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Before Zambia attained its political independence in 1964, it was known as Northern Rhodesia. The country was historically linked to the British South African Company (BSAC), a chartered company from 1911 to 1924.

During this time, Cecil Rhodes, the owner of the BSAC embarked on a grand idea to expand the British Empire north of the Limpopo and started an ambitious project to link Cape to Cairo through the construction of a road and rail network. The road and rail link opened Northern Rhodesia to economic activities in agriculture and mining, creating a smooth passage for early European settlers.

By 1924 the administration of Northern Rhodesia was transferred to the British Colonial Government which ruled the country for 40 years up to October 24, 1964. The entry of Commercial banking in Northern Rhodesia followed activities of the BSAC and the influx of early European settlers who needed banking services and pre-dates, Zambia’s attainment of independence on October 24, 1964.


Commercial banking also predates the creation of the Southern Rhodesia Currency Board which was set up in 1938 and later known as the Bank of Northern Rhodesia the forerunner of the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) which was created on August 7, 1964.


Standard Chartered Bank operating as Standard Bank then was the first bank in Zambia to venture into the unbanked territory of Northern Rhodesia. It opened its first branch to the public in 1905 in Kalomo district of Southern province, which was then the capital city of Northern Rhodesia.


Only three banks were in operation when Zambia attained its independent status in 1964, namely Standard Chartered, Barclays, and ANZ Glindlays bank. By 1970, there were five banks operating in Zambia, Standard Chartered, Barclays Bank, ANZ Glindlays, Commercial Bank of Zambia, and National Commercial Bank.

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