Patricia Sappor, President of CIB Ghana

The Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB) Ghana has partnered with the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Social Work and Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) to launch the Financial Capability and Asset Building (FCAB) Africa project.

This is further evidence of its commitment to eradicating financial marginalisation and exclusion.

The project, which seeks to broaden the financial capability of vulnerable populations through financial inclusion and professional training was virtually launched at the 22nd edition of the Biennial Conference of the International Consortium for Social Development

Speaking at the event, which brought together academics, professionals, and policymakers, President of CIB Ghana, Patricia Sappor suggested that the overarching goal of financial service delivery via banks and other institutions alike was to ensure financial inclusion, especially of the most vulnerable. Short of that, she argued, financial institutions would have failed.

“The Chartered Institute of Bankers, Ghana, is very pleased to be the lead partner of the FCAB project on the continent and also in Ghana.

“This is because the objectives of FCAB Africa tie into the mandate of the Institute to promote not only the study of banking and regulate it but to ensure that all these impacts vulnerable households positively,” she said.

The initiative, she added, could not have come at a better time, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated prevailing financial inequalities, with the already vulnerable – women, children, and the elderly in rural areas – being the worst hit.

The International Monetary Fund, in its Regional Economic Outlook published in April 2021 acknowledges that economic recovery across the globe will not be evenhanded.

Touching on Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the report says, “Looking ahead, the region will grow by 3.4 per cent in 2021, up from 3.1 per cent projected in October, and supported by improved exports and commodity prices, along with a recovery in both private consumption and investment.

“However, per capita output is not expected to return to 2019 levels until after 2022—in many countries, per capita incomes will not return to pre-crisis levels before 2025.”

In view of this, Vice President, Dr Mahamoud Bawumia, who was the special guest of honour at the launch gave assurance that government is working assiduously to ensure the nation reaches full recovery and is positioned to lead, economically on the continent.

Referencing the state’s handling of the pandemic – which was very recently commended by the IMF – Dr Bawumia stated that evidence abounds to measures that have been out in place to aid the recovery process.

“One thing is clear; the pandemic has revealed that the importance of digitalisation in reducing the cost of running brick and mortar businesses. Government will continue to support digital innovations with good governance and policies around data privacy, data sharing, and cybersecurity,” he added.

Head of the Special Studies Unit at the Research Department of the Bank of Ghana, Phillip Abradu-Otoo, who also joined the launch virtually, echoed sentiments expressed by the Vice President and the President of CIB Ghana. He indicated the bank’s readiness to continue doing its part in providing an enabling economic environment and reducing financial marginalisation.

“The agenda being promoted by the FCAB is intricately linked to the mandate of most central banks. When a central bank delivers on its mandate, whether through conventional or unconventional means, the socio-economic conditions of the financially marginalised segments of the population will improve,” he explained.

Patricia Sappor, President of CIB Ghana