LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Stanbic Bank Zambia has donated K200,000 to support the successful hosting of the Copperbelt Investment Expo (CIEX) scheduled for June this year.
The cheque was presented to Copperbelt Province Minister Hon. Japhen Mwakalombe in Kitwe during the first ever Anakazi Banking Business owner’s training workshop in the Copperbelt.
When receiving the donation, Hon. Mwakalombe said government wanted to draw attention to the province’s business opportunities and the contribution it could make to the country’s development drive outlined in the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP).
He said: “The Copperbelt has since time immemorial been considered as merely a mining province with little attention paid to its vast untapped potential in alternate sectors of the economy. This is what the Copperbelt Expo - to be held under the theme: ‘Broadening the Copperbelt Economy through Diversified Investment’ - seeks to change.”
Through the Expo, the Copperbelt will be opening its investment portfolio in small-scale mining and other less traditional industries like tourism, agriculture and forestry to both local and foreign investors.
“This is just one of the ways in which we hoping to broaden the province’s economy and increase our contribution to National GDP,” said the minster.
He added: “Although Government has in recent years made remarkable strides in promoting investment in key growth sectors such as tourism, forestry and agriculture, a lot more still needs to be done to unleash the country’s full economic potential. It is for this reason that government decided to make these sectors, including mining of course, key focus areas of Zambia’s development agenda in the 7NDP.”
The Copperbelt Minister noted that the CIEX is not only meant for large corporations, adding there would be numerous investment opportunities for SMEs.
“We want to afford local businesspeople the opportunity to participate in transforming the Copperbelt from a mining centre to the number one destination for multi-sectoral investment in Zambia.
“It is for this reason that I am pleased to note one of the Expo’s corporate sponsors, Stanbic Bank Zambia, has decided to host a Business Owners’ Training workshop on the Copperbelt under its Anakazi Banking Initiative.
“The training programme couldn’t have come a better time in that with the skills and knowledge our businesswomen would have acquired during the training, they will be able to better identify and make strong investment decisions from the opportunities that will be showcased at the Expo.”
Such training programmes are important because they empower our people with the skills they need to effectively compete with foreign investors increasing the size of the economy owned by indigenous Zambians, he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Stanbic Chief Executive Leina Gabaraane said: “As a bank that has called Zambia home for over 60 years, we believe that our responsibility goes beyond providing quality services to our clients. We must ensure that every citizen is given an opportunity to contribute to national development by assisting relevant stakeholders to close the existing entrepreneurship gaps.”
One of the Bank’s key focus areas is providing support and merchant solutions to SMEs. Over the years, it has taken steps to align itself with key players and sectors of the economy that drive growth and SMEs including micro enterprises are just some of these players he explained, adding: “On top of this, we realised there was an unpolished diamond in women enterprise which needed to be brought to light for the benefit of the overall economy. This is why we created the Anakazi Banking initiative to support the growth of female led SMEs in Zambia by providing them with tools they need to succeed in business, including easier access to convenient banking, finance as well as business knowledge.”
Mr Gabaraane explained that “At Stanbic, we realise that we cannot hope to achieve a sustainable future for our country if we neglect diversifying the economy. By increasing Zambians’ capacity to participate in economic diversification, we ensure a sustainable future for our country. Thus, every well-meaning citizen must support this cause for a better Zambia.”