Standard Bank says its trade finance products and services hold the key to unlocking the potential of importers and exporters in stimulating Malawi’s economic growth.
Head of Trade Finance, Ronald Tembo said this in the wake of the bank’s latest positioning as market leader in the provision of key trade finance products such as foreign currency (forex), letters of credit, stand-by letters of credit and guarantees such as tender bids and customs bonds
“Due to the landlocked and net-importer nature of the Malawi economy, a well-established financial institution with a global footprint and deep pool of expertise is required to support the country’s trade aspirations. Standard Bank is strategically well placed to handle this aspect through our suite of trade Finance products and services,” he said.
Tembo said the key attributes that position Standard Bank as a leader in trade finance include being Africa’s largest bank by assets, having a local strong branch network, the largest foreign currency balance sheet and its global footprint along with its strategic linkages with the largest bank in the world (ICBC).
“Our strong foreign currency balance sheet, global presence and accessibility to cutting edge specialist expertise in London, Johannesburg and Beijing place us in a commanding position as the leading financier of trade globally. We tap from the best markets in the West and East, and connect them to the resource-rich Africa thereby giving businesses in Malawi access to their requirements at the touch of a button,” he said.
He said Standard Bank boasts a track record in facilitating a number trade finance deals that have kept the Malawi economy moving forward. He cited Malawi Government’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) as one of the trade deals backed.
Standard Bank is proud to be associated with Malawi government’s agricultural development agenda. We have been a key player in financially facilitating FISP for the last eight years” he said.
Tembo said the fertilizer import component of FISP offers opportunities in structured trade and commodity finance, forex transactions and short-termed lending.
He said apart from supporting Malawi’s agriculture, which remains anchor of the Malawi economy, Standard Bank trade finance is active in various sectors including construction, energy, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade.
“Manufacturers are interested in short-to-medium term financing to purchase capital goods and raw materials. We also have those bidding for public works and projects that require bid bonds, advance payments and performance guarantees. Overall, we are proud to be of service to the country by stimulating and facilitating economic growth that moves the country forward,” he concluded.