THE Barclays Africa group announced that it will inject billions in education and skills development programmes this year, targeting the youth. The financial injection to access quality education and boost youth skills development, was revealed by Maria Ramos.Ramos is the chief executive officer of the Barclays Africa Group.She made this announcement on Monday, 4 July, during a media briefing in Johannesburg. She said the decision reaffirmed the group’s commitment to economic and socio-economic growth on the continent through its Shared Growth Strategy. Ramos said the group’s commitment was three-fold.Firstly, the group pledged R1,4 billion to improve skills development and give access to quality education, with the youth specifically in mind.Secondly, the group aims to raise R1,3 billion to help small and medium-sized African businesses to succeed and grow.Thirdly, to ensure that more people have access to digital and non-digital financial services across the continent.“Shared Growth for us means having a positive impact on society and delivering shareholder value.“The two are not mutually exclusive. “We are applying our substantial resources to provide innovative commercial products, services and partnerships to build a more equitable and prosperous Africa for the next generation,” Ramos said.Ramos further said Shared Growth was based on creating shared values.She also emphasised the connections between societal and economic progress. “They are mutually dependent, and when unleashed can stimulate substantial growth. “Companies can, and indeed should, develop deep links between their business strategies and their approach towards citizenship.“We recognise that there is a link between society’s progress and our own success.“We therefore continually seek opportunities to be a good corporate citizen.“We want to contribute to the societies in which we operate in a meaningful way. “We believe a business can only be successful if it connects positively and creates value within the society in which it operates,” said Ramos.As part of the Shared Growth Strategy, the banking group also announced the appointment of a Shared Growth Advisory Council. “We realise that making a meaningful contribution to economies and society is about shared value and shared opinion. “We are proud to partner with industry leaders, civil society and government.“All of these will play a role in ensuring our contributions are meaningful and that our impact is sustainable,” added Ramos.