Standard Bank upgrades Nchalo service centre

Standard Bank Plc has refurbished its Nchalo service centre in Chikwawa to give businesses, SMEs and individual customers of the Lower Shire the same ambience and comfort enjoyed in flagship Standard Bank branches across Malawian cities and regions.

This was said by Standard Bank Chief Executive Phillip Madinga when he commissioned the refurbished service centre — a move he said “supports the sugar and allied agriculture industries in the area”.

Madinga (right) and RBM’s Paul Nyirenda cut the commissioning ribbon

“Nchalo is the home estate of Malawi’s largest sugar grower and manufacturer, Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc,” he said. “The surrounding Lower Shire Valley is also major source of beef in Malawi, as well as Big Five tourism attractions at Majete and Lengwe Game Reserves.

“The sugar industry plays a key role in our economy and in particular the agriculture sector. In that regard, Standard Bank has ensured presence within the two main hubs of Dwangwa and Nchalo where sugar is grown and manufactured — to support this vital business, industry and related other businesses.”

Madinga quoted available data that sugar contributes about 10% of Malawi’s GDP, and about 35% of the country’s agricultural sector — thus emphasizing that “the new branch will help enhance the delivery of streamlined financial services to individuals and companies that drive the economy within the agricultural sector, and other sectors co-existing within the district of Chikwawa and surrounding communities”.

The new look Nchalo service centre

Present at the official commissioning was Reserve Bank of Malawi’s Director for Pension & Insurance, Paul Nyirenda — who applauded Standard Bank for boosting its branch operations at Nchalo, noting that this “will improve access to financial services to secondary services in addition to sugar and livestock farming in the area”.

“Nchalo is an economic hub in the country with focus on agriculture especially cattle rearing and sugarcane farming. While we associate the area with sugar manufacturing, it is imperative to recognize the growth of secondary services arising from the sugar business.

“Standard Bank will, therefore, play a key role to harness that growth sustainably,” he said, adding that RBM appreciates the Bank’s role in contributing towards the financial inclusion agenda as highlighted in Malawi’s MW2063 development blueprint.

“The RBM commends Standard Bank for constructing such a banking hall here at Nchalo. This means that the bank is taking the challenge of achieving the MW2063 with a great responsibility.

“Not only will the structure provide excellence in banking services, but it has changed the appearance of this place,” he said.

Led by Emmanuel Makwakwa, the Nchalo will offer all services including providing support for digital banking available through an ATM, Unayo and the 247 platform.

Last month, Standard Bank was applauded by Malawi Government for being the leading financier of the K34.5 billion investment towards rehabilitation of Kenyatta and Mzimba road network — which was described as a partnership towards improvement of Lilongwe’s transport network.

This was said by Minister of Finance, Sosten Gwengwe after signing the largest local-currency financed arrangement with three private companies — that included Old Mutual and Continental Asset Management as co-financiers — to turn the Kenyatta-Mzimba road into Malawi’s first-ever 6-lane highway.

Thus Gwengwe hailed Standard Bank for leading the private sector to facilitate economic transformation through financing of Malawi’s transport and infrastructure through the agreement that binds the Roads Fund Administration (RFA) as project implementor.

The Minister emphasized that the upgrade of the Kenyatta Drive and Mzimba Street is a fulfillment of the MW2063 Pillars 9 and 2, “which state that Malawi will build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisaton, promote innovation as well as develop low cost and competitive transport systems across all modes”.

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