British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, has provided a USD 50 million loan to Zambia National Commercial Bank (Zanaco) to boost climate finance and entrepreneurship in the country.
Zanaco, one of the largest and oldest banks in the country, will use the funds to provide finance for micro-SMEs and climate-related projects in Zambia.
The investment qualifies under the 2X Challenge – an initiative launched by the development finance institutions (DFIs) of the G7 to mobilize capital to support increased economic empowerment for women in emerging economies.
Nicholas Woolley, British High Commissioner to Zambia, said: “The UK remains committed to acting on the ambitions set out in our Green Growth Compact partnership with Zambia. British International Investment’s funding to Zanaco plays a key role in delivering on this agreement by helping boost SME growth and drive sustainable green transformation for the Zambian economy.”
Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of BII, said: “Zambia’s climate finance capacity is very limited. We expect this deal to demonstrate the potential within the sector in Zambia and provide proof of concept for other investors to follow our lead. BII is committed to providing the capital that African economies need to face the acute economic challenges of the climate emergency.”
For his part, Mukwandi Chibesakunda, Chief Executive Officer of Zanaco, said: “It is a privilege for Zanaco to be the first institution to sign such a facility with BII and we believe this will set the right conditions for the growth of the Zambian economy. We are proud to be the institution that will deliver this facility to women-led MSMEs and MSMEs with a climate agenda because that is where the future lies. We remain focused on advancing gender smart investments and driving inclusivity in business and leadership.”