Stanbic Bank Zambia Chairman Austin Mwape says real economic growth cannot be achieved without the full participation of the financial sector.

Mr Mwape says it is for this reason the banking sector has a responsibility to foster sustainable growth in this economy aside from providing quality customer focused services.

Mr. Mwape said this during the 92nd Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show Presidential Luncheon in Lusaka today.

He said his bank has particularly leveraged its global presence to generate vast expertise in sectors most relevant to real growth and development in Zambia and Africa, as a whole.

Mr. Mwape revealed that Stanbic  bank has so far invested over K7 billion in the Zambia economy saying it is its business strategy focused on stimulating sectors of the economy which  he said has a significant impact on driving the country’s  Gross Domestic Product ( GDP ) forward in sectors such as mining, energy, infrastructure, Tourism, SME, agriculture and commerce, among others.

The sector specialists provides deep insight into the commercial, regulatory and operational realities in these strategically important, high-growth sectors, Mr Mwape stated.

“One of the Bank’s key focus areas is providing support and merchant solutions to SMEs and passionate about helping clients accomplish their goals,” he stressed.

Mr. Mwape added that his bank believes empowering entrepreneurs to maximize their potential.

“We have long observed and recognised the blossoming entrepreneurship spirit in Zambia and we believe this is an opportunity that needs to be unearthed. Stanbic Bank will continue to support the growth of this economy by leveraging and exploiting this natural potential and help make Zambia a regional trade hub”, he said.

He explained that trade is the beginning of business opportunity, reduction in unemployment and poverty which opens the country to a lot of possibilities.

Stanbic Bank is currently serving about 10,000 SMEs to which extended K1.4 billion in loans and advances has been extended.

“Our goal is to facilitate the growth of these smaller companies and to enable them graduate into larger corporations able to make a bigger impact on Zambia’s export trade and forex generation”, he said.

And being an equal opportunity bank, Stanbic believes women are an essential part of the country’s socioeconomic structure and deserve the same sustainable economic empowerment as every other citizen.

Mr. Mwape stated that his bank is committed to creating solutions that empower women and enable them to participate effectively in growing the economy at all levels.

He disclosed that in order to support women, the bank has introduced a sustainable proposition that would equip women with the tools they need to succeed in business.

“As a bank, we realised that Zambian women have the willpower to move yet they are struggling to lift off due to various challenges but with products such as Anakazi Banking, Stanbic Bank has given them a platform to fly”, he added.

With Anakazi banking, women not only have easy access to finance and networking opportunities, but also get to participate in intensive training programmes such as the Anakazi Business owners’ workshop which was recently held at the Stanbic Leadership Centre.

Mr. Mwape added that his bank remains committed to supporting Government’s economic diversification strategy aimed at bringing other sectors to the fore to ease the burden on mining.

He revealed that to date the bank has invested over US$200 million in the agricultural sector as a way of helping improve its contribution to GDP.

Stanbic Bank and the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investments Holdings (ZCCM-IH) are the major sponsors of the Agricultural and Commercial Show of Zambia.

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