Bill Blackie is Chief Executive of Standard Bank’s Business & Commercial Clients division
The configuration of Standard Bank’s recently established Business & Commercial Clients (BCC) division heralds the formation of a practice dedicated to leveraging the power of small, medium, and larger businesses to sustain and expand inclusive domestic business growth across Africa.
Successful emerging market growth stories are characterised by the proliferation and expansion of small and medium businesses.
And even in developed economies, the SMME sector defines and sustains the kind of economic expansion and broad-based employment on which long term prosperity and stability is built.
The creation of a dedicated, purpose-led business and commercial client practice seeks to refine and focus Standard Bank’s highly developed African business building abilities – at a time at which local business formation across the continent is leading and sustaining the next phase of African growth.
Physically on the ground with experienced and capable workforces recruited and grown in-country, Standard Bank’s BCC division supports full-service business banking operations in 15 African economies.
This developed banking platform is directly supporting the emergence of domestic and regional businesses across the continent.
Growing small businesses into family enterprises or larger importer/exporter or wholesale distributor propositions, or eventually even into regional private and listed corporates will drive sustained inclusive, privately-owned economic growth in Africa.
Despite the very real challenges that the continent continues to face, the learning of the recent past for Standard Bank is one of profound resilience and huge progress in Africa.
And the role of technology cannot be overemphasised.
For small and less well-capitalised businesses in particular, the sustained decrease in the cost of banking afforded by technology is a game changer.
Standard Bank’s BCC division is committed to expanding the suite of both simple and complex technologies, leveraging our considerable business experience in tandem with our established capital and knowledge capabilities to nurture and grow African business.