NPC applauds Standard Bank Plc for its contribution to national economic development

Standard Bank Plc is helping Malawi to grow its resource mobilization as well as complementing the country’s efforts to realise the goals envisioned in the MW2063 national vision, says National Planning Commission (NPC) Director General, Dr. Thomas Munthali.

He made the observation at Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe on Thursday at the launch of Standard Bank’s 2022 Report to Society — which is an annual compendium of the Bank’s contributions to national development and designed using the bank’s unique Social Economic & Environmental (SEE) framework.

Chief Executive Madinga (right) and NPC Director General Thomas Munthali launching the 2nd edition of Report to Society

Munthali took cognizance that Standard Bank is taking a leading role in contributing to national economic development, describing the Report to Society as a “novel approach and which is the first of its kind in the banking sector”.

He also urged Standard Bank to consider providing long-term financing to help the country create more wealth and in his remarks, Chief Executive Phillip Madinga pledged the Bank’s commitment to continue its contributions to national development.

Madinga highlighted that in 2022, the bank has made a huge impact in various social economic and environmental sectors through investment in health; youth empowerment; education & skills development; responsible lending; financial inclusion and enterprise development.

The Bank has also contributed towards job creation; infrastructure; trade; green solutions; green banking and protection of natural resources.

“These have had a big impact to our agenda of driving Malawi’s economy which we call our home,” he said.

The report explains in its preamble that Standard Bank Plc is a purpose driven organisation which is a member of the Standard Bank Group and a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking (UN-PRB).

It says the Bank is committed to ensuring that its strategy is consistent with and contributes to society’s needs and priorities, as expressed by the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and sustainable banking frameworks.

“We achieve our purpose by working through the 10 focus areas of our SEE framework, which enables us to deliver substantive impact in the markets we operate in — financial inclusion; job creation & enterprise development; infrastructure; trade and investment; climate change & sustainable finance; education and health.

“Our annual Report to Society is a communication of the strategic outcomes we have achieved in each of the SEE impact areas directly through our commercial activities.”

Thus the Bank emphasized that it is imperative for its stakeholders to have a holistic and empirical grounded understanding of the broader impact it generates.

“This is important way of deepening the relationships we share with our clients and society at large, and ultimately becoming more than a Bank. We serve the needs of clients across Malawi.

“With a proud track record of being the first commercial bank in Malawi with rich heritage of 54 years and over 160 years in Africa, we use our on-the-ground presence to unlock the potential of our clients through solutions tailored to a digital future.”

The Bank’s purpose of ‘Malawi is our home, we drive her growth’, is based on the emphasis that it exists “to make life easier for clients; helping them to save; transact; grow their wealth; grow they business; and protect the things that matter most to them”.

In the report, Madinga’s statement said the underscores their commitment “to drive the country’s growth ambitions and attain the status of an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant industrialized upper middle-income — as envisioned in the MW2063 development blueprint”.

“We believe that it is imperative for our stakeholders to have full view of the broader impact we generate. This is an important way of deepening the relationships we share with our clients and society at large, and ultimately demonstrating that we are more than a Bank.

“As the Report to Society follows our annual financing reporting calendar, it augments the bank’s commitment to be transparent and uphold accountability to key stakeholders.

“Thus, the report is an important scorecard of our progress in efforts to sustain the delicate balance between managing business risk and sustainability while doing good for the community.”

The Chief Executive further said the Report provides insights on the progress made in 2022 but are cautious that events in the macro-economy at the beginning of 2023 will bear significantly on how they will conduct business going forward.

“But while the Malawi economy continues to sail through turbulent waters, we remain optimistic that recovery and growth prospects remain strong and possible. 2022 presented a litmus test on our long-term readiness to manage the risks we face as a business and country.

“The business registered strong growth, which continued to surpass that of previous years. Building on this strength, we made great strides to reach out to society on our SEE framework and response areas.

“We facilitated economic growth activity through innovative products that are generating new jobs; built on previous success record to sustain green financing for both small and commercial farmers; ventured into renewable energy financing helping the nation deal with electricity deficits; and applied digital banking technology to promote financial inclusion and jobs through UNAYO.

“We engaged government, clients, and the regulatory industry on initiatives to promote trade and wealth creation. In the social sector, Standard Bank provided essential relief items to support Cyclone Ana victims and through partnership, supported health drives in regards to Cleft lip surgeries with Operation Smile and purchase of maternity equipment at Dowa District Hospital with Nation Publication Limited.

“The bank also partnered with Press Trust to crowd-fund for accommodation for girls and provide scholarships for deserving and qualifying pupils in secondary schools.

“The year gone has brought the best out of our passion to continue being a trusted and reliable partner for development. The years ahead hold so much to do more, and we look forward to realising our growth ambitions together,” Madinga said.

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