By Malawi Exclusive
Listed NBS Bank plc has partnered with Christian Aid, an International Organisation on the launch of the Women’s Energy Fund which will promote the participation of women entrepreneurs in the energy value chains to address the barriers that limit the involvement of women in the energy sector.
Christian Aid has been dealing with NBS Bank for over 3 years on the ‘breaking the barriers’ project which has led to the launch of the Women’s Energy Fund.
Speaking during the launch in Lilongwe last week, NBS Bank Deputy Chief Executive Officer Temwani Simwaka said the bank believes in collaborations and partnerships that create a platform to promote the advancement of social-economic development in Malawi.
“NBS Bank as a local Bank, has always been passionate about supporting SMEs and has done so through various partnerships over the years, such as Women World Banking (in partnership with UNCDF), International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) funded Program called Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprises (FARMSE), Christian Aid, Total Landcare, USAID funded Feed the Future-Malawi Ag Diversification Activity.”
“NBS Bank also has a history of deliberately supporting women in communities by promoting financial inclusion. In 2009 and 2010, the Bank worked with World Bank and IFC, training over 1500 women in business management and giving them loans to inject capital into their businesses. Additionally, the Bank worked with UNCDF on a program whose aim was to develop a product specifically for women,” said Simwaka.
She said NBS Bank is working with different NGOs, who are mobilizing women’s groups and village banks under the FARMSE project which is linking the groups to the Bank so that they can have access to group loans, and other financial services.
“Likewise, the focus of our partnership with Christian Aid ‘Breaking the Barriers’ project is to drive financial inclusion mainly targeting women by offering them formal banking services, giving them access to finance to ensure that they form part of the social-economic development of Malawi. NBS Bank is honoured to be part of the Women’s Energy Fund which is a recognition of Malawi Government efforts in achievement of its vision 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Simwaka.
She added that the bank appreciates and supports the role that the government and development partners play in propelling the advancement of SMEs in Malawi.
Minister of Gender Patricia Kaliati hailed NBS Bank for supporting women in the country and asked other companies and individuals to emulate the example set by the bank.
Christian Aid Malawi with support from the European Union provided concessional loans of MK161 Million Kwacha to 38 women led enterprises to support energy led businesses in Rice, Fish, and Horticultural in Karonga, Chikwawa and Mangochi districts.
The Women Energy Fund ‘Broken Barriers’ project was jointly conceptualised and implemented with NBS Bank and has been conducted as a pilot since 2020 where group accounts for the women were opened through where the funds were disbursed.