President Michael Sata has urged Standard Chartered Bank Plc. to increase lending to agriculture and to expand its retail banking side of the business in Zambia, according to George Chellah, Sata’s mouth-piece.
President said this when Sir. John Peace, the Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank Plc. called on him in London today. The bank’s chief executive for the Africa Region, Diana Layfied, accompanied the chairman.
The Zambian team comprised Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Hon. Emmanuel Chenda, Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Lt. Col Bizwayo Nkunika and officials from the Zambian mission in London.
The President said the small retail depositors and small-scale farmers were under-serviced by the banking sector in Zambia and that this worsened when some big banks like Barclays and Stanchart closed most of their rural branches in the recent years.
“We need you to come to rural areas and help finance agriculture. It is the small retail bankers and farmers that generate the money that you lend to big businesses. We would like you to provide leadership in this area because you are a very stable bank,” the Head of State said.
The President also urged the bank to take advantage of the attractive liberal incentive structure of the Zambian economy.
“Our economy is liberal and the political situation is stable, very stable…Our economic and political stability provides you an opportunity to invest more,” President Sata said. “When you come to Zambia my team will organize that we meet and also arrange various other meetings for you. We value and respect your wide spread network and influence world wide
in money matters.”
In response, Sir John, assured the President that the bank was 30 per cent retail and focused on expanding operations in that area. He said Zambia had great opportunities for the bank in the agricultural sector and SMEs sectors.