Banks Refine Offerings to Meet Growing Business Opportunities in Africa, by Stephen Gunnion

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Banks are refining their offerings to small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa, the fastest-growing segment of the business market on the continent.

Governments are also pushing for banks to increase access to finance for small businesses, which have been identified as a means to fight poverty and to add momentum to economic growth.

However, limited access to information and credit, poor infrastructure and outdated systems often make it difficult for banks to lend to small business ventures.

Prof Andreas Antoniou, deputy director of economic affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat, says that “the need to facilitate private investment in small and medium enterprises is a crucial, but often overlooked, element of the worldwide fight against poverty”.

Emerging market bank Standard Chartered recently launched a new small-enterprises banking business model. It had previously financed small businesses without tailoring products specifically for them.
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Source: Business Day (Johannesburg)