Monday 2021-12-06

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STANDARD BANK BOLSTERS ECONOMIC REVITALISATION

By KWANELE DHLADHLA | 2021-09-15

Standard Bank has thrown its full weight towards vigorous economic resuscitation through investing in the youth.

This was evident yesterday as Chief Executive Mvuselelo Fakudze dished out sponsorships to three youth development initiatives namely; Junior Achievement (E88 820), ENACTUS (E60 000) and Maloma Colliery (E75 000).

Fakudze mentioned that the local economy needed entrepreneurs that dream big, innovate solutions for Emaswati and create financial sustainability for communities through job creation.

“We are always looking for ways to emphasise our commitment to entrepreneurship in Eswatini.

To this end, we have recently donated E1 million to the Reconstruction Fund to resuscitate hope for businesspeople and to help re-build the business infrastructure we need to keep our kingdom thriving,” Fakudze explained.

He pointed out that their work does not end there, as a bank, Fakudze said they fully comprehend with the importance of empowering young people specifically with the entrepreneurship culture that could fuel Eswatini’s economic growth.

“At Standard Bank we believe that Eswatini is our home, we drive her growth through our support towards educational initiatives aimed at empowering the youth and inculcating a culture of entrepreneurship and resilience for Emaswati,” he said.

Prior to handing over the replica cheque to JA Eswatini Executive Director Phetsile Masilela, Fakudze said it gave them great pleasure to announce and handover an amount E88 820 towards the JA Eswatini National Expo 2021. The contest challenges high school pupils to develop viable business models and innovate bankable products.

They compete regionally, nationally, and finally internationally among their peers further simulating the real world of entrepreneurship. “As Standard Bank, we also believe in the limitless creativity, talent and potential of young people and we want to encourage them to consistently strive to find new ways to make their dreams possible through opportunities such as those presented by JA Eswatini’s initiatives,” Fakudze noted.

Masilela applauded the bank for 10 years of partnership which has seen Standard Bank empower JA programmes to the tune of E644 755. “We cannot overemphasise how as an organisation we value and appreciate this kind of partnership. Standard Bank has shown us how they prioritise youth entrepreneurship as a bank and this talks to the future of our country,” said Masilela.

Fakudze added that the prevailing circumstances had necessitated that they increase support to the Maloma School Shoes Drive to E75 000in 2021 from E25 000 in 2019.

“During a time when families across the nation face budgetary struggles due to income loss as the scourge of the global pandemic continues to affect Emaswati in different ways. As a bank that believes in the potential of the youth of Eswatini, we are proud to partner with Maloma Colliery to empower hundreds of vulnerable children to put their best foot forward in their educational endeavours,” said Fakudze.

Acting Maloma Colliery Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Carl Smith explained that their Corporate Social Initiative (CSI) programme remains committed to supporting neighbouring communities in education, health, water supply, infrastructure and community Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) projects. He disclosed that most community schools’ requests affiliate under the pillar, education.

“This noble campaign comes after we noted that within these communities in which Maloma operates, we have children who have no choice but to walk barefooted to school on daily basis because of their difficult family backgrounds,” said Smith.

ENACTUS Country Director Wonder Khumalo said it was because of institutions like Standard Bank that they were able to work in the different tertiary institutions and impact communities all around Eswatini during such times which came about as a result of the ravaging effects of COVID-19.

“We are incredibly favoured to receive the generous sponsorship on behalf of the youth of this country. We believe students will be encouraged to turn their projects into fully fledged businesses and provide employment opportunities to other young people,” added Khumalo.

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