Job creation and enterprise growth drives economic development and alleviates poverty. Standard Bank Group works with our clients to understand their challenges and priorities, provide them with appropriate financial solutions to support their growth and expansion into new markets, and deliver digital solutions to meet their unique needs. We also provide targeted support to our SME clients, to help them develop their businesses, grow their skills, manage cash flow and access new business opportunities.
This is how we support our clients
Standard Bank works with Africa’s fintech entrepreneurs to deliver improved ease of access, convenience and affordability for our clients, while boosting process efficiency, mitigating risk and reducing costs for the bank. We partner with thirdparty service and product providers to ensure our clients have everything they need in one place, while ensuring the security of our clients’ data.
Standard Bank provides enterprise development support services to our clients across our countries of operation. These services include incubator hubs in Botswana, Ghana, Mozambique, Uganda and Zimbabwe, an entrepreneurship centre in Nigeria, and funding for SME and entrepreneur development programmes in Angola, Lesotho, eSwatini and Zambia.
Africa’s informal retail sector, which includes kiosks, spaza shops and open-air markets, transacts primarily in cash. Informal traders are often unbanked or under-banked, lack documented credit history, and have historically been considered an unviable credit risk. This is changing, however.
Standard Bank’s USD4 million (R61 million) investment in Nomanini enables us to offer credit to many small shop owners and other informal retailers across Africa. Nomanini connects informal merchants with distributors via an electronic wallet. Using Nomanini technology, Standard Bank collects and analyses data on the retailers. This enables us to build up a financial profile for every trader, understand their ordering patterns and assess their risk profile for lending. We’re also able to pre-empt their re-stocking needs and send them alerts offering to arrange and underwrite their next order, for example. This can be done via Nomanini or Standard Bank devices supplied to the traders, or by leveraging other existing networks or devices from third parties – whatever fits best in each market. We also offer products such as short-term savings and insurance.
Agriculture is a major productive sector in African economies and the main contributor to pro-poor growth and poverty reduction, especially in rural areas. The sector is largely subsistence-based. It faces major stresses and shocks caused by environmental degradation and climate change. It is also a major contributor to climate change. Standard Bank aims to work with our clients to increase the profitability and sustainability of Africa’s small-scale farmers, while improving Africa’s food security.
Challenges facing these farmers include lack of funding for the sector, which tends to be informal and fragmented; poor infrastructure; pricing; lack of information; and sale of fake inputs, including fake seeds and fertiliser. Large corporate buyers of agricultural product face uncertainty about the volumes of specific commodities that will be available at harvest, and the risks associated with the application of sub-optimal agricultural processes. Emerging technologies can play a crucial role in helping farmers to manage their costs, improve productivity, and access markets. We are working with our small-scale farming clients to help them make the most of such technologies.
We are working with UN Women on a programme to empower women by enhancing agricultural productivity and income, through climate smart agriculture – farming methods and commodities that are resilient to climate change. Standard Bank has pledged USD3 million over two years.
The programme is running in Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. It includes a focus on improved weather forecasting, early warning systems, and insurance to help farmers reduce risk.