Zimbabwe: Steward Bank to lend $15m to SMEs

Apr 11, 2016

The bank has also launched a bank account dedicated to SMEs.

Zimbabwean financial institution Steward Bank said last week that it will start lending to the country's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from a pool of funds sourced from development finance institutions.

The bank explained that about $15 million (€13.1 million) has already been raised thanks to partners such as USAID and SNV, and that it would continue to talk to several development finance institutions to source funding for small businesses.

"Entrepreneurs do not only lack money, they also lack training. Less than 10 per cent of the country is not banked. We are going after the 90 per cent who are not banked," said chief executive officer Lance Mambondiani, quoted by the Financial Gazette. He added that the bank would combine funding and mentorship programmes for the sector.

Steward Bank has also launched the SME Zama Zama business account, which will offer a range of products for SMEs, including free advertising, basic financial accounting training and crowd funding.

According to the World Bank, the SME sector is largely informal with 85 per cent of unlicensed operators.

The 2012 Finscope Survey revealed that Zimbabwean SMEs contribute over 60 per cent to GDP and employ over 5.8 million people out of a population of 13.5 million inhabitants.ADNFCR-2976-ID-801816266-ADNFCR