Fidelity Bank, Ghana’s largest privately-owned indigenous bank, in conjunction with the eco.business Development Facility (the eco.business DF), Development Bank Ghana (DBG) and the Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE), has unveiled an ambitious and far-reaching export value proposition targeted at Ghanaian export-oriented businesses.
The partnership seeks to boost export trade for Ghanaian enterprises within the agricultural and non-traditional export sector.
The plan hinges majorly on the formation of the Fidelity Export Club, an initiative supported by all the export value partners, which seeks to provide a common front for Ghanaian exporters and provide them with critical support in areas such as market access and expansion, capacity-building, access to finance, regulatory compliance, technical assistance as well as the adoption of sustainable business practices.
Club members will also benefit from quick and stress-free application processes, flexible repayment terms and conditions, competitive interest rate charges, transaction-based lending and competitive charges.
Following the official launch of the Fidelity Export Club on Monday, August 21, 2023 after a brief Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony at the head office of Fidelity Bank, the partners immediately launched a nation-wide series of one-day seminars to sensitize Ghanaian exporters about critical sustainability practices in their line of business.
The series of seminars, themed ‘Empowering Business to Drive Sustainable Growth through Compliance to Regulatory and Environmental Principles – The Agric and Perspective’, were held in Accra, Takoradi and Sunyani on August 22, August 25 and August 29 respectively. The presentations, deliberations and workshop sessions focused on enhancing regulatory compliance as well as promoting sustainability and ESG practices in the agricultural and export industries.
More than 400 stakeholders from across the country’s export value chain participated in the seminar series. They included primary producers and processors, exporters and aggregators as well as agricultural stakeholders such as experts from the Plant Protection and Regulatory Directorate (PPRD), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), GIRSAL, Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Office of the Registrar of Companies and the Ghana National Fire Service.
Through a combination of presentations, interactive panel discussions and knowledge-sharing sessions, participants at the workshop addressed how they could maximise their export products to meet the international market demand in a sustainable manner.
They also explored ways to improve overall sustainability of the entire Agric and export value chain through improved access to finance and markets, as well as capacity-building on inculcating sustainability principles in their operations, and the acquisition of critical certifications – such as Global G.A.P. or Fairtrade International.
Speaking on the sidelines of the seminar, Julian Opuni – Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, reiterated that Fidelity Bank is ever-willing to provide financial support and advisory services to local businesses and entrepreneurs within the various value chains in the Agric and export sector across the country.
He added: “Here at Fidelity, sustainability principles as well as environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices form a core, non-negotiable facet of all our business operations. ESG considerations have been embedded as a primary requirement in our credit facility approval modalities. In line with this, we are keen on liaising with our export value partners to champion the integration of ESG principles in our customers’ businesses”.
Lisa Stahl, Chairperson of the eco.business Development Facility for sub-Saharan Africa, added: “We welcome the launch of the Fidelity Export Club and believe it can significantly contribute to the sustainability of Ghanaian agricultural export sector and overall economic development. We were particularly thrilled to have facilitated training for over 300 farmers and value chain actors, enabling them to champion sustainable practices that safeguard Ghana’s biodiversity, ensure responsible resource utilisation, and tackle climate change impacts”.
On his part, the Deputy CEO of Development Bank Ghana, Mr. Michael Mensah-Baah, emphasised DBG’s role in supporting the growth of the private sector. He said: “At DBG, our mandate is to support the growth of the private sector; we do this primarily by providing long-term funding.
“We, however, recognise that funding alone is not enough to guarantee the desired growth for our clients in the private sector. That is why we engage in progressive partnerships, such as this, to provide a comprehensive package of funding, capacity-building and technical expertise to drive the required growth of private businesses; in this case, within the agro and non-traditional export sector.”
He noted that as part of its efforts to promote environmental, social and governance practices, DBG is playing a critical role in driving climate mitigation and adaptation by providing both technical assistance and funding. He added that DBG was the first Ghanaian financial institution to become a member of the United Nations Global Compact, a body that promotes sustainability principles.
President of FAGE, Mr. Davies Narh Korboe, lauded the initiative and expressed excitement about the launch of the export club and the roll-out of the seminars and other related activities. He remarked: “This partnership has come at the right time as it is really critical for the non-traditional export sector. I’m particularly happy to see that the focus of this initiative is very comprehensive and covers not just the export, but also other key considerations on the part of the exporters such as production, regulatory compliance, advocacy and sustainability practices”.
With the inception of the Fidelity Export Club, Fidelity Bank and its partners seek to implement practical measures to harness the immense potential of the export sector in Ghana.
In a little over a decade, Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited has grown from a discount house to a Tier-1 Bank and is now Ghana’s largest privately-owned bank. The bank currently serves its approximately 2 million customers in 75 branches across Ghana and is a leader in the digital banking space.
The bank has two subsidiaries, Fidelity Asia Bank Limited – which is a wholly owned subsidiary in Malaysia and Fidelity Securities Limited – an asset management firm. In a short period of time, Fidelity Bank has become a household name in Ghana by adopting a customer-centric culture and delivering consistently on the promise of making a difference in the lives of all stakeholders.
About the eco.business Fund
The eco.business Fund aims to promote business and consumption practices that contribute to biodiversity conservation, to the sustainable use of natural resources, and to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts in Latin America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa. By providing financing for business practices that conserve nature and foster biodiversity, the fund seeks investments with both environmental and financial returns.
The eco.business Fund provides financing through three avenues: local financial institutions that are committed to the fund’s mission and which have the capacity to reach its target group; directly to its target group (i.e. companies and producers); and in the case of sub-Saharan Africa, to real sector intermediaries. The fund supports sustainable operations in the sectors of agriculture, fishery (including aquaculture), forestry and tourism. Target beneficiaries are those that hold an eligible sustainability certification or those taking out a loan to make eligible sustainable investments in their operations.
Operating together with each of the two sub-funds are two development facilities that provide high-impact technical assistance to investment partners and final borrowers.
An impact investment fund advised by Finance in Motion, the eco.business Fund was initiated by Germany’s KfW Development Bank and Conservation International with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The sub-fund for sub-Saharan Africa was formally launched in 2020 with initial funding from BMZ.
The sub-fund for Latin America and the Caribbean has received funding from the European Commission as well as from numerous other prestigious development finance institutions and institutional investors.