SMEs are key to closing gender gap – BoG Deputy Governor

Deputy Governor of  Bank of Ghana, Elsie Addo Awadzi,  has observed women play key roles in Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana and there is therefore  the need for more support to help them create opportunities for other women.

This, she said, will go a long way to bridge the gender gap in the business world.

She was sharing her expert opinion on a discussion co-hosted by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) in Kuala Lumpur, on financial inclusion and the pillars of sustainable SME finance in Ghana.

According to her, SMEs are ‘drivers of growth’ and have a unique role to play in promoting equal opportunities for women in the formal employment through workplace policies that support women.

She said supporting women is both ethical and economical since there is enough evidence to show that women make significant contributions to the growth and competitiveness of businesses, in their roles as shareholders, board members, and employees, there is the need to support them.

The deputy governor further stated that SMEs are generally the bedrocks of economic development for most developing economies and contribute significantly to GDP, job creation and improved livelihoods. She said statistics has shown that SMEs constitute about 92 percent of all registered businesses in Ghana.

Commenting on how best Ghana can sustain SME finance, Elsie Addo Awadzi, said the role of the regulatory policy is key to sustaining SME finance. She explained that “as regulators of banks and other financial institutions, we will need to think about how regulation could better promote access to a variety of financial products and services suitable for SMEs”

Using Malaysia as an example of a country that promotes SME finance through a holistic and pragmatic enabling framework with stringent supervisory standards, she said Ghana needs similar strong and resilient financial institutions to deliver SME finance on a sustainable basis.

By P.D Wedam||Ghana

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