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African insights 27 August 2019

Sola David Borha on key drivers for empowerment

Sola David-Borha stated that there were three key drivers to women’s empowerment. These she identified as passion, embracing change and governance.

“The greatest barrier is the one in our minds that prevents us from learning, changing and moving beyond our comfort zone. Let’s remove the glass ceiling in our minds so we can move forward fearlessly.” - Standard Bank Chief Executive for Africa Regions, Sola David-Borha.

Speaking at the Standard Bank Top Women Conference on 14 August 2019, Sola reiterated that there were three key drivers to women’s empowerment. These she identified as passion, embracing change and governance.

Sola said that being passionate about what one does is vital. As a bank that is passionate about its purpose of driving Africa’s growth, Standard Bank understands the importance of women as key drivers of Africa’s development. This is what drives the bank to finance individual traders, SME traders, builds roads, and manage assets.

She underscored the importance of embracing change. Sola emphasised Standard Bank’s journey as an institution was about its ability to transform over the last 156 years, to remain relevant to its clients and customers. Following the 2008 financial crisis, the bank changed its strategy from positioning itself as an emerging market bank, to one of that is focused on Africa – where it now has a presence in 20 countries. Today, Standard Bank faces numerous challengers, ranging from fintechs and telcos to platform companies. The bank is focused on remaining close to its customers and clients to understand the problems they face, and to find digital solutions to address these. Embracing change is essential to the bank’s survival and longevity.

Governance was listed as the third driver and simply entailed doing the right business in the right way. While governance does sometime slow down processes, it also enables one to build a more sustainable business. Governance measures allow a business to be protected, to establish itself and to grow to scale in a sustainable manner. Investors are always looking for businesses that are governed properly.

In concluding, Sola said that passion, embracing change and governance are relevant to every woman – that empowerment is not an end in itself, but is also about empowering others.

When you empower women, you empower Africa.