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Zambia

BEST BANK
Standard Chartered Bank Zambia

Zambia has emerged as one of the most conspicuous sub-Saharan African success stories in recent years. Real GDP grew by 5% in 2004, the fifth successive year of solid economic expansion and well ahead of official expectations, which were closer to 3.5%. Inflation, meanwhile, was 17.5% versus an expected 20%.

That healthy economic backdrop has supported earnings for foreign and local banks alike, with Zambia National Commercial Bank (Zanaco) – which the government is committed to privatizing – recently reporting profits in the first quarter of 2005 of K15 billion ($3.2 million), compared with K16 billion for the whole of 2004.

But Standard Chartered claims this year's award for best bank in Zambia, posting a net increase in fee income of 17% in 2004, with loans and advances expanding by 16.3%. The bank has also rolled out several new products in the Zambian market in the past 12 to 18 months, launching the Visa Electron card in 2004 and opening the country's first call centre providing customers with access to the bank's services via a toll-free number.

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