At 2024 Economic Forum: Access Bank reiterates commitment to invest more in Sierra Leone

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By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Access Bank (SL) Ltd has reiterated its commimment to invest in various sectors in Sierra Leone and also help boost the country’s economy.

The commitment was made when the Bank’s 2024 Economic Forum was held on Wednesday,February 14, at the Lagoonda Hotel at Aberdeen in Freetown  and was graced by government officials and other prominent personalities from the private sector.    

Speaking at the event, Managing Director, Mr. Ganiyu Sanni, said  The Bank, which is subsidary of Access Bank PLC, a leading full-service commercial bank operating through a network of more than 740 branches, 2,800 ATMs and service outlets spanning 3 continents, 21 countries and over 65 million customers employs over 28,000 people in its operations in Africa and Europe, with representative offices in China, Lebanon, India, and the UAE. He  added that they are listed in several countries, including the United Kingdom.

 He said as it is now, about 85% of  the population of 50 African countries are Access Bank customers. Stating that aside from the traditional banking, its parent company – Access Holdings PLC   also offers  lending, payment, insurance brokerage and pension fund management services.

He said in terms of their financial perfomermance, in 2023, the Access Bank PLC gross earning was over $1.5 billion United States Dollars with a total asset of about $30 billion United States Dollars, achieving $330 million United States Dollars in PBT.

He said the goal of the Access Bank’ Economic Forum was to discuss the government policies, sensitize the public and to also see how they as a bank can work together to promote financial services in the country.

Mr. Sanni continued that the banking Group have impacted over 2.2 million lives in terms of social support across all the countries they operate. In Sierra Leone, due to their key achievements they have over the years been certified with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Certification and were the first bank in Sierra Leone to achieve such certification.

He said they currently have six branches across Sierra Leone and would also open a new branch in Kenema this year. 

Minister of Trade and Industry, Rev. Abraham James Sesay, said as a ministry,  such forum was what they were looking for, stating that there was no way a governament can survive  if there is no public and private dialogue.

He noted that  he was also happy that the topic of discusion was largely anchored on the future of the country for the next five to six years-to improve economic activities in the country.

He said government had developed the Mid Term National Development Plan which is anchord  around the five game changer, and that trade  activities is considered one of the enablers to achieving the Plan.

He said one of the ways the country can prosper is to develop agricultural capacity and productivity, which is why he said government has initiated the ‘Feed Salone’ program.

He disclosed that, very soon the government would organise an international roundtable to see how they can generate funds, and that they would like  everybody including the public and private sector to paticipate.

Chief Executive Officer of The Betts Firm, Alfred Akibo-Betts, said the forum was about how the bank can contribute to promote the private sector in Sierra Leone.

He said since the 2020, the country had experienced economic challenges from factors including COVID-19, the Russia and Ukraine war and the massive depreciation of the Leones.

He said the growth of the country’s economy is largely dependent on policy implementation and that manufacturing is also very key to revamping the country’s economy.

Access Bank firmly believes that genuine prosperity is cultivated through inclusive growth and economic development. As such, the Bank is dedicated to nurturing the success of Corporates, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Women and Youths, recognizing their pivotal role as the backbone of a thriving economy.

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