Ecobank Group Teams With Google To Help African SMBs

The Pan-African Ecobank Group aims to help African small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to adapt to the new, always-shifting digital landscape, according to CNBC, and they’re working with Google on ways to do that.

Ecobank utilizes an eBanking product suite, which, according to a press release, will now integrate with Google functions like Google My Business and Google Ad products.

The suite provides “24/7 access” for customers and will assist with cash management, payment and collection needs that small businesses face, per the announcement.

The digital packages will be available across the sub-Saharan Africa region this month.

Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Ecobank’s executive for commercial banking, praised the partnership with Google and said the changes were “specifically tailored” to the bank’s customers.

“Our objective is to be the partner of choice for SMEs by meaningfully supporting their success and growth,” she said. “It is therefore a natural step for us to work with Google to help improve the capabilities of our SME customers. We are focused on helping them thrive by adopting technology, which is becoming increasingly essential for [the] survival of businesses today.”

According to the release, the technology is especially relevant during the coronavirus pandemic due to the increasing need for digital services. With people staying home more and having to do work remotely, the world has been seeing numerous quick shifts to digital models, in some cases when the companies weren’t prepared to make those transitions.

Ecobank services 33 African countries and has around 20 million customers overall.

Last year, Ecobank worked on speeding up payment systems with a program where merchants could offer unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) and QR code-based mobile retail payment acceptance, which worked to make payments instantaneous. The program resulted in 1 billion NGN ($2.75 million USD) being processed since its start in February 2019, the company said.