Stanbic Bank Zambia has pledged unwavering support to drive Zambia’s growth by funding key economic sectors that are poised to make the Seventh National Development Plan a success.
Stanbic Chief Executive Charles Mudiwa made the pledge at the presidential luncheon in honour of South African President Jacob Zuma and his Zambian counterpart Edgar Chagwa Lungu during the 91st Agricultural and Commercial Show in Lusaka.
The lunch, which was sponsored by the bank, was also attended by government officials and business leaders from across the spectrum of Zambia’s economic sectors
Mudiwa said a major part of the Seventh National Development Plan recognised the importance of private sector contribution to the growth of the economy.
“As a bank, we have correctly positioned ourselves as a partner in key growth driving sector areas namely mining, agriculture and energy, as well as their supporting business activities. We are ready to provide a range of financial services and products which will be a large part of the success of the Seventh National Development Plan,” Mudiwa said.
Mudiwa said the bank had demonstrated this commitment by being a top financier of key sectors over the past few years. Stanbic has been a top lender of the mining, energy, infrastructure and agriculture sectors over the last few years.
“Our thinking is that the extent of bank integration into the economic system is such that when economic growth slumps, Stanbic correlates in a similar fashion and vice versa in years of economic boom,” he said. As Stanbic, we’ve been here in Zambia for over 60 years and over this period, we have been part of the growth of this country we call home,” he said.
Mudiwa said mining would remain an important economic sector for many years to come, although efforts at diversifying the economy away from over-dependence on mining would manage the risk of cyclic metal prices. He said agriculture remained the bank’s top priority sectors.
“Our purpose as a bank is to drive Zambia’s growth and we believe that we area achieving this by our investment in the agriculture sector as well. We remain committed to supporting the agriculture sector despite the challenges the sector faces, some of which have been brought about by climatic changes,” he said.
Mudiwa added: “Because Stanbic understands the agriculture potential of Zambia and is aligned to the governments diversification strategy away from concentration risk in mining, the bank is well positioned to capture this opportunity niche.”
Mudiwa said because of Stanbic’s support to the agricultural sector, production and entrepreneurial activity was on the rise in form of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that were trying to flourish their investments.
He also said that Stanbic was currently serving about 10,000 SMEs to which the bank had extended K1.4 billion in loans and advances.