Southern Province has recorded growth of investments in the Banking sector owing to a number of economic developments that Government has embarked on in the region,Southern Province Permanent Secretary Gladys Kristafor has said.
Mrs Kristafor said a number of major players in the banking fraternity have extended their services to the Southern Province community in the recent two years because of the growing business potential of the tourism and entrepreneurship sector.
She was speaking during the official opening of Stanbic Bank Branch Office in Livingstone at the Mosi-o-Tunya Shopping Square today.
Mrs Kristafor said the competition in the banking sector will bring about easy accessibility of loans and other services among members of the business community in the province.
The Permanent Secretary,who mentioned a number of developmental projects going on in the Province said Livingstone is a fast growing town with the socio-economic standards of people improving each day.
Mrs Kristafor said one of the aids to trade that has facilitated the growth of the banking sector in the province has been the Zimba-Livingstone road.
Stanbic Bank Livingstone branch is the 17th in Zambia.
Stanbic Bank Managing Director,Dennis Kennedy said the commercial bank decided to open a branch in Livingstone to supplement Government’s efforts in the improvement of the tourism and business sector in Southern Province.
Mr.Kennedy said Stanbic Bank has seen a growing potential of financial demand in the tourism sector because of the economic development in the province.
The MD identified some the developmental projects that has influenced Stanbic Bank to open a branch in Livingstone as the rehabilitaion of Livingstone -Zimba road,the maintenance works done on the Livingstone -Sesheke road,the consturction of Kazungula bridge and the recent launch of a One-Stop Border post between Zambia and Namibia.
Mr.Kennedy disclosed that Stanbic Bank is set to open another branch in Choma and Mazabuka by January next year.
Meanwhile Livingstone Tourism Association(LTA)Chairperson,Kinsley Lilamuno has said the opening of Stanbic Bank would help to boast tourism in the town.
Mr.Lilamuno who was speaking on behalf of tour operators said in the previous years people in Livingstone only managed to access financial services for consumptive reasons as opposed to developmental purposes.
He said many companies in the tourism industry still struggle to access loans for business purposes because most banks offer prohibitive interest rates.
Stanbic Bank which is a subsidiary of Standard Bank Group of South Africa was earlier this year named the best bank in Africa for 2010 by The Banker -a journal on banking and finance industry.