18 December 2012

Africa: Stanchart to Speed Up Investment in Africa

STANDARD Chartered Bank Zambia Plc has pledged to accelerate investment into the continent to about US$100 million over the next financial year.

And Bank of Zambia BoZ has said the level of financial inclusion is expected to increase from the current 37.3 per cent to 50 per cent of the population of the land by 2015.

Stanchart board chairperson Michael Mundashi said the investment into the continent was meant to support the ambitious aspirations for the business.

Mr Mundashi said the bank's firm belief was in long term commitment as opposed to short term investment.

"As an indication of our confidence in Zambia and the countries in Africa, we are significantly accelerating into the continent US$100 million over the next financial year to support our ambitious aspirations for the business,"

"We are an integral part of the local economy, we support local and international businesses, we drive economic growth by engendering healthy competition and we bring the best that international banking has to offer and deliver to your doorsteps." Mr Mundashi said.

He said at the heart of commitment of the bank to Zambia, it will be the right partner by standing alongside the Government and the regulators in driving social economic development.

Mr Mundashi said the bank would continue to support the rapid sophistication of the financial sector and the wider economy saying the banks commitment was in part due to the resilience of domestic demand both within the country and more broadly in Africa.

Meanwhile, BoZ Governor Michael Gondwe said the level of financial inclusion was expected to increase to 50 per cent of population of the land by 2015 from the current level of 37.3 per cent.

Dr Gondwe said this when he officially opened the Stanchart levy junction branch in Lusaka yesterday.

He said the opening of the new branch would be a vehicle for financial inclusion which was one of cornerstones of the Financial Sector Development Plan (FSDP).

He noted that BoZ had incorporated financial inclusion as part of its current strategic plan in which it had undertaken to achieve financial inclusion to 50 per cent of the population of the land by 2015 from the current 37.3 per cent.

"Again, the rationale for this objective is that it responds to the need to bring into the financial system and thereby avail them the opportunities for financial access and growth," Dr Gondwe said.

He said BoZ attached great importance to initiatives that seeks to enhance the provision of financial services to the underserved sectors of the economy.

Dr Gondwe said in recognition of the importance of the financial sector to national development, BoZ had continued to implement the Financial Sector Development Plan to address various weaknesses in the Zambian financial system such as intermediation and limited access to finance among others.

"On behalf of the Government, BoZ is encouraged to see banks exploring new ways in which they can take banking services where they are needed most, we will continue to implement measures to reduce the cost of borrowing," he said.

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