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SME’s need partners, not just banks

Prof. Chris Ogbechie

Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA | Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are the engines of many economies including Uganda and therefore need bank’s help to thrive and grow, according to Prof. Chris Ogbechie, a strategic management don at Lagos Business School and former Chairman of the Nigerian-based Diamond Bank Plc.

Prof Ogbechie, who was speaking at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel during the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) on Oct. 17, said the bank’s partnership with SMEs will enable them make more money in the long run.

“Small businesses are the ones that drive economies of most countries (including Uganda). It is not the big businesses, multinationals,” he said, “The number of jobs created is higher than those provided by big companies…if we have to grow our economies, then, it means that we need to support these small businesses.”

He said if banks can help SMEs with various services such as advisory services, linking them to markets and customers, among others, would make banks make more money as business becomes loyal to them.

This development comes at the time financial institutions are seen as entities seeking to make profits through loan extension to SMEs.

Centenary Bank Managing Director, Fabian Kasi, said the lender has been serving the lower end of the pyramid for the last 35 years to deliver sustainable economic, social and environmental development.

He revealed that the lender has more than 1, 300 agents countrywide, with 700 expected to be added to its network before the end of the year, to conveniently serve its 1.6million customers.

Founded in 2009, the Global Alliance comprises 36 financial institutions and four strategic partners operating in countries across Asia, Africa, Australia, Latin America, North America and Europe. Only Centenary Bank is a member in Uganda since 2012.

Collectively the network serve more than 24 million customers, hold up to US$110 billion of combined assets under management.

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