As a company founded by individuals with deeply held commitments to social responsibility, a corporate strategy to increase penetration of financial services in underserved markets and to grow through further acquisitions, our sense of responsibility to our customers, employees, shareholders, the communities in which we operate, and the regulators in the markets in which we operate is critical to our success.
As a financial services firm, our people are our most important asset.
We have no factories, mines or resources other than our combined intellect, ethics and shared objective to build sub-Saharan Africa’s premier financial institution. It is our intention to build on the pool of talent we have acquired through our acquisitions and to continue to attract talented individuals at every level and in all areas of our business.
We seek to empower employees with a shared sense of ownership as we grow and integrate banks across various regions of the African continent. We are also committed to training our employees and ensuring that there are opportunities for advancement.
Our customers are the foundation of our business and their trust and respect is earned through our actions individually and as a company.
We recognise that they are an integral part of the fabric of the communities in which we, collectively, operate and the personal relationships our management and employees have with our customers need to be, at all times, based on professionalism, unimpeachable ethics, a desire to solve problems with innovative and well-tailored solutions and a commitment to service. We remain focused on enhancing our customers’ experience and expanding our customer base.
We also have a duty to maintain constructive relationships with the regulators in the markets in which we operate, as our banking licenses are clearly critical to our ability to execute our business model.
The financial services regulatory landscape is rapidly evolving. In sub-Saharan Africa, as many countries adopt Basel II and plan for the adoption of Basel III, the complexities of both regulating and being regulated are only increasing. As a result, Atlas Mara appreciates that the candour and timeliness with which we communicate with the regulators in the markets in which we operate needs to increase correspondingly. Furthermore, we recognise the merits of the current debate on enhancing the supervision of multi-country sub-Saharan African financial services platforms. We intend to participate proactively and constructively in the discussion with the goal of ensuring increased long-term financial system stability.
Our success is intertwined with that of the communities in which we operate.
Important facets of our strategy are (i) to provide innovative financial services to under-served markets, enabling individuals and families to manage their personal finances effectively with transparent products and services and (ii) to provide products and services to entrepreneurs, SMEs and larger firms appropriate to their objectives and requirements. As our business matures and best practice is disseminated across all of our banking subsidiaries, the corporate social responsibility objectives of increasing financial literacy and supporting entrepreneurship will come to define our community engagement programmes, in addition to maintaining our support of many programmes meaningful to our subsidiaries and our employees.
BancABC’s strong ties to the communities in which it operates set a positive example of corporate citizenship in 2014. Several of the notable initiatives supported by BancABC during the course of the year were:
Mass market financial literacy
BancABC Mozambique partnered with the Central Bank of Mozambique and the German Development Bank to support a financial literacy programme, which aired on national TV and reached 75,000 students in Maputo. The programme used a variety of entertaining, interactive and educational activities to build awareness around the importance of basic principles of money management such as budgeting and saving.
Youth sport, leadership development and mentoring
BancABC Zambia sponsored the Green Buffaloes Football Club (GBFC), which engages at-risk youth around the country through its leadership and mentoring platform. The club also offers community-based sporting programmes to young children. The soccer team uses sports in innovative ways to foster resilience and imbue leadership skills in the youth through community-based initiatives as well as competitive sporting events.
BancABC Zimbabwe sponsored ZScore, an organisation whose motivation is to empower underprivileged children to creatively leverage opportunities in order to achieve their dreams. The programme’s main goal is to increase self-esteem by empowering the children to reach their full potential through the sport discipline.
Arts, culture and heritage
For the 14th consecutive year, BancABC Zimbabwe was a proud sponsor of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA). HIFA is an annual, eagerly anticipated, six-day arts festival that draws several thousands of people – many from outside the country. The event showcases the works of local, regional and international artists. As is now traditional, BancABC sponsored the opening night of the festival which showcased and promoted Zimbabwe talent.