British International Investment

Zambia National Commercial Bank Plc

Southern AfricaFinancial services

Zambia National Commercial Bank, commonly known as Zanaco, founded in 1969 and listed on the Lusaka Securities Exchange, serves retail customers, large corporations, agri-business and public sector clients. Zanaco is a leading indigenous bank in Zambia and one of the largest and oldest banks in the country.

Our investment

Description of the investment.

We have provided a loan to Zambia National Commercial Bank Plc (Zanaco) in two tranches, the first of which of $30 million, to boost climate finance and entrepreneurship in the country. The funds will be used by Zanaco as a directed lending line to provide finance for MSMEs and climate-related projects in Zambia.

Impact information

Applies to investments made from 2019 onwards. The tabs in this section define what we expect to achieve through the investment, assessing the potential impact of the investment against six dimensions of impact. You can find more details on our methodology of assessing impact here.


  • Sustain and potentially improve economic opportunities by increasing access to credit for MSMEs.
  • Increase access to energy and avoid/reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing finance to climate finance sectors.



Our loan will enable Zanaco to extend further credit to i) MSMEs; this will enable businesses to access financing to support business expansion and resilience; and ii) climate-related projects in its pipeline, resulting in access to energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.


Stakeholder Geography Characteristics
MSME owners, employees, suppliers, customers


MSME lending aligns with BII's MSME definition.



Climate lending aligns with BII’s climate taxonomy, and is predominantly in renewable energy assets.

How much?

Scale Depth/Duration

Up to $30 million in financing to the SME segment and at least $20 million in financing to the climate segment over an 18-month deployment period.

  • Depth: Expected to be varied given range of business and climate projects supported. Impact is expected to be deeper for new-to-credit MSMEs and first-time climate borrowers.
  • Duration: Loan tenors within 1-5 years in duration. The impact of these loans on firm owners, employees, suppliers and customers may take longer to materialise.


  • Financial additionality: Capital is not offered in sufficient quantity nor on the same terms from the commercial market.
  • Value additionality: Support for developmental strategies, women's economic empowerment, climate change as well as improvement of processes, practices and standards.


Evidence Risk
  • Inability to classify, originate and report assets appropriately.
Endurance Risk
  • Ensuring growth beyond the period of our loan.

Impact score

Impact score (at point of investment)

The Impact Score is a tool to help us manage our performance against our strategic impact objectives. It is designed to incentivise investments that support our productive, sustainable, and inclusive objectives. You can find out more here.

The Impact Score is published for investments made from 2022 onwards. The Impact Scores are calculated at the point of investment. We publish the Impact Scores of new investments annually, once the information has been externally assured by an independent third party.


Environmental and social information

  • Environmental and social summary

    A high-level description of the environmental and social aspects of the investment. This may include a summary of key environmental and social risks identified during environmental and social due diligence (ESDD); key elements of an environmental and social action plan (ESAP); or ways in which we plan to support the investee improve environmental and social standards, such as through their environmental and social management system (ESMS); as well as any other priority areas agreed with the investee.

  • Environmental and social risk

    A risk category rating, which indicates the level of environmental and social risk associated with an investment. For an explanation of the categorisations used, see here. We consistently provide an environmental and social risk category for all investments screened from 2023 onwards.

Environmental and social summary

We agreed on an ESAP focused on strengthening the integration of environmental and social risk management in the bank's credit cycle, hiring an environmental and social specialist to implement the ESMS and ensuring that environmental and social requirements for end-borrowers are proportionate to risk and align with international standards.

Reporting and Complaints Mechanism

The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism allows anyone outside BII to report alleged breaches of the business integrity or environmental and social provisions of BII’s Policy on Responsible Investing. This includes breaches made by BII, a BII investee, or a portfolio company of a fund in which BII has invested. The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism Rules are available here. Reports and complaints can be submitted by email to [email protected] or by mail. See more details on our Reporting and Complaints Mechanism here.

For any other general enquiries contact us at [email protected]

  • Key facts

    Last updated

    When the last quarterly update of the website database occurred.

    June 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.


    The current status of the investment (green flag for active and red flag for exited).


    The geographical region where the country is located. We currently invest in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Caribbean. In 2023, BII’s investment mandate was extended allowing it to invest in regional funds linked to Ukraine, with the majority of activity expected to begin post-war. Investments outside these regions were made prior to 2012 under previous investment mandates.

    Southern Africa

    The countries where the investment delivers impact. Where impact is delivered in multiple countries, this is indicated.


    We prioritise those sectors that facilitate development and need our capital the most. Our priority sectors contribute towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They range from investing in the power infrastructure that will provide people with better access to electricity, to investing in financial institutions that direct capital to the individuals and businesses that need it the most.

    Financial services

    We provide capital in the following ways: directly – through direct equity, direct debt, guarantees and other non-intermediated financial instruments; and indirectly – principally through investment funds.

    For direct investments and fund investments, this is the date BII committed capital to the investments. This is typically the date on which legal agreements are signed by all parties.

    For the portfolio companies of our fund investments, this is the date (either the month or the quarter) on which the fund committed capital to the portfolio company.

    For direct equity investments, this is the date at which British International Investment exited the investment.

    For debt investments, this is the date at which the final debt repayment was made.

    For funds, this is the date at which the fund was terminated.

    For underlying fund investments, this is the date at which the fund manager exited the investment.

    The total amount committed, per financial instrument, per investment, on the date BII becomes subject to a binding legal obligation to provide funding or assume a contingent liability. This information is provided in US dollars.

    For direct investments, this is the amount that BII has committed to the business or project. For fund investments, this is the amount BII has committed to the fund.

    The currency in which the investment was made.

    Investment type :
    Start date :
    December 2022
    Amount :
    Currency of investment :

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    Climate finance

    Indicates whether the investment is climate finance qualified or partially climate finance qualified and the type of climate finance (adaptation, mitigation or both). We define climate finance using the multilateral development bank (MDB) and the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) Common Principles climate finance methodology. See Common Principles for Climate Mitigation Finance Tracking and Common Principles for Climate Change Adaptation Finance Tracking. We provide the climate finance qualification and type for commitments from 2020 onwards, which is when we launched our Climate Change Strategy.

    Partially qualified
    Climate finance type:
    2X Gender Finance

    Indicates whether the investment is ‘2X qualified’ using the 2X Challenge criteria. You can find out more here. It only applies to investments made from 2018 onwards, when the 2X Challenge was first launched.

    Fully qualified

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