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‘Bringing Possibilities to Life’ – Absa Bank Zambia PLC is Raising the Bar in Corporate Social Responsibility

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Absa Bank Zambia PLC is a leading financial institution in Zambia, offering an integrated set of products and services across corporate and investment banking, business banking with solutions for SMEs, and retail banking. Absa Bank Zambia PLC is part of Absa Group Limited, one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups. The Group has a presence in 12 African countries and representative offices in London and New York.

Absa is a truly an African brand with global reach, inspired by the people they serve. The bank’s focus on bringing possibilities to life by pursuing avenues where it can positively impact the communities in which it operates has resulted in award-winning success; indeed, Absa Bank Zambia PLC won the Global Banking and Finance award for Best CSR Bank in Zambia earlier this year. When Global Banking & Finance Review editor Wanda Rich interviewed Ndela Sichizya, Marketing & Communications Manager at Absa Bank Zambia, he confirmed how such recognition drives the organisation’s motivation. “This is very important to the bank as it adds to the proof points of our competitiveness and strong position as a leading bank in the country of Zambia,” he said. “Absa Bank Zambia PLC has a strong and longstanding commitment to managing social impact and recognising that the success of the bank is closely linked to that of the communities it operates in. As a bank, we remain focused on adding value in these communities in order to reach the grassroots.”

Over the years, Absa Zambia’s efforts have included partnering with the Catholic Relief Services and the Worldwide Fund for Nature to launch a Plant and Grow a Million Trees campaign, taking place over a period of three years, and valued at K1,500,000. The bank has also partnered with World Vision to build a 1×3 classroom block valued at K350, 000 at Chipapa Community School in Kafue District, as well as equipping the new block with desks, with the aim of positively impacting over 20,000 youths in the Chipapa catchment area.

This year, the bank awarded three-year scholarships to underprivileged students in Zambia to attend tertiary college or university, to the value of ZMW3.2 million. “45 students out of the 51 successfully graduated,” Ndela reported. “In April, we made an additional investment of K450,000 to benefit six students from various tertiary institutions for three years.”

Under the education and skills umbrella, Absa Zambia undertakes various other initiatives aimed at empowering youths. “As young people make a critical transition from education into the world of work or entrepreneurship, they need skills that will prepare them. Absa’s ReadyToWork platform is an online portal providing learning materials on work skills, people skills, money skills and entrepreneurial skills to young people in primary, secondary and higher learning institutions.”

When the conversation moved to Absa’s approach to business banking, Ndela highlighted the various ways in which the organisation serves the distinct needs of SMEs. “We offer the full suite of business banking products with specific focus on asset-based finance, forex hedging, working capital solutions, purchase order finance, invoice discounting, trade finance, transactional banking, and vehicle and asset finance,” he revealed. “We provide efficient systems and platforms to transact on, including dedicated relationship management, a wide branch network and a call centre, as well as access to our digital and mobile solutions. We provide business advisory, technical support and an array of networking opportunities and access to markets for our SMEs.”

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Ndela Sichizya, Marketing & Communications Manager at Absa Bank Zambia

He also discussed the steps Absa has taken to support enterprise and supply chain development. “Suppliers who are eligible for the Enterprise and Supply Chain Development (ESD) programme used by Absa will receive a number of benefits,” he said. “These include access to unsecured lending at preferential rates, access to business development skills and technical capacitation, access to technology and tools, and market development.”

The bank is also versed in how the cash management needs of SMEs differ slightly to those of large corporations. “Point of sale collections and transactions are used more in SMEs, while the collections in Large Corporate is often through the bank’s Cash in Transit (CIT) Services.”

With regard to what’s next, the bank’s focus for further strengthening its foundations and continuing to invest in infrastructure remains in line with its ethos; current plans are in the works to set up branches in select, economically viable areas that have been underserved. “We also plan to extend our services through agency banking, which is an easier, quicker way of providing services to our clients,” Ndela added. “Our investment into more efficient systems will help us to deliver a world class customer experience.”

Global Banking & Finance Review


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