The Ecobank Group has been adjudged as the ‘African Banker’s 2021 African SME Bank of the Year.’
A statement explained 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 scale enterprises (SMEs) taking the greatest hit.
Among other criteria, the African SME Bank of the Year award 2021 recognises the bank which has significantly contributed to the development of the SME sector, thus helping them to build the economic backbone of the continent.
Part of the entry criteria required that the winning bank has significantly catalysed funding into the private sector in Africa and promoted enterprise development by facilitating credit and access to finance for SMEs.
"Since the onset of Covid-19, 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," the statement added.
Ecobank Group Executive, Commercial Banking, Josephine Ankomah, was also quoted to have said: "2020 was a year of unprecedented challenges on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. It required resilience and innovation. We needed to rethink our business and provide innovative ways to assist our SME customers to help them to survive the difficulties brought about by the pandemic.
"We are truly honoured to receive this recognition. Our immense gratitude goes to our staff, customers and partners who have made this possible."