Micro-finance guru, James Msipa, believes that access to financial services is a basic human right and introducing micro-insurance can encourage a savings culture.
This can be sustained through value addition of crops to rural farmers to enable them to get maximum return, as well as provision of financial literacy training and mentorship to micro-entrepreneurs and rural business people.
“When I get back from the Washington Fellowship, one of the key things I will push for is access to financial services,” says James. He is one of 30 Zimbabwean youth selected for the new flagship exchange program of President Obama’s first Young African Leaders Initiative.
The Managing Director of Quest Financial Services, a microfinance company that he founded in 2011, will spend six weeks at Clark University in Atlanta. He knows Atlanta is home to about 16 Fortune 500 companies, including Coca-Cola, IBM, UPS, and Delta Airlines, and he is keen to “learn a lot in terms of leadership and what it entails to grow a business from a mere start-up to a global business.”
He says the experience at Clark will equip him with the skills necessary to identify community problems and assist in coming up with innovative business solutions to address these challenges.
He is a firm believer of the triple bottom line, a business concept that states that the best run companies are modeled on achieving social (people), environmental (planet) and economic successes (profit).
He has a manifesto that he believes can transform lives of individuals struggling to make ends meet. “One of the main things that I will do is to transform our population from poor, underserved and financially excluded to a thriving middle class through access to financial services for economically viable business projects for the rural community, peri-urban, urban entrepreneurs and farmers.”
He believe programs such as the Washington Fellowship “provide a permanent umbilical cord for continuous information sharing and mentoring from leaders in government and in business and hence sustainability.”
James’ previous experience includes assignments at Untu Microfinance and as a money market trader for TN Bank, ZABG, and Trust Bank.
He is the immediate-past chairman of the Microfinance Pension Fund and sits on the board of Action Against Poverty, a local trust which runs livelihood programs in Zimbabwe. James holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Midlands State University and has a certificate in banking from the Institute of Bankers.
Her primary role was in market research, financial product development and marketing.
BACKGROUND ON THE YALI WASHINGTON FELLOWSHIP
• Watch the video message from President Obama encouraging young African leaders to join the YALI Network.
• For more information on YALI go to http://youngafricanleaders.state.gov/yali/
• For more information on the Washington Fellowship, including video of President Obama’s announcement of the program go to http://youngafricanleaders.state.gov/washington-fellows/