Faced with endogenous and exogenous shocks such as the security crisis in the North-West and South-West regions, the health crisis linked to Covid-19 and the Russo-Ukrainian war, SMEs trained and financed within the framework of the entrepreneurship of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), have for some time have been struggling to stay afloat. Out of more than 600 SMEs supported and having opened their accounts within the bank, more than 100 spoke freely with the executives of the pan-African bank, as part of a Meet Up. Two sessions were organized on August 25 and September 1 in Yaoundé and Douala respectively. The concept of the UBA Meet Up is an interactive listening session that aims to identify the structural problems encountered by SMEs in the context of their different sectors of activity, the resilience tips they develop to stay in business.
The objective of the approach undertaken by the banking establishment is to help better structure SMEs, by providing the tools, resources and advice necessary to meet their needs. The focus on SMEs is motivated by the fact that these economic entities constitute the driving force of the economic development of Cameroon and Africa. The interest in these organizations supported since 2015 and operating for the most part in the informal sector is further materialized by the creation of an SME department currently coordinated by Mr. Joseph Tchinda.
The holding of interactive exchanges facilitated by mentors recruited by the Tony Elumelu Foundation enabled the identification of several difficulties facing SMEs, in particular: lack of knowledge of certain banking the banking sector, products and its functioning, difficulty in accessing raw materials, structuring problems, incomprehension regarding the applicable taxation regulations, etc. At the same time, proposals were made in terms of expectations from the bank: close collaboration, improvement of customer service, flexibility of banking conditions, continued digitalization of methods of payment, the designation a dedicated team with whom they can easily access information, the reduction of paperwork when providing the services (digitalization), the streamlining of access to information, etc.
The initiative described as innovative by the Managing Director of UBA Cameroon, Jude Anele, allows the bank to better understand the realities of SMEs, to improve on quality of its services, to maintain good contact with these young businesses and support their growth.
Source: Cameroon News Agency