NICO Group celebrates 50th Anniversary in dazzling and spectacular style along streets of Blantyre

Popping up the champagne 

* Within the 50-year journey, NICO Group has encountered some twist and turns— GMD Vizenge Kumwenda

* But overall the company has successfully stamped its mark as the country’s leading financial service provider

* All these achievements have been noticed by our clients because we have well dedicated employees

* Who always strive to satisfy all the customers to the best of their capabilities

* Going forward, we want to assure our customers that we’ll add an extra gear by improving on our services to meet all their needs

Victor Singano Jnr, Correspondent & Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express

Malawi’s largest financial services institution, NICO Group commemorated its 50 years of existence and operations on Friday in a remarkable razzmatazz and dazzling style along the streets of Blantyre that culminated to a spectacular red carpet gala dinner at Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel.


The celebrations commenced with a parade from Ginnery Corner — where one of NICO Group subsidiaries, NBS Bank is headquartered — via Masauko Chipembere Highway past its headquarters at the refurbished NICO House before reaching its climax at Sunbird Hotel for the red carpet gala dinner for staff members, clients, shareholders and all other stakeholders.

The colourful parade stopped onlookers in their tracks along the streets as they marveled and appreciated NICO Group’s presence in the country, whose financial services range from life & general insurance, pension administration, banking, asset & capital management; infrastructure development & property management; hospitality, technology — while enjoying some remarkable business footprints outside the country.

NICO Group Managing Director, Vizenge Kumwenda — well-dressed up for the auspicious occasion under the theme: ‘Stronger Together’ — said he was such a proud man to be part of achieving this 50th Anniversary milestone, saying it is not a mean achievement in as far as the business environment is concerned.

Kumwenda said within the 50-year journey, they have encountered some twist and turns but overall the company has successfully stamped its mark as the country’s leading financial service provider.

He acknowledged that it hasn’t been an easy journey to success taking cognizance of the competition on the market and many economic challenges the company and the country as a whole faced throughout the years.

NICO Group MD Vizenge Kumwenda

“This anniversary means a lot to us because within these years we’ve seen companies being established but they never managed to stay for more than 5 years,” he said. “This is a sign that we are the biggest company on the land, offering reasonable services.

“We must also admit that within the journey, our clients have benefited substantially and as we all know that since the outbreak of CoVID-19, the business environment has not been easy globally but at NICO, we have managed to keep our customers and provide them with better services throughout.

“All these achievements have been noticed by our clients because we have well dedicated employees, who always strive to satisfy all the customers to the best of their capabilities.

“We want to assure our customers that going forward, we’ll add an extra gear by improving on our services so that we should meet all their needs,” Kumwenda said.

Dedicated employees

Former Cabinet Minister, Felix Mlusu, who also served at NICO Group for 41 years, said he was very excited to see the company celebrating its Golden Jubilee.

Mlusu, who served at NICO as managing director and group chief executive officer from 1994 to December 31, 2016, said the company started its operations with small steps but through tenacity of its management and dedicated employees, NICO became a multi-national institution — the first company that took Malawi flag by investing in various African countries.

This, he said, shows that there is indeed a great growth achieved by the company which has greatly touched almost all the sectors of the Malawi economy.

NICO Group response towards COVID-19 and vaccination uptake

The celebrations were scheduled for December last year but was shifted to March due to the CoVID-19 Omicron variant.

Both the parade and gala dinner were spiced up with different performances which included Gule Wamkulu traditional dances, live band music from celebrated veteran musician Lucius ‘Soldier’ Banda and Zembani Band, Phyzix as well as upcoming dancehall star Eli Njuchi just to mention a few.


The 50th anniversary celebration was officially launched in June with media visibility campaign as one of engaging with the public that it is geared to continue being the most diverse financial services firm in Malawi.

At the launch, GMD Kumwenda had said the CoVID-19 period since 2019 had been a challenging period for businesses the world over but as businesses, they were forced to be more creative in delivering their services.

He had said despite the new challenge, NICO Group has managed to continue to deliver superior financial products to customers and maintained its entire staff.

The One also involves rehabilitation of NICO’s historical buildings

“This is no mean achievement in these trying times and is largely due to the strength and stability of the Group, which includes NBS Bank and Eris Properties,” he had said.

Kumwenda said NICO Group’s diversity is the source of their strength and competitive advantage that attract customers’ continued patronage in all their businesses that minimized the impact of the CoVID-19 pandemic on their businesses thus far.

He had said 2021 was a special year in the NICO journey, saying “this golden anniversary is a very important milestone” taking cognizance that “there are many stories of brands that were perceived to be strong when they started out, only to fail to withstand various pressures presented by the markets within which they were operating.

“It is, therefore, quite an achievement for NICO to still be standing strong, or perhaps even stronger, after 5 decades.”

NICO is the pioneer in financial services in many regards as it was the first company to list on the Malawi Stock Exchange in 1996 and is the first Malawian multinational when it established NICO Zambia in 1997.

It is also the first to build a multipurpose shopping centre, Chichiri Mall, in 2000 and the first to list its subsidiary company, ICON Properties, on the Malawi Stock Exchange, after a 10-year period of no new listings in 2019.

Kumwenda emphasises that this pioneering spirit has led the NICO brand to become a major contributor to national development in Malawi, with activities that include several watershed projects.

“One of the most recent of these is NBS Bank’s role as the financier of the new Interchange in Lilongwe. We are proud to be an integral part of Malawi’s story and as we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we are also looking ahead, with plans to grow our businesses as well as to charter into new territories.

Recently launched Innovation Hub designed internally

Corporate social responsibility

“In this quest, the aim is to continue to provide relevant, affordable and innovative financial solutions to our customers – both at an individual, corporate and national level.”

In unveiling ‘The One’ media campaign, NICO Group’s Corporate Affairs Manager Mbumba Mlia-Ndasauka said the concept was to position NICO as “first choice in financial services as it portrays the brand’s strength and stability”.

The concept also portrays the diversity and relevance of the brand in terms of product provision at every stage of customers’ lives as NICO is ‘The One’ that has been helping people reach their dreams.

NICO is ‘The One’ that has been providing diverse financial solutions since 1971; NICO is ‘The One’ that secures lifetime experiences by providing relevant solutions at every stage of a person’s life.

NICO is ‘The One’ leading in the financial market — first on MSE listing, through NICO Holdings plc, NBS Bank Plc, Icon Properties; NICO is ‘The One’ that changed the shopping experience in Malawi through building the Chichiri Mall and NICO is ‘The One’ that stepped beyond borders as the first Malawian multinational company.