Standard Bank Group is donating five fully-equipped container classrooms to schools as part of the group's ongoing commitment to promoting education. Africa's biggest lender by assets and market value believes that investment in education is one of the best ways to secure South Africa's economic future.
"Along with the benefits of freedom comes great responsibility and as a responsible corporate citizen, Standard Bank hopes to continue its effort to create a more inclusive economy through the promotion of financial inclusion, Black Economic Empowerment and education," says Sim Tshabalala, Chief Executive, Standard Bank Group.
"To mark 20 years of democracy in South Africa and help build on the achievements of the country, we are donating five container classrooms to schools in need. Each classroom can accommodate between 20 and 25 children and will be used to support early childhood education for pre-school learners, providing them with a firm foundation for their journey through life."
Since 1994, Standard Bank Group has developed from a financial services provider whose activities were largely confined to South Africa's borders, to a group whose operations now span 20 nations across the African continent.
"We have forged strong relationships with the global community and with our fellow Africans, strengthening and extending regional political and economic institutions. Standard Bank is proud to play a role in this economic transformation by investing in infrastructure development, facilitating trade and by providing financial solutions that link South Africa to the vibrant economies of the rest of Africa and the wider world," says Mr Tshabalala. "We are proud to be a real economy bank in a democratic South Africa and we are committed to working with all South Africans to strengthen the social compact and implement the National Development Plan (NDP) vision."
As part of its ongoing investment in educational initiatives, in 2014 Standard Bank Group will also be partnering with the National Education Collaboration Trust, an initiative that intervenes at district level to improve educational outcomes in South Africa. Other programmes include a bursary scheme, which currently funds over 70 students at various universities across South Africa, and a foundational literacy programme targeting learners in Grade R to Grade 3.
"We have a direct interest in the quality of education. In the long run, economic growth depends heavily on innovation and education," says Mr Tshabalala. Nevertheless, South Africa still has a long way to go and Standard Bank Group remains committed to helping the nation achieve its development goals. "For far too many people, the benefits of political freedom have not translated into economic opportunities. To advance the aspirations of our young democracy, we must now focus on building a more inclusive private sector and a more accountable public sector, precisely as described in the NDP - itself another achievement of which we should be justifiably proud," says Mr Tshabalala.
For more on Standard Bank Group's work in communities, see www.standardbank.com/sustainability.
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