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Zanaco issues K3 million collateral-free loans

 By MELODY MWALA

March was a Women’s Month in which Zanaco decided to honour women from various fields, fresh from disbursing K3.8 million in collateral-free loans within two years.

At an event dubbed Zanaco Zee Women’s Banking Awards, held at Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka on March 7 on the eve of International Women’s Day, the bank celebrated achievements made by women through their dedication, resilience and passion.

Zanaco Managing Director Mukwandi Chibesakunda said the bank was committed to empowering women through the Zee Women’s Banking proposition built on three key pillars: access to finance, access to markets and networking opportunities.

The pillars, Chibesakunda said, were designed to provide women with the tools and resources they needed to thrive and succeed in their endeavours. Through access to the finance pillar, Zanaco offered collateral-free loans specifically tailored to meet the needs of women entrepreneurs.

Chibesakunda said over the last two years, the bank had disbursed K3.8 million in loans, enabling women to start and grow their businesses, create employment opportunities and contribute to the country’s economic prosperity.

The bank was delighted with the tremendous impact it had made in recognizing and honouring women in communities.

The Zanaco Zee Women’s Banking Awards has become a beacon of inspiration, highlighting the outstanding contributions of women in business, entrepreneurship, leadership and beyond.

“As Zanaco turns 55 and Zambia turns 60, the bank remains committed to supporting the prosperity of the country through programmes that uplift communities and businesses and believes women and girls should be a priority because they are a fundamental driver of social and economic development,” said Chibesakunda.

As part of the 55-year celebrations, the bank will have a special emphasis on caring for the communities where women form a larger share and the public is urged to “look out for exciting initiatives throughout the year”.

The theme for the 2024 International Women’s Day, Invest In Women and Girls — Accelerate Progress, could not be more timely because according to the World Bank, empowering women was key to ending extreme poverty and promoting prosperity.

Chibesakunda said women and girls in eastern and southern Africa continued to face disadvantages in education and economic empowerment. “Therefore, devising initiatives that unlock their capacity to invest back into their families and communities cannot be overemphasized as it leads to greater social stability and economic growth.

“Studies have shown that when women are empowered, they invest back into their families and communities, leading to greater social stability and economic growth like we have witnessed the transformative power of women’s empowerment in driving progress and innovation in Zambia and across Africa,” she said. 

She also disclosed that Zanaco had continued to do its part by investing and partnering in initiatives that empower girls and saluted the bank’s partnership with World Vision Zambia under the Strong Girls Zambia Campaign aimed at removing 15,000 girls from early marriages and sending them back to school with school supplies.

Guest of Honour, Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo, a staunch advocate of the empowerment of women and girls in Zambia, said as resilience, strength and determination that defined the essence of womanhood were being celebrated, each woman should realise that she was a beacon of inspiration, a trail-blazer in her own right, and a testament to the power and potential of women when allowed to thrive.

Masebo said the government firmly believed that investing in women and girls was not only the right thing to do but also a smart thing to do because when women were empowered, societies flourished, economies thrived, and progress accelerated.

The government had taken significant strides to empower women, with testimony to that being the increased numbers of women in decision-making positions such as Vice-President Mutale Nalumango, Speaker of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti, Cabinet ministers like herself and the five illustrious women heading commercial banks and many other women in various fields.

She, however, said despite the positive strides taken by the government, women must continue to push boundaries, break down barriers, and create a more inclusive and equitable society for all. 

Chibesakunda also announced that the bank had appointed one of Zambia’s finest artists and television personalities, Esther Chungu Nyathando as its Zee Women’s Banking Brand Ambassador as she embodied the values of believing and achieving together.

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