Access Bank, ScaleUp Africa Host Pan-African Women Confab

Olumide Olatunji

Access Bank Ghana has hosted leading women across Africa in a virtual pan-African women conference to highlight the importance of creating an enabling environment that helps women to thrive.

This forms part of activities marking the sixth anniversary of its flagship ‘W’ Initiative.

Riding on this year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Choose to Challenge”, the virtual conference had over 1,500 participants joining from various countries on the continent.

The conference was organised in partnership with ScaleUp Africa, a Pan-African enterprise development agency that is focused on innovative strategies to help women owned SMEs go global.

Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Elsie Addo Awadzi, in a speech, mentioned the advocacy to empower women has been long and seen tremendous progress with many women occupying leadership roles but there are challenges that need to be surmounted to ensure more women achieve their full potential.

“It is the collective duty of all to ensure women progress in all sectors because the impact ensures growth… Data from International Finance Corporation (IFC) in a Goldman Sachs report, estimates that as many as 70% of women-owned SMEs in the formal sector in developing countries are unserved or underserved by financial institutions, a financing gap of around $285 billion and if this gap is closed the economic benefits are enormous.”

Managing Director of Access Bank Ghana, Olumide Olatunji brought to fore the impact women have on society when they are supported to thrive. He argued that, “A wholesome society requires that everyone is able to wield their power and contribute to build a sustainable economy that supports human enterprise…When women rise and grow, the society is better off for it, because the resilience and commitment given ensures there is enough to benefit all.”

CEO of ScaleUp Africa, Amma Gyampo, in her remarks indicated that her organisation was on a mission to nurture closer ties between African businesses for positive, long term economic legacy and as such the partnership with Access Bank to organise the conference will help women owned businesses to tap into opportunities available.

Other speakers at the conference included Yofi Grant, CEO of GIPC; Matilda Asante-Asiedu, Group Head of Retail Banking at Access Bank Ghana; Fatima Ali Mohamed, CEO of Africa Brand Warrior (Ghana); and Franklin Owusu-Karikari, Director of Support at NEIP, among others.