Procredit, AFD to Assist small, medium firms (pg 55)

Procredit Savings and Loans Limited has received a 900,000-euro grant from the French development agency, Agence Francaise de Developpment (AFD), to facilitate increased access to financial resources by small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs).
The project is expected to cater for small enterprises and entrepreneurs who do not receive adequate attention from traditional commercial banks.
Under the project, the AFD grant will span a three-year period within the framework of the Trade Capacity Building Programme. Procredit will then develop the lending mechanisms for the recipients.
The bank will receive technical assistance to bring on board best practices regarding SMEs through the training of staff and middle-level managers, over 100 officers, including SMEs and agro loan officers, as well as specialised client relationship managers.
The training is expected to cover key areas of banking and business development, including social and environmental approach and communication methodology.
The French Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Francis Hurtut, said filling the gap created by the non-availability of loans for the target recipients of the project would create an enabling environment for the growth of the private sector, which is largely dominated by SMEs, and also contribute to both poverty reduction and social cohesion in the country.
He indicated that facilitating access to loans by SMEs would represent a major contribution to the development of a key sector of Ghana's economy.
The Managing Director of Procredit, Ms Edwige Takassi, noted that the grant would double the bank's lending portfolio and help offer services to the under-serviced sectors of the market in which the bank operated.
The AFD support, she added, would focus on the transfer of technical knowledge and best practices by making use of the extensive network of experts within the Procredit group.
The Resident Manager of the AFD, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said the initiative would go a long way towards addressing the challenges SMEs and entrepreneurs faced in seeking financial assistance to expand their businesses or even start one.

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