Nine months after Barclays launched a plan to build capacity for SMEs, the bank upbeat about the scheme - Enterprise Supply Chain Development (ESD). “The unit is making steady progress and has successfully recruited four companies to the programme me that seek to grow SME’s by providing financing,” said Reinette van der Merwe, Barclays Managing Director.
She said the bank has also started construction of an ESD centre already nearing completion, where challenges faced by Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will be addressed. Van der Merwe believes SME sector is an important driver of economic growth and employment creation. Through the programme, Barclays accords an opportunity to companies to recommend some of the SMEs that deserve financial assistance in the form of loans and also get mentoring and training on record keeping.
This week Barclays hosted 20 young female farmers to share skills, knowledge and deepen relationships with the agricultural community. “We believe that effective capacity building programmes and a vibrant extensive service are important interventions that can turnaround the agriculture sector and output and also contribute to both food security and GDP,” said van der Merwe.
The MD said agriculture is an important and essential sector, hence the bank’s support of various strategic initiatives across the sector including knowledge and skills transfer, exchange and training. Her sentiments were shared by Andre Potgieter, Barclays Head of Business Banking highlighting that more than half of Africa’s population is made up of young people. “As such, it’s very important for us to be working with young farmers, who are vital to securing Botswana’s food security,” said Potgieter.
Potgieter said agribusiness continues to be a very important sector. “We are keen to support young farmers as well as other strategic initiatives,” said Potgieter. Barclays MD has recently announced that the bank is motivated by delivering mutual benefit to shareholders, customers and communities.“Bringing possibilities to life for us means helping individuals’ customers, our colleagues, small business, corporate, economies and society at large to grow,” said van der Merwe.