HARARE – The Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank Limited has opened over 55 000 accounts and has disbursed loans over RTGS25 000 since it started operating at the end of June 2017, the bank has revealed.
In 2016, The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) launched the National Financial Inclusion Strategy which was targeted at improving financial access to the under-served and marginalised population.
At the time, woman, smallholder farmers, small-to-medium enterprises and youth accounted for the bulk of the economically active population but were significantly financially excluded.
This led to the creation of banks which include the Empower bank and the Zimbabwe Women`s Bank, to make sure that these past marginalised groups access financial products.
The finance institution said it had made headways in terms of providing financial services to the under banked female population.
“In terms of reaching out to the marginalised, what we have done in spite of the fact that we are very knew on the market… we have managed to open over 55 000 accounts and we have reached out to 21 000 women on the accounts we have opened to date. We have also disbursed loans worth RTGS$25 000,” said the bank.
According to the FinScope Consumer Survey of 2014, 23 percent of Zimbabweans are financially excluded (do not use financial products, to manage their financial matters) as eight percent rely only on informal financial products or services, 30 percent used bank services while 39 percent used other formal non-bank services
The survey showed that 74 percent of the country`s population was unbanked as indications pointed out that could not afford an account.
At the time, low incomes resulting in the inability to maintain the minimum balances required by banking institutions, were assessed to be the major reasons for low savings and the high rate of financial exclusion in the economy.