ZB Bank has launched a $1 million loan facility for informal traders in a bid to ease liquidity problems.
By Business Reporter
Under the facility, traders can access between $100 and $500, which is payable over a week.
Speaking at the launch of the facility yesterday, ZB Bank acting managing director Shadowsight Chiganze said the introduction of the facility was an effort to remain relevant to the economic needs of the informal sector and encourage financial inclusion.
Chiganze said the facility comes on the back of the bank’s informal trader savings account which was launched last year.
“Through the informal trader savings account, it was established that traders have need for some short-term bridging finance that allows them to stock their products, which in most cases are fast moving. The loan would also give them room to increase their business.
“This shift in focus from the traditional lending only to large corporates and to small and medium enterprises also follows extensive research and wide consultations with relevant stakeholders and interest groups advocating for greater focus and participation by business and in particular banks in informal markets,” he said.
Chiganze said the first phase of the facility would be at Siya So in Mbare, Harare, where a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed between the bank and Harare Home Industries’ Association and thereafter, the facility would spread to other areas.
According to official statistics, the country has over $4 billion that is unbanked.
The financial sector is still battling with issues of confidence as many people lost money during the Zimbabwe dollar era.
More than three-quarters of the country’s population is employed in the informal sector while 11% of the population is employed in the formal sector.
Despite the closure of the companies, the country’s unemployment statistics are at 11%, according to the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency.