Standard Bank Malawi Limited has said it will host an International Mining Conference between September and October this year after the completion of the geo-mapping exercise currently under way.
The bank has said that although mining and power projects are capital intensive, it has the capacity to finance them and consequently unlock the country’s economic growth.
Speaking to the media on Friday in Blantyre when the bank hosted a luncheon for editors, Standard Bank head of personnel and business banking Margaret Kubwalo-Chaika said they will also continue to focus on other key strategic investment areas, including natural resources, oil gas and renewable energy, and agriculture.
“You will recall we hosted power conferences in areas of power and infrastructure in 2013. In 2014, we are pleased to announce that we will be hosting an International Mining Conference,” said Kubwalo-Chaika.
In a telephone interview Monday Standard Bank marketing manager Chimwemwe Matonga said they chose the five sectors because they have potential to unlock the country’s economic growth.
“Power is critical and when we unlock power we will unlock great economic potential. We are also focusing on the mining sector because there is the geo-mapping exercise currently under way. We wish to time the mining conference with the release of the geo-mapping results so that we showcase the country’s mineral resources to international investors,” said Matonga.
Without saying how much the bank has allocated to the sectors, Matonga said that they have the capacity to finance projects in any of the sectors.
Analysts have always rued over Malawi’s low power supply arguing it impinges private sector development, economic growth and development.
But Standard Bank has supported the sector including Escom the country’s sole power supplier.
Last year, the bank assisted Escom to restructure its R70 million (K3.2 billion) loan owed to the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) into a local currency loan, enabling the power supplier to save 1.5 million rands (K57 million) in monthly interest payment.
Apart from revitalising Escom, recently the Government also said it will construct a coal fired power plant at Kammwamba in Neno which is expected to add 300 megawatts to the national grid.