How we’re going to grow Africa

Prosper | Written by Absa Staff Writer

01 July 2016

Change is the only constant. We’ve seen it in our organisation, and we’ve seen it in Africa. Change can either push us back or move us forward, and we’re going for the latter – with you. We want to share knowledge that allows you to progress, so that we can grow together.

We are on a mission to create more opportunities for us to grow together. When we share what we’ve learnt and what we have, we all win. We’ve called this philosophy Shared Growth and this is our plan going forward. Whenever you see this symbol, know we’re looking out for opportunities for you as our clients and the communities in which you live and work, to thrive, because we know that when society prospers we all do.

Our focus for Shared Growth is in those areas which will aid in solving some of the most pressing societal issues the continent is facing.

Our Shared Growth philosophy has 3 core pillars:

Our first pillar focusses on our commitment to providing skills development, as well as supporting access to quality education to enhance young people’s prospects of finding employment or creating self-employment. Africa has the largest youth population, with 20% of the continent’s population falling in the 15-24 age bracket. This means Africa’s future is looking bright – if we all play our part in it.

Based on current trends, our youth is becoming better educated, but economic opportunities are limited. This is where we’re stepping in. We’re committed to educating our youth on how they can capitalise on existing opportunities and how to create new ones with our ReadyToWork initiative – a digital and face-to-face blended learning curriculum that helps young people develop their work, people, money and entrepreneurial skills.

The next pillar we’re focusing on is financial inclusion. 326 million adults in Africa remain unbanked, and from a global perspective, Africa has the highest financial exclusion rate in the world. To move forward in this regard, we want to work with you. We want to promote wider access to financial services for individuals, through digital access, as well as real banking and value-added products and services. The emerging middle class (i.e. people who spend around R30-R300 daily) has tripled over the last three decades – meaning this demographic is Africa’s biggest source for private sector growth. There’s definitive potential for growth here – if we share our ideas, capabilities and resources.

Enterprise development is another core pillar for us. Small and medium enterprises (or SMEs) currently account for 33% of the continent’s GDP. However, this is a tricky space to succeed in. Supporting SMEs can reduce poverty and inequality – and that’s where we’re stepping in. We want to provide SMEs with a range of innovative financial solutions, as well as business development support services through our network of entrepreneurial development centres. We also want to help large corporates to integrate small businesses into their supply chains in ways that create business opportunities and contribute to economic growth. This will, in turn, mean a stronger SME sector, which would ultimately benefit the entire continent.

The fact is that we’re in this together – because when you prosper we grow, and when we grow you prosper.

Disclaimer: The advice contained on this blog is for general purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances, objectives or financial needs. Accordingly, readers are advised to seek appropriate advice from licensed professionals prior to making any investment, or taking up a financial product or service.