Absa Group, one of Africa’s leading diversified financial service group, was recently awarded the Euromoney 2020 Excellence in Leadership in Africa Award as a result of their integrated Covid-19 response for their employees, clients and communities. 

Absa took home the award, which recognizes excellence in leadership on the Africa continent. The award looks at what corporates in the banking industry have done for their employees, clients, communities, industry and economies in Africa. Absa is one of 6 banks globally that have been recognized for outstanding performance during an unprecedented era of constant change and uncertainty as a result of the global health crisis.

“We are very happy to receive this award, as it demonstrates our commitment to Africa, which is our home and our source of strength as a business”, said Charles Russon, CE for Absa Corporate and Investment Banking. 

Absa was undoubtedly a strong contender for this award having implemented very extensive initiatives and programmes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic across all their 12 African markets. Absa takes pride in its commitment to facilitate economic growth, looking after the wellbeing of employees, enabling the success and resilience of their clients while looking after the communities they serve. 

When building a strategic response to the pandemic, Absa decided that the safety and wellbeing of its employees was the core priority, because they understood that its people drives a successful business. The award also recognizes the efforts that Absa has made to ensure that their employees had all the necessary tools required to work remotely, observing and implementing heightened health and safety protocols for onsite employees, as well as investing in providing valuable counselling and mindfulness programmes to ensure employees’ physical and psychological health. In addition, they also provided employees with payment moratoriums to ease their financial hardships during a time of economic strain.

Russon also stated that from a client perspective, they have investigated various ways to create the most value for their clients by identifying and offering cash and trade management advice and solutions while staying close to their clients’ businesses to understand their specific requirements during this pandemic. Absa Group offered a payment relief programme, which as of 29 July, benefited over 700,000 retail account holders in South Africa. Absa approved many Trade and Working Capital transactions and established a special task team, which oversaw the deployment of financing to ensure the continued operation of essential services in our respective markets. Further, Absa provided 65 000 customers in Absa Regional Operations (ARO) markets with payment relief as well.

From a societal perspective, Absa has to date, contributed R10 million to the COVID-19 Solidarity Fund, a fund established by the Government of South Africa to respond to and combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In total R55 million has been donated to government initiatives and other civil society efforts across Absa’s markets.

“Our success lies in the direct integration of financial operations and close-knit relationships with employees and clients, and this has made us a trusted advisor and natural banking partner for our clients. We congratulate all the other winners in this category who also did their part in their regions to lead through excellence during this time”, Russon concluded. 

Absa Bank Tanzania Managing Director, Abdi Mohamed commented, “In Absa Tanzania, we have taken a number of actions to ensure our staff and customers remain safe in line with Ministry of Health guidelines. As part of our social responsibility agenda, we have donated PPE materials (Mask, Sanitizers and Gloves) which was received by the Minister for Health on behalf of the government of Tanzania”

Abdi also added, “Absa Tanzania recognizes the impact of Covid19 on some of our customer’s businesses, we have instituted a debt relief programme, in line with the guidelines of the BoT. This is done to alleviate the impact and after thorough discussion and agreement with the clients. It is also done strictly in accordance with the existing regulatory guidelines. Under this debt relief programme we have restructured to the tune of 125Bilions TZS to support our customers during this time”.

The relief programme implemented by Absa Group demonstrates their ability to adapt business operations to changing circumstances, providing solutions to clients, while supporting and enabling key stakeholders, particularly employees