financial services throughout the continent.

when the communities we live and work thrive, we do too

Officials say digital and non-digital access to underserved customers through real banking and value-added products and services formed part of the bank’s core dream to inspire financial inclusion.

Education participation rates in many African countries are low, while schools often lack many basic facilities, and African universities suffer from overcrowding and staff being lured away to Western countries by higher pay and better conditions.

Improvement of human capital, education experts say, by helping address skills gap, is critical for the attainment of African countries’ goal to become industrialised economies, create income opportunities and cut down poverty level.

But, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) reports that as of 2005, 40 per cent of school-aged children in Africa did not attend primary school and there were still 46 million school-aged children who had never stepped into a classroom.

Maria Ramos, Barclays Africa Group chief executive, was quoted in a statement on Monday saying “shared growth for us means having a positive impact on society and delivering shareholder value – the two are not mutually exclusive”.

“We are applying our substantial resources to provide innovative commercial products, services and partnerships to build a more equitable and prosperous Africa for the next generation,” she said.

“When our customers and clients do well, so do we, when the communities we live and work thrive, we do too. And when society prospers, we all do.

“But only if we work together – private public partnerships are the key to tackling some of society’s biggest challenges – to deliver on growth opportunities.

“We believe a business can only be successful if it connects positively and creates value with the society in which it operates in.”

Shared growth is based on creating shared value and emphasises connections between societal and economic progress, showing the two are mutually dependent, and when unleashed could stimulate substantial growth.

Analysts say companies can develop deep links between their business strategies and citizenship.

“We recognise that there is a virtuous link between society’s progress and our own success, and, we therefore, continually seek opportunities to be a good corporate citizen, and contribute to the societies in which we operate in a meaningful way,” Patience Akylanu, Barclays Bank Ghana managing director, said.

She said as part of the shared growth strategy, Barclays Africa last week announced the appointment of a shared growth advisory council.

“We realise that making a meaningful contribution to economies and society is about shared value and shared opinion,” Akylanu said.

“We are proud to partner with industry leaders, civil society and government, who will play a role in ensuring our contributions are meaningful and that our impact is sustainable.

“The success of our business is more than just the profits we make, it is the sum of the impact of our operations on society and how we are empowering businesses, communities and people to grow and prosper.”

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