Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

26 April 2012

Tanzania: Bank of Africa to Support SMEs

BANK of Africa Tanzania has reaffirmed its commitment to develop the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as a way of attaining fast socio economic development in the country.

This was said by the bank's Managing Director, Mr Ammish Owusu-Amoah during a breakfast meeting prepared by the bank for its SMEs clients in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.

Talking to journalists, Mr Owusu-Amoah said: "We are committed to developing the country's SMEs sector." The MD said that the bank believed that it is SMEs that ultimately leads to big businesses in any country and therefore the meeting sought to hear and get first hand information from them in regard to challenges and concerns all geared toward improving the bank's services.

"This meeting marks the beginning of many similar ones in the future," Mr Owusu-Amoah noted. He stressed that his bank's focus was to develop various products that will meet SMEs market because the financial institution believes that the development of Africa and Tanzania for that matter depends on the SMEs.

To achieve this, the bank has already forged partnerships with international development finance institutions like the International Finance Corporation (IFC) who have seen the bank's commitment toward SME market and provided funds toward developing the sector in the country.

According to him, as part of strategies to serve more SMEs in the country, the bank plans to open five more branches before mid next year. Since it started operations in the country in 2007, the bank has managed to open ten branches in Dar es Salaam and six branches outside Dar es Salaam in Morogoro, Tunduma, Mwanza, Moshi, Mbeya and Arusha.

On his part, Mr Abdekabir Benani who is a board member of the Bank of Africa Group responsible for the bank's English speaking countries, said it was the commitment of the bank to work with all sectors.

"We want to identify your needs and work on them," he told participants at the meeting, adding that the SMEs sector should get help since it plays a big part in nation-building endeavours.

One participant, Mr Alex Mosha from Yellow Pages Co. Ltd, hailed the bank's decision to meet and talk with clients. "I am very relieved to have this opportunity to express my concerns and challenges to the bank's top officials," he said, while encouraging more such meetings in the future.

Bank of Africa Tanzania is a part of a Pan African bank called Bank of Africa Group. The Group operates in 15 countries, of which 7 are in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger and Senegal); 6 in East Africa (Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania and Uganda).

It is also present in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in France. In addition to its 14 commercial banks, the Group also includes a finance company, a housing bank, a leasing company, one brokerage and two investment firms, as well as a management company and a representative office in Paris.

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