Absa Group has implemented a purpose-led strategy with an enabling capability of playing a shaping role in society. Our ambition is to become a leading, purpose orientated, African bank that is systemically rooted in the countries that we serve and that recognises that our own sustainability is directly linked to the sustainability of the communities in which we operate.
This philosophy informs our business strategy and our approach to corporate citizenship. Each area of our business actively participates in, and contributes to the implementation and delivery of our strategy.
Our long-term aim is to generate substantial social impact through our core business functions. This will enable us to significantly impact some of the key challenges facing society.
We have identified 3 strategic areas where we believe we can make a real difference to address these challenges.
Education and skill
This pillar refers to upskilling, capacity building and providing educational financial assistance to the communities in which we conduct our business. While there is a strong focus on students, interventions are not limited to schools or youth but, more generally, seek to enhance the knowledge and capacity among constituencies such as the youth, entrepreneurs, government employees and governance bodies.
- The programme that was launched in 2017 sought to support undergraduate students from needy backgrounds. The programme would run for three year since its inception in a bid to support bright but needy students with a leaning towards orphans and single parent households students. The fund provides tuition, accommodation, meals, stationery and a laptop per student which makes up to Ksh. 150,000 per academic year.
- In addition, the programme is tied with a psychosocial programme that exposes students to study techniques, navigating university education, exposure to work opportunities and social life. Those who are in the scholarship programme get a chance to apply for the Absa ReadytoWork internship program.
- At the end of the 2017/18 academic, the programme has supported 470 students from 47 countries. Of these, there are 211 female students and 259 male students and PLWD representation at 26 students.
- This is a work readiness and soft skills programme that aims to equip the pan-African youth with skills as they transition from institutions of higher education to the job market. The soft skills curriculum is online and free and enables one read through the material and print own certificates.
- The programme is not only open for young job seekers but is also open to those who want to increase their knowledge. The curriculum can be found at readytowork.absa.africa
- The programme is divided into four modules: work skills, people skills, money skills and entrepreneurial skills. One needs to create their own account, build on their profile and start going through the modules.
- The programme, which was launched in Kenya in December 2015, sought to recruit 40,000 youth on its platform, has reached 150,000 young people to date.
- The programme aims at offering work exposure to those who have completed the ReadytoWork curriculum.
- The programme was launched in 2018 with the aim of placing 133 young people in Absa Branches and with SME clients. This is a bid to expose young people to the banking industry, get to see the difference ReadytoWork brings to young people and support Absa SME clients.
Absa Group’s ED interventions enable a strong and diverse small business sector by nurturing aspirant entrepreneurs and helping existing small businesses to grow. In doing so, we catalyse self-and-direct employment while driving sustained growth in our own business.
We do this by providing customer-centric banking solutions that enable and improve the productivity of small businesses, as well as access to funding and credit to support the establishment and growth of small business.
- Providing access to the skills and information needed to start a business and making existing businesses more competitive.
- Facilitating access to opportunities, networks and markets.
- Facilitate business development support.
Absa Group is committed to improving financial inclusion on the continent, yet recognises there is no single solution to tackle both supply and demand side issues that are needed. Absa Group aims to provide the necessary tools and services to enable better and sustainable financial inclusion.
Some work has already been done through traditional and non-traditional channels which provide access to the unbanked and underbanked segments, but there is a need to continue exploring and developing solutions that are scalable in meeting the needs of the underserved.
- Assess the excluded segments so that we can meaningfully serve them through our core assets and expertise.
- Identify the channels and capabilities we are able to deploy.
Our Colleague Engagement Strategy aims to help embed Shared Growth among colleagues and drive participation therein. To do so, it seeks to enable colleagues to have a clear understanding of what Shared Growth means for them individually, for the business collectively, as well as how they are able to contribute towards its strategic objectives.
The key objectives of the Colleague Engagement Strategy are to:
- Enable knowledge-sharing, thereby fostering understanding of Shared Growth among colleagues.
- Redefine colleague participation as part of the broader Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
- Create a framework to enable and drive colleague participation, both at BU (collective) and individual levels.
By effectively engaging our colleagues and enabling their participation in the delivery of our Shared Growth objectives, we have an opportunity to contribute towards developing a culture of loyalty, talent attraction and retention, as well as build brand affinity, thereby deriving value for the business and society.
AGL business areas may decide to support causes that still deliver and support the strategic agenda but do not fall under the abovementioned focus areas. In such cases, the Corporate Donations Procedure needs to be used as a guide to manage these initiatives. Examples of this include instances where:
A business unit may agree to support their clients in events where proceeds are donated to a charitable organisation.
A business unit may decide to organise a “once-off” or ongoing donation to a charity of their choice.
Corporate Donation requests for the funding of charitable initiatives are NOT eligible for funding from the Citizenship central budget. These initiatives are funded from respective Bus and Functions budgets.
Our roles and responsibilities
- Citizenship Centre of Excellence: Provide support, guidance and technical expertise to business areas.
- Citizenship Leads in South Africa and Rest of Africa: Implement policy requirements/controls.
- Citizenship Governance: Ensure policy is adhered to.
- Citizenship Support: Facilitate in getting assistance with citizenship initiatives.