BANC ABC has pledged to inject US$65 million in the country’s economy by investing in Small Scale and Medium Entrepreneurship (SMEs) and youth empowerment with a particular focus on agriculture, Zambia’s second critical economic sector after mining.
The pledged investment by Banc ABC, a subsidiary of Atlas Mara Limited, the world’s financial group of the United States of America has elated President Edgar Lungu who has said his vision to expand the country’s economy and improve the lives of Zambians particularly the youths and women was moving faster than imagined.
The President told the delegation from Atlas Mara Limited led by Bob Diamond that Banc ABC was free to create innovative investment ideas on how best Zambia’s economy could be expanded exponentially to benefit women and youths for whom he said he would want to leave an unparalleled legacy.
President Lungu said his desire as Zambia’s Head of State was to hit the ground running in delivering the best to Zambians and it was therefore important that institutions such as Banc ABC should become a strategic and worthy partner in achieving his vision.
The Head of State said he was closely monitoring how the youth empowerment programmes were fairing and that the US$65 million investment by the Banc ABC was a milestone in uplifting the living standards of the youth and employment creation.
The President said he was delighted that Atlas Mara through Banc ABC had come to Zambia and said his administration would like the youths and women who are often the economically marginalized to realise their potential by accessing financial services that were affordable.
“I am gratified and delighted that you have come to Zambia and we want to hit the ground running in the provision of the best to our citizens. The US$65 million would be a huge investment and I am sure we are going to feel the impact. Feel free to generate ideas that are going to help in the economic expansion of our economy for the benefit of women and the youths for whom I would like to leave a good legacy. My vision to prudently govern the country and to ensure that there is exponential economic growth is moving faster than imagined,” President Lungu said.
And Atlas Mara founder and director Bob Diamond said when US President Barack Obama was in Kenya, he had intoned about his desire for the Banc ABC to expand its investment in Africa particularly in Zambia.
Mr Diamond said Atlas Mara Limited was proud of the tremendous investment, job creation and economic growth opportunities that had been created by President Lungu’s administration.
Mr Diamond said the US$65 million investment from the Banc ABC was targeting Small Scale and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) and youth empowerment with particular focus on agriculture.
He said Banc ABC was becoming larger in Africa and that Atlas Mara was in the country to serve Zambians and that the bank was going to continue investing in Zambia.
And Ashish Tharker, another founding director of Atlas Mara commended President Lungu for his focused leadership and informed the Head of State that Banc ABC was in seven countries in Africa with a total investment of US$2.7 billion. Mr Tharker said Banc ABC was in the country and would continue to give back to Zambians through increased investment and creating job opportunities for the youths.
He said the tradition by most financial institutions was that they were investing in government treasury but that the dividends were not being trickled down to the ordinary citizens, a culture he said his bank was going to break.