Stanbic disburses $800m towards projects

HARARE - Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe (Stanbic), a unit of South African Standard Bank, says it has disbursed $800 million since 2012 to various sectors of the economy, despite indigenisation threats.

The bank is one of the four foreign-owned financial institutions under pressure to comply with the country’s empowerment policy — compelling non-Zimbabwean firms to cede 51 percent shareholding to black locals.

Joshua Tapambgwa, Stanbic chief executive, said the bank was keen to play a pivotal role in the sustainable growth of the economy.

“Stanbic Bank is always looking for opportunities and is keen to contribute towards helping to bolster the local economic. We are cognisant of the fact that our support in agriculture, for instance, will be crucial for food security while funding the mining and manufacturing sectors will not only help create jobs but is a stimulus for economic growth,” he said.

Last year, Stanbic spread its services to the energy sector when it facilitated the payment of a $45 million debt owed to Hydro Cabbora Basa (HCB) by a major local utility company.

Tapambgwa noted that offshore funding to the tune of $227 million was availed last year to facilitate the current tobacco season.

“While the bank has always supported the tobacco sector, it has also maintained its support in the agricultural sector to the cotton merchants through a $50 million offshore facility,” he said adding that Stanbic continues to lend to the seed and fertiliser industries in excess of $25 million.

During 2012, Stanbic worked with Sable Chemicals and US consulting firm MGM Innova to get United Nations approval to generate carbon credits from a nitrous oxide gas destruction project at Sable’s plant in Kwekwe.

This approval is under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol and is the first CDM project ever approved in Zimbabwe. When built the project will prevent about 500 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year of dangerous greenhouse gases — the equivalent of taking 90 000 cars off the road — and also reduce local air pollution.

In March this year, Stanbic announced the successful registration of the Green Light programme of activities — which currently covers Kenya and Zimbabwe.

The programme covers the replacement of light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs in domestic households. “We are working with Kenya Power in Kenya to tie carbon income to their next rollout of compact fluorescent light bulbs and we expect to pursue the same initiative in Zimbabwe to work carbon incomes into any future roll outs of efficient lightbulbs,” said Tapambgwa.

In the manufacturing sector, Stanbic assisted a local pharmaceuticals company to raise a $10 million facility to rehabilitate its plant.

The bank’s support to the economy comes at a time when the nation’s gross domestic product growth continues to shrink on the back of a 10-year economic crisis. - Business Writer

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