By Benedict Tembo
ZANACO Bank chief executive officer Mukwandi Chibesakunda says despite the myriad of challenges faced in attaining gender parity, it is important to celebrate the gains women have scored over the years in all facets of development.
Ms Chibesakunda said this was evidenced by the great work ladies were doing in respective spaces.
She noted that a lot needs to be done for more women to actively participate in the socio-economic development of the country and achieve inclusive growth.
“With the United Nations declaring gender equality among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve inclusive growth by 2030, allow me to inform you that at Zanaco, we are aligned with these aspirations,” Ms Chibesakunda said.
On the eve of the 2023 Women’s International Day, Ms Chibesakunda said Zanaco Bank continues to increase its emphasis on women’s empowerment through various interventions such as the women’s banking proposition called Zee Women’s Banking, which it launched last year aimed at ensuring access to affordable finance, markets and information for its female customers.
“Through Zee Women’s Banking, we are providing collateral free loans provided they meet the terms and conditions, and our interest on these loans is 20 percent in the first year. Through our alliance partners, we create access to markets and information for our Zee women,” she said.
Ms Chibesakunda said it has been a wonderful journey for the bank with its Zee women and “I can only encourage all the women in this room to become Zee women.”
She said as part of the bank’s continued support and appreciation for its female population, it launched the Zee women’s banking awards which are intended to recognise women who have made a positive impact in their areas of expertise.
Ms Chibesakunda said there was need to stress the ever-evolving presence of technology and innovation in people’s lives, which can be a great enabler for the advancement of gender equality.
“We at Zanaco fully support the UN secretary-general António Guterres’s call to close the digital divide and increase the representation of women and girls in science and technology,” she said.
According to the UN chief’s recent message, women’s exclusion from the digital world has shaved an estimated US$1 trillion from the gross domestic product (GDP) of low- and middle-income countries in the last decade — a loss that could grow to US$1.5 trillion by 2025 without action, hence the need to uplift more women into the science and technology space.
Zambeef Products Pc chief executive officer Faith Mukutu scooped the CEO Award of the Year with veteran broadcaster Annie Mukabe grabbing the CEO’s Award in recognition of her contribution to the broadcasting industry.
WWF Zambia Country Director Nachilala Nkombo was rewarded for her exceptional environmental stewardship.
Other winners were: Woman in Tech (Lillian Mutwalo), Catalyst for Change (Inutu Lubinda) while China-based Copper Queens captain Barbara Banda grabbed the Woman in Sport prize.
The Woman in Mining accolade was given to Given Kawina, with the Woman in Education token going to Elizabeth Chunda.
Chilufya Mutale won the Woman in Finance title while the Woman in Medicine prize went to Dr. Nfwama Kawatu.
The rest of the winners were: Woman in Agriculture (Elizabeth Maanda Siame), Woman in Aviation (Chileshe Yaya Chibamba), Entrepreneur of the Year (Mercy Chewetu Mukupa), Creative of the Year ( Mirriam Mukape (Mampi) and the Rising Star Youth Award (Sampa Tembo (Sampa The Great).