The European Investment Bank (EIB) Southern Africa SME and Microfinance Academy has awarded listed National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc for its innovation in Gender Smart Financing.
Speaking when he received the award during the EIB Southern Africa SME Banking and Microfinance Academy 2020 symposium in South Africa last week, NBM plc Chief Executive Officer Macfussy Kawawa said the Bank is delighted to be recognized in its efforts of supporting marginalized groups, especially women towards gaining financial independence.
“This recognition of our work in Gender Smart Financing is a result of our concerted efforts to drive forward the financial inclusion agenda by targeting special groups with a long term view of empowering them financially. Women were the first special group to be considered,” said Kawawa.
Kawawa further explained that through the engagement with the women doing businesses, the Bank conceptualized a special offering for them named ‘Amayi Angathe’ with bundled benefits. The benefits include a business account, a credit package and access to an information sharing portal.
Among other attributes the ‘Amayi Aganthe’ product offers lady entrepreneurs a maximum loan limit of K5 million with no collateral required, interest rate at discount and a business account with transactional charges at half the normal rate, according to Kawawa.
“We believe that with this product, lady entrepreneurs will grow and graduate from small to medium enterprises to big corporate entities,” said Kawawa.
At the symposium, Kawawa also presented a paper on ‘Gender smart investing-a showcase for Malawi’.
Apart from the gender smart financing presentation, NBM plc also presented at the symposium its gender policy where it disclosed that 41% of its workforce is made up of women.
“The Bank ensures that it maintains a gender balance at work place by making sure that women are given the opportunity to work and have benefits that are the same as their male counterparts. At the end of 2019, 41% of the Bank’s workforce was female,” said Kawawa.
“Being an equal opportunity employer, the Bank promotes a work environment that gives everybody regardless of gender, a chance to develop a career. This is why it maintains one of the best male to female employee ratio in the country. It has a Sexual Harassment policy that ensures that women, who are usually victims, are protected at all times,” he added.