The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has launched the financial inclusion strategy which is aimed at fostering economic and social development in the country.
BY BUSINESS REPORTER
Speaking at the official launch, Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president Sam Malaba said the statistics highlighted in the Finscope Consumer Survey Report were a cause for concern for all policymakers and stakeholders as a high number of people were financially excluded.
“If we are to address the issue of financial inclusion holistically, it is imperative that agriculture and in particular agriculture irrigation infrastructure be given the highest priority in resource allocation for food security and poverty reduction,” Malaba said.
As of 2014, the World Bank estimated that nearly two billion people, or 38% of adults in the world, have no access to formal financial services, and 73% of the poor were unbanked
In Zimbabwe, 70% of the people reside in the rural areas and 66% of households were involved in farming with almost half of them farming for consumption.
According to the 2014 Finscope Consumer Survey Report, 30% of the adult population was banked. 70% of the adult population was unbanked. The major barrier cited for not banking relate to monetary reasons (cash or affordability). Some 74% claimed that they do not need it whilst only 10% indicated that they could maintain minimum balances and 7% cited bank charges as being too high, furtermore,76% of the adult population earned $200 per month or less.
According to the Zimbabwe National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2016—2020, the development and implementation of the national financial inclusion strategy for Zimbabwe was aimed at ensuring the existence of an inclusive financial sector that broadens access to and use of financial services by all with the view of engendering social and economic development.
“There is growing evidence that national financial inclusion strategies are now seen as essential by many countries, as they provide a clear national vision, a widely accepted strategic framework and a robust organisational structure to facilitate the development and implementation of coordinated and sound policy reforms,” the strategy report read.
According to the report, national financial inclusion strategies provide an important opportunity to introduce evidence based priorities, better resourced and more comprehensive approach to expanding access and usage of financial services.