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    See Impact Icon

    In line with our purpose, we believe that financial services done well – with conscience and conscientiousness – can improve the lives of Africans by addressing the pertinent issues that face the continent.


    What is our ‘SEE impact’ all about?

    Our success is intrinsically linked to the societies in which we operate and is a crucial component of our business strategy. We play an important role in society and SEE is about how we best understand and strategically maximise our value creation impact in Africa. As financial intermediaries, it is our purpose to drive sustainable growth and empower Africans through being a catalyst for economic change. SEE helps us understand if we are achieving our purpose, building trust among our clients and our other stakeholders. Managing our SEE value driver helps us to:

    • Identify business opportunities arising from societal, economic and environmental challenges.
    • Weigh-up commercial versus societal impacts and make appropriate decisions on this basis – delivering what matters to our clients while enhancing the trust, reputation and sustainability of the group.
    • Provide a balanced and objective account of our impacts to our diverse stakeholders.
    • Raise awareness across the group of the SEE impacts – positive and negative – that arise from our business activities.

    What success looks like

    • Generating economic value in a way that produces value for society.
    • Understanding our direct and indirect impacts on the societies, economies and environments in which we operate, predominantly through financing, and making more informed, responsible decisions as a result.

    How we measure our progress

    In 2017, we identified ten areas where we believe we can make a positive SEE impact. These areas were determined by identifying the overlap between our core business activities and the needs of Africa’s people, businesses and economies. We also considered the priority issues and targets contained in the UN’s Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and South Africa’s National Development Plan.

    We are refining our impact areas, to narrow them down for monitoring and to remove overlap. We have therefore focused on these six impact areas for 2018:

    • Financial inclusion
    • Job creation and enterprise development
    • Infrastructure
    • Africa trade and investment
    • Education and skills development
    • Employee development and training.

    Further refinement may result in changes to these impact areas.

    This section of our report highlights some key initiatives and their SEE impact. A broader and more detailed view of our contribution in each of these impact areas can be found in our Reporting to society which includes our environmental, social and governance (ESG) report, and an update on our progress on transformation in South Africa.

    Read more in our reporting to society suite


    • Implementing new solutions that improve access to finance for small businesses and entrepreneurs to enhance their growth and potential to create jobs, while managing the default risk which is generally high for these vulnerable clients.
    • Balancing the challenges posed by climate change, and the need to facilitate access to affordable energy to support economic growth and poverty alleviation.
    • Enabling the development of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects which require large tracts of land. Our decisions consider the most optimal strategies to mitigate environmental impacts and are always made on the strict proviso that human rights are upheld and applicable laws and regulations adhered to.
    • Finding ways to restructure debt for sectors impacted by climate change in a way that maintains the integrity of our loan book and the viability of our clients’ businesses.
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    • Accelerating inclusive economic growth, job creation, financial inclusion and transformation.
    • Contribution to and promotion of a just and equitable society.
    • Supporting small business.
    • Improving access to energy while managing potential environmental and social impacts.

    Raised by:

    Legislators, national governments, political parties and civil society groups.

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    • Contribute to job creation and enterprise development in countries of operation.
    • Deepen financial inclusion across Africa with appropriate digital offerings.
    • Balancing Africa’s power energy needs with the negative impact of climate change.
    • Adaptation and mitigation of climate change, particularly in relation to water in key sectors and markets.


    Our SME Incubator won the Southern Africa Start-up Award for Best Incubator/Accelerator Programme in Mozambique.

    Won the award for the most transformed bank in South Africa by the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals.

    Feenix – our student crowd-funding initiative for university students – won the Public Intellectual Influencer Brand Award at the 2018 Brand Summit South Africa and was recognised by Next Generation in their 2018 Innovation and Impact Research Report as a leading initiative.

    Received a Diamond Certificate of Appreciation for our contribution to the Ikusasa Financial Aid Programme and a Certificate of Appreciation for Feenix.


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    Financial inclusion

    What we are doing

    • Helping clients purchase a home.
    • Partnering with fintech companies to develop digital solutions that extend access to secure, affordable and reliable banking services, some accessible without a bank account.
    • Educating people on our financial products and services, and how to use them cost-effectively.
    • Consumer education programmes are run in several of our countries of operation.

    Challenges addressed

    • More than half of the adult population in Africa is excluded from the formal financial system.
    • Reliance of the low-income segment on cash and expensive service channels.
    • Low levels of awareness around insurance and pension products.

    Alignment to SDG:

    SDG 8.10 – Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all


    We partnered with the Buganda Land Board to provide an affordable financing solution that enables bibanja holders to acquire land titles. Repayment is over 24 months at a competitive interest rate. The land title can then be used by the holder as collateral to access financing for building or renovation projects.

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    South Africa

    • 726 clients received bank-funded training on managing their home ownership obligations.
    • 88% of clients in the affordable housing segment are managing their repayments and we are working with those who are showing signs of early financial distress (around 7%), providing them with various options, including debt moratorium, extended loan terms or reduced repayment. In 2018, 2 055 housing loans were restructured to keep families in their homes. Legal processes were started with 5% of our clients in default, after all alternative arrangements had been exhausted.
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    96 359 affordable housing clients assisted with purchasing a new home.

    Our affordable housing loan book1 is valued at around R25 billion with 4 958 new affordable home loans registered in 2018.

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    R108 billion – total value of home loans registered to over 189 000 historically disadvantaged clients in South Africa since 2013, of which R73.2 billion was registered for 103 000 women.

    At the end of 2018, the total value of new home loans registered for this client segment was R20.5 billion, with women accounting for R13 billion of this value.

    1 Affordable housing loans are loans to clients that earn a gross monthly income between R3 500 and R23 300.

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    Providing digital solutions

    Uhuru Banking (Tanzania)

    Offers pay-as-you-go banking with no monthly administration fee and a visa card which can be used globally.

    Instant Money Wallet (South Africa)

    A pay-as-you-go transactional product, which allows users to receive, store and send money using their mobile phones, as well as make purchases, including electricity and airtime. There is no cost for sending money between wallets.

    Mukhuru Money Transfer (Mozambique)

    Supports affordable transfers at a fixed rate of 10% (compared to the average of 16.3%) from South Africa to Mozambique. Transfers are collected at no cost from a branch.

    International Remittance (Nigeria)

    Allows foreign nationals to open bank accounts with Stanbic IBTC and transact from France, Germany, Israel and Italy at low cost and in real time.

    School Pay and Merchant Pay (Uganda)

    Supports the payment of school fees using a feature phone (able to access the internet but without the advanced functionality of a smartphone).

    Virtual Cards (South Africa)

    Facilitates online shopping using the mobile banking app, with an additional layer of security. The solution allows clients without credit cards to securely use online shopping sites.

    Empowering our clients to make informed financial decisions

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    • 60-minute Plugged: Beyond the Conversation sessions, led by prominent 16 to 25-year olds, reached students at six South African universities and covered entrepreneurship, financial literacy, financial management and work readiness. The sessions were also live streamed and tweeted to reach a broader audience.
    • Online Share Trading delivered 86 education sessions to promote investment on the stock exchange, reaching 13 080 people in South Africa.
    • Our Nigerian asset management business hosted 93 workshops on savings.

    WalletWise programme in South Africa

    During the year, we spent R120 million on the WalletWise programme, reaching around 490  000 people. The programme targets households with an income of less than R15 000 a month, the youth and people without formal bank accounts, particularly those living in rural and non-metro areas. It drives awareness on how to use financial services effectively and affordably and covers topics such as financial products, services and channels, client rights and responsibilities and how to bank safely.

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    Classroom-based training was also delivered to:

    1 600 aspiring entrepreneurs on the basic skills and tools needed to start a business in a peri-urban community.

    120 SME owners on streamlining operations and growing a business, including help with business plans, pricing and basic bookkeeping.
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    Job creation and enterprise development

    What we are doing

    • Helping small businesses access the tools and resources required to become sustainable. This includes working space, capacity building, access to new market opportunities and coaching and mentoring.
    • Providing financial products that meet the needs of SMEs and entrepreneurs, particularly products that address SME cash flow and working capital challenges

    Challenges addressed

    • Unemployment and job creation.
    • Challenges accessing finance given the high default risk associated with lending to SMEs.
    • Small business needs for convenient, real-time payment and account management solutions.

    Alignment to SDG:

    SDG 9.3 – Increase the access of small enterprises to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets

    Providing business development support to SMEs


    Launched an SME incubator, supporting and training 210 SMEs, 510 women entrepreneurs and business owners and over 2 000 young people.

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    Our SME incubator trained over 500 entrepreneurs, hosted a range of events that reached over 3 000 entrepreneurs and partnered with Lionesses of Africa to reach 660 women.

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    • The Kaduna-Stanbic IBTC Entrepreneurship Centre hosted enterprise workshops that reached over 8 000 business owners.
    • Held the Innovation Challenge for technology start-ups and product development teams and aimed at identifying and leveraging local financial solutions that meet client needs. The 2018 winner received USD15 000 and workspace at our premises with access to IT infrastructure for testing and development.
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    South Africa

    • Sponsored seminars to educate 68 medical professionals on how to run their practices more efficiently.
    • Awarded R1 million (USD71 600) to an entrepreneur in the 2018 My Fearless Next campaign, helping her advance a part-time side-line to a fully-fledged business and inviting her onto our entrepreneur development programme.
    • Sponsored the attendance of 20 SMEs at the UN’s ITU Telecom World, a global platform for accelerating information and communications technology innovations. All participants received training and financial support in preparation for the event, followed by six months of mentoring after the event.
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    R30 million invested in growing and developing small enterprises. We worked with more than 12 000 small businesses across Africa.

    Developing relevant products for SMEs


    • Provides invoice discounting loans (short-term working capital loans) raised on up to 70% of an invoice accepted by a reputable company.
    • SlydePay allows SMEs to accept digital payments from mobile money wallets.
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    Lesotho, South Africa, eSwatini and Zambia

    Instant Money Bulk Payments enables digital payments to employees and suppliers, even if they don’t have bank accounts, eliminating the need to deal in cash and reducing security risks. This will be enabled for more African countries going forward.

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    Supported around 500 Uber Chap Chap drivers – in a collaboration between Stanbic Kenya, Uber Kenya, Suzuki Japan and CMC Motors in Nairobi – to purchase their own fuel-efficient 800cc Suzuki Altos vehicles. Loans are advanced to drivers with high driver ratings, supporting entrepreneurship and safer mobility.

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    South Africa

    Committed R300 million (USD21.4 million) over three years in a cooperation agreement with the Limpopo Provincial Treasury to provide access to funding for SMEs that have secured government contracts but need access to finance to execute the projects.

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    Launched Biashara Direct, a digital solution that enables the transfer of funds, payments and account activity monitoring using a USSD phone. It also provides small businesses with access to a dedicated business banker to assist with financial advice via phone or email.

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    In 2018, 29% of total measured procurement spend was with black-owned SMEs and 17% with black women-owned SMEs. A total of 123 suppliers participated in our supplier development programme, of which 60 received procurement opportunities worth almost R102.7 million (USD7.3 million).

    One example is Standard Insurance Limited’s (SIL) success in growing its pool of locally-based, black-owned service providers, ranging from panel beaters and electricians to plumbers and builders. Pleasingly, an agreement has been reached with one black-owned enterprise to supply around 30% of SIL’s electric geyser requirements. Some 95% of SIL’s insurance service providers are now BBBEE compliant.

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    What we are doing

    • Working with African governments, development finance institutions and other commercial banks to mobilise funding and structure appropriate infrastructure funding instruments.
    • Placing increasing focus on renewable energy projects.

    1African Development Bank.

    Challenges addressed

    • An estimated investment of USD170 billion¹ a year needed in infrastructure development – to service Africa’s rapidly growing and urbanising population and to support the regional integration needed to enable efficient trade of goods and services and create economies of scale.
    • Lack of capacity in most African capital markets to finance large-scale infrastructure projects.
    • Rising electricity prices and unstable supply.

    Alignment to SDG:

    SDG 7 – Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

    SDG 9 – Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

    SDG 15 – Conserve and restore the use of terrestrial ecosystems, halt deforestation, reduce the loss of natural habitats and biodiversity

    Financing infrastructure development


    • Part of a consortium, together with ICBC, led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to finance the first phase of a USD1 billion new container terminal at Tema Port, which will establish Ghana as a leading maritime hub in West Africa able to service some of the world’s largest container ships. We are also working with Meridian Port Services to implement paperless payments using a web portal.
    • Provided a USD100 million loan facility to grow the telecommunications sector through the launch of Airtel-Tigo.
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    South Africa

    Provided financing for two desalination plants producing seven million litres of potable water a day, improving water security for businesses and homes in the city of Cape Town.

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    USD2.3 billion invested in energy projects in Africa since 2012, with 86% directed at renewable energy projects. In 2018, we financed 472 megawatts of renewable energy in South Africa and 37 megawatts in Namibia.
    To date, 984 900 homes in South Africa receive renewable power from Standard Bank-financed projects.

    South African Government’s REIPPP programme

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    Mandated lead arranger, underwriter and hedge provider for the 33 megawatt Wesley-Ciskei wind project in the Eastern Cape. Together, a BEE company and a group of black small-scale farmers, have a 17.5% shareholding in the project. The project will be developed in partnership with affected landowners and farmers in the former Ciskei homeland and a non-profit organisation will ensure that a substantial portion of project revenues are invested to support community upliftment projects.

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    Sole mandated lead arranger and underwriter for Scatec Solar ASA’s three 75 megawatt solar PV projects. The construction phase of each project is expected to generate jobs for the local community.

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    Provided financing for the 102 megawatt Copperton wind farm in the Northern Cape , which has a 40% BEE shareholding, of which 5% is held in trust for the local community. Some 25% of the employees on this project are from the local communities.

    Environmental and social (E&S) risk management

    Alten Hardap Solar PV Project, Namibia

    We were the co-mandated lead arranger and underwriter with Proparco, a French development finance institution, on a funding structure for the 37 megawatt Mariental solar PV plant. The project will increase Namibia’s power generation capacity by 7%, avoid 33 000 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions every year and lower the cost of electricity due to lower credit risk costs and competitive terms secured under the long-term electricity sale agreement.

    Prior to pre-credit application, we reviewed Alten Solar Power (Hardap) E&S risk assessment and commissioned an independent environmental audit against IFC performance standards. An E&S management system was developed to address gaps, mainly in the construction phase relating to labour recruitment and accommodation. Quarterly independent E&S audits were conducted during this phase to ensure compliance with required standards and commitments. Corrective action plans were put in place to address the audit findings. An independent audit will be undertaken during the first year of operation to ensure continued E&S compliance, and ongoing monitoring and reporting will continue for the duration of the transaction.

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    Africa trade and investment

    What we are doing

    • Facilitating African trade and investment, particularly in the Africa-China corridor, working with our strategic partner, ICBC.
    • Developing digital solutions that support intra-African trade and improve access to trade finance.

    Challenges addressed

    • Increasing Africa’s share of global investment flows to drive economic growth and job creation.

    Alignment to SDG:

    SDG 8 – Promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all

    Advancing trade finance processes

    • Developing proof of concept tests using blockchain to digitise bills of lading in the trade documents chain.
    • Partnering with fintech companies operating trade contingent and asset risk distribution services, to help our clients manage multiple categories of risk, including counterparty credit risk, country risk, currency risk and operational risk.
    • Providing strategic guidance to regional organisations working to reduce trade barriers, as well as costly and inefficient processes, through the use of digital platforms.
    • Working with the International Chamber of Commerce in developing an industry-wide sustainable trade process.

    Providing seamless solutions for cross-border transactions

    Hosting of ICBC’s ‘I Go Global’ credit card reward scheme for Chinese travellers in South Africa, Kenya and Ghana. The scheme has provided transnational services to nearly 100 000 credit card holders since inception in November 2017. It is being rolled out to other African markets.

    SHYFT, our global digital wallet for Android and iOS, supports foreign currency purchasing and trade, from a mobile device.

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    A sponsored trip for 61 clients from nine African countries to the inaugural China International Import Expo provided them with the opportunity to secure export contracts with Chinese companies.

    Chinese Yuan Renminbi capacity in all our African subsidiaries and a 24-hour regulatory-compliant and risk-managed foreign exchange service which includes the Renminbi.

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    USD15 billion

    in financing raised for our clients in Africa in 2018.

    More detail on client focus

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    Education and skills development

    What we are doing

    • Improving access to quality education, from early childhood development through to tertiary education.
    • Providing first time work experience and learning opportunities.

    Challenges addressed

    • Student access to funding.
    • Lack of experience being a barrier to entry into the workplace.

    Alignment to SDG:

    SDG 4 – Inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all

    Helping students access tertiary education

    In Africa Regions ,we have funded the bursaries of 93 tertiary students and the Standard Bank Chairman’s Scholarship has, to date, supported 33 high-achieving graduates from eight African countries to pursue post-graduate studies at top international universities.

    South Africa

    • Supported 296 tertiary students with a total funding value of R35.7 million (130 bursaries were directly awarded and managed by Standard Bank and the balance were funded through the Ikusasa Financial Aid Programme). In 2018, 13 Standard Bank-funded bursary students were recruited as permanent employees.
    • Feenix Trust, our crowd-funding initiative which enables individuals and enterprises to donate money directly to students, has raised R22 million, covering the fees of 800 students since its launch in June 2017.
    • Our surety lending solution assists students who do not qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme but are also unable to access bank loans due to the inability to provide surety against a loan. With a capital base of R20 million (USD1.4 million) from the Discovery Foundation as surety, we have disbursed loans totalling R15.7 million (USD1.1 million) to 148 students at the University of Pretoria’s medical school.
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    Providing workplace experience in South Africa

    • Over 5 600 learners have participated in our internship and learnership programmes since 2007. The programmes build a bridge for young people entering the workplace and address racial, gender and geographical challenges to educational advancement while developing the skills needed by the group. In 2018, 815 unemployed young people completed the learnership programme.
    • Since 2012, our partnership with the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator has placed 681 unemployed youth from disadvantaged backgrounds in 12-month learnerships. More than 90% have successfully completed their course with 15% now permanent employees within the group.
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    R141 million corporate social investment spend in South Africa with a strong focus in South Africa on improving access to better-quality education and improving educational outcomes.
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    Employee development and training

    What we are doing

    • Building and retaining local skills in our countries of operation, to support a strong succession pipeline of future leaders and develop critical skills, while helping our people reach their full potential and advance their careers.

    Challenges addressed

    • Fierce competition for specialised skills.

    Alignment to SDG:

    SDG 4 – Inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all

    Developing our leaders


    To remain competitive in a rapidly evolving environment, we need to continually review our operating models – automating processes, encouraging clients to use digital channels, and making greater use of IA and machine learning to deliver enhanced value to our clients.

    These changes will impact the size of our workforce and the skills we need, as well as how we engage with our current and potential clients. During 2018, we identified a need for the creation of new capabilities and roles within IT, which includes cloud engineering, data science and analytics, cybersecurity, and APIs. This will create 180 new-generation IT positions within the bank. However, it has also resulted in the loss of some existing positions, mainly at manager and executive level. Some of those affected are retraining to step into new positions, some are moving into other parts of the bank, and some have found alternative employment.

    While we are optimistic about the potential for AI to vastly improve efficiency and productivity for particular processes, we remain a people-centric organisation, committed to serving our customers with empathy, and developing and delivering solutions based on individual needs and circumstances. We are working with our employees to help them develop the skills and capabilities they need as the world of work changes. Programmes delivered in 2018 included empowering our employees in operational roles to become automation champions, equipping our people with the ability to experiment and problem-solve with speed, and building digital skills within particular business contexts.

    Managing and mitigating E&S risk

    The group environmental & social risk and finance (GESRF) team is responsible for ensuring that all environmental, social and related risks are correctly identified, evaluated and managed, at multiple points in the transaction life cycle.

    We apply national laws and standards and our exceptions list when assessing all transactions. In addition, and where applicable, we apply the IFC performance standards and the Equator Principles (EP).

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    Our application of the Equator Principles framework

    The Equator Principles (EP) is a global risk management framework for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in project-related transactions. Standard Bank currently chairs the committee of the Equator Principles Association. EP financing institutions categorise projects proposed for financing based on the magnitude of potential environmental and social risks and impacts (Category A, B or C). The GESRF Team provides the categorisation for EP transactions and is involved in the ongoing due diligence to be conducted for all Category A and B projects. GESRF applies the EP and associated IFC Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability (Performance Standards) and the World Bank Group Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines (EHS Guidelines) to all relevant project-related financing.

    In 2018, no active EP deals were terminated due to E&S noncompliance. In one case, we are exploring remedies linked to E&S compliance timelines to promote E&S compliance.


    Total number of Equator Principle projects that reached financial close within 2018

    ENGAGING WITH POLICY MAKERS Category B Medium risk

    Total number of EP projects financed


    Read more in our ESG report online


    The achievement of sustainable future growth will be driven by our ability to develop commercially sound ways to address Africa’s socioeconomic growth and development challenges and deliver positive impact for the economies and societies in which we do business, while mitigating harm to the natural environment.

    Our SEE impact focus in 2019 will be guided by the following priorities:

    • Find ways to expand our business support interventions through our SME incubation initiatives.
    • Launch BizFlex, a quick and easy access short-term loan solution for SMEs with flexible repayments based on percentage of revenue earned.
    • Improve our consumer education around insurance and responsible lending.
    • Develop a climate change strategy based on our data to identify sectors and geographies likely to be heavily impacted by climate change and assist our clients operating in these sectors and geographies to mitigate and adapt to this risk.
    • Develop a water strategy to fully understand our exposure to water-related risks.
    • Work to identify the barriers to the advancement of women and how these differ across business area, region and country. These insights will be used to inform the design of impactful interventions.