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Editor’s Memo: Celebrating Zim banks’ resilience

Zimbabwe Independent hosted the prestigious 2023 Banks & Banking Survey and Awards ceremony, sponsored by First Capital Bank, our partner for eight years running.

LAST night, the Zimbabwe Independent hosted the prestigious 2023 Banks & Banking Survey and Awards ceremony, sponsored by First Capital Bank, our partner for eight years running.

On behalf of Alpha Media, I would like to congratulate the winners — Stanbic, CABS, Nedbank, NMB, Steward, ZB, African Century Limited and all the first runners and second runners up.

Stanbic Zimbabwe Limited was voted the best bank in Zimbabwe, while CABS was named the best building society.

NMB Bank Limited won the Digital Innovation award and Steward Bank the Financial Inclusion award and Nedbank Zimbabwe won the Environmental Social and Governance award.

Nedbank managing director Sibongile Moyo, who is one of the most inspirational and influential women in Zimbabwe, was crowned the Banker of the Year.

I would like to congratulate Dr Moyo for continuing to be a torchbearer to our young Zimbabwean women. 

This year we introduced three categories, whose winners were voted by the public through a digital survey.

ZB Bank Limited won the Best People’s Choice award, while Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe was voted the Best Bank for Customer Service and African Century Limited for the Best Deposit Taking Micro-Finance Institution Supporting Small to Medium Enterprises.

The survey and awards ceremony is a celebration of excellence, resilience, and the unwavering commitment of financial institutions in a challenging economic landscape.

Zimbabwean banks and building societies have demonstrated remarkable dedication and innovation in the face of an ever-evolving financial environment.

Their achievements are a testament to the relentless pursuit of excellence and belief in the power of sustainable finance.

In a country marked by economic challenges, characterised by exchange rate volatilities, a depreciating local currency and a highly informalised market, these financial institutions have shown incredible perseverance.

They have continued to support businesses, individuals, and the nation as a whole, even when the odds seemed insurmountable.

Their contributions to economic growth are immeasurable, and should never be underestimated. We commend them for their unwavering dedication.

Our theme this year, Achieving Economic Growth Through Sustainable Finance, resonates deeply with the current global trends on responsible and ethical financial practices.

These institutions have not only weathered the storm but have also actively contributed to the creation of a more sustainable and resilient financial landscape.

As Zimbabwe advances towards the ambitious Vision 2030, the role of the banking sector becomes increasingly pivotal.

The banking sector is the lifeblood of any economy. Its primary role of mobilising savings and allocating capital to productive ventures is fundamental in achieving the goals set for Vision 2030.

In a country striving for economic growth and development, access to finance, credit, and investment opportunities are paramount.

One of the cornerstones of sustainable finance is inclusiveness.

Zimbabwe's banking sector must actively work towards ensuring that every Zimbabwean, especially the underserved and vulnerable groups, have access to financial services. This can be done by promoting financial inclusion and empowering marginalised communities with financial tools.

As we celebrate excellence on the domestic scene, we must be concerned about the fact that Zimbabwean banks are increasingly losing traction, in terms of competing with their regional peers. About a decade ago, at least three of our banks made it to the top 50 and top 100 of African Business' Africa's Top Banks rankings

It was disheartening to note that this year's ranking released a few weeks ago, Zimbabwean banks were not included. This is because the economy is continuing on a downward spiral, with cash shortages and exchange rate weaknesses. Something urgent needs to be done.    

 In conclusion, I like to thank the panel of financial analysts, Ercco Consulting led by Enock Rukarwa for the insightful survey report (see article on page 1).

I would also like to thank our guest speakers at the event attended by the country’s top executives , Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya, European Union representative Ambassador Jobst von Kirchmann, Ndumiso Hadebe of Pax Africana and Tawanda Muzamwese of African Sustainability Consultants.

I salute all the financial institutions in Zimbabwe for the resilience and strong performance with all banks recording profits.

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