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Vice President launches Ghana's newest bank
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General News of Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Source: GNA

Vice President launches Ghana's newest bank

Accra, Aug. 19, GNA - Vice President John Mahama on Wednesday called for added innovation and originality from Ghana's economic sector to rope in an estimated 70 per cent of the population, which neither keeps savings in banks nor possess monetary instrument in other financial institutions.

While acknowledging the phenomenal growth of the banking sector in recent times and its attendant impact on the economy, Vice President Mahama also expressed worry that more than half of Ghana's 22 million populace, did not have a bank account and therefore suggested more creative ways to attract them.

Vice President Mahama was speaking at the launch and inauguration of the head office building of Access Bank Ghana Limited, the latest addition of a Nigerian-owned banks in the country.

Reputed to be the 11th best bank in Africa with an asset base of 10 billion dollars as at March 2009 and total shareholder fund in excess of 1.6 billion dollars, Access Bank brings to the Ghanaian market an edge in international banking, which can be beneficial to the country's industrialisation growth.

Vice President Mahama commended the bank for its determination to play an active role in the oil and gas, telecommunications, construction, cocoa and manufacturing sectors, and also encouraged it to venture into the informal sector of the economy to create wealth for individuals.

He called on the banks to partner with the government in the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) since "it is on the shoulders of this sector that we can leverage the productive energies to accelerate the growth of the economy".

He admitted that the sector had faltered in recent times owing to a multiplicity of factors including the global recession and the imprudent management of the economy, which had led to a number of banks holding up significant stocks of bad debts from the SMEs. Vice President Mahama however encouraged the financial institutions not to waiver.

"I encourage you not to let up. Government is committed to an efficient management of the economy and to create conditions in which SMEs can thrive and grow," he added.

Vice President Mahama projected sub-regional integration as key to promoting growth in view of the limitless market space that would open up for economic ventures.

"Integration will not be achieved by. politicians sitting at summit meetings and ratifying protocols. Integration would be brought on by the sheer force of demand of our private sectors to take advantage of opportunities in each other's countries and a desire to do business with each other."

He said the entrance of Nigerian investors in the country had engendered competition and brought better services to the people. He, however, mooted a new paradigm that prefer mergers and partnership between Ghanaian and Nigerian companies, to employ the latest technological advances to help to improve upon cumbersome payment systems within the sub-region that tend to stagnate the effectiveness of businesses.

Mr Herbert Wigwe, Chairman of the Access Bank board, said his outfit was committed to breaking new grounds in the Ghanaian banking industry through innovative offerings, which were tailored to meet the needs of the economy.

He said the bank was resolved to be a catalyst for growth on the African continent by leveraging its relationship with international multilateral institutions such as the International Finance Corporation for the development of women-owned businesses under its gender empowerment programme.

The Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Musiluo Obanikurom, asked West African governments to initiate security policies that would help thwart the effort of miscreants that might attempt to destabilize the integration of sub-regional markets.

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