Friday, 30 July 2010


Thandiwe Banda
Mizinga Melu
First Lady Thandiwe Banda has said that financial assistance to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector was a solution to ensuring growth of business in Zambia
Mrs. Banda said Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) accounted for almost 90 percent of the total number of firms in Zambia and employ over 80 percent of the potential labour in the country.
She noted that SMEs were key players in all the major sectors of Zambia’s economy either as producers or suppliers.
The First Lady said Standard Chartered Bank was promoting growth of the SMEs through the mentorship of women entrepreneurs.
Mrs. Banda was speaking when she officially launched the Women Entrepreneurs Business workshop in Lusaka this week.
She disclosed that women entrepreneurs have for a long time been disadvantaged especially regarding accessing of finances from various financial institutions that demanded collateral.
She said it was imperative to note that efforts by various stakeholders including Government were being made to ensure uplifting of people’s living standards. 
Mrs. Banda urged other financial institutions to emulate Standard Chartered Bank in efforts aimed at alleviating the suffering of the disadvantaged women who intended to contribute to the country’s economic growth.
And speaking at the same occasion, Standard Chartered Bank Managing Director Mizinga Melu said the bank recognised the role that women played in Zambia’s development.
Mrs. Melu said the support that women entrepreneurs were receiving had translated into a need for more access to finance and banking services.
She disclosed that the bank had so far opened bank accounts for women entrepreneurs under this initiative.
And speaking earlier, Bank of Zambia Deputy Governor Tukiya Kankasa Mabula said Government was committed to reforming the country’s financial sector.
Dr. Mabula added that Government had approved the extension to the initial five- year Financial Sector Development Plan (FSDP).
She said the FSDP represented a strategy that was formulated to strengthen and broaden the Zambian financial sector.

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