RBZ Second Financial Inclusion Strategy Targets Women, Youths

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By Alois Vinga

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is working on a second National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) which is set to run from 2022 to 2026 with special focus on the country’s most vulnerable groups.

This was revealed by RBZ deputy governor Jesimen Chipika during her address at the African Development Bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund meeting.

She said the central bank has identified under both NFIS I (2016-2020) and the forthcoming NFIS II (2022 – 2026), the youth and women as target groups that are currently financially excluded and has put in place strategies to facilitate their inclusion.

“In line with our vision to be transformative and responsive in pursuit of sustainable and inclusive economic growth, we are happy to advise that following the end of term of NFIS I on 31 December 2021, development of NFIS II is currently underway,” Chipika said.

She said the Bank conducted a desk-top review of the NFIS I and engaged the financial inclusion stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies deployed under NFIS I and the challenges, to improve on the strategies to be deployed under NFIS II.

To develop and implement an evidence-based National Financial Inclusion Strategy, two FinScope Surveys have been commissioned and are currently underway.

Results will be used as baseline statistics to set targets for NFIS II.

“Let me hasten to say that under NFIS I, a number of successes were recorded with regards to financial inclusion of youth, women and their micro, small and medium enterprises, including increasing number of women, youth and MSMEs accessing financial services, as well as the value of loans to the same target groups,” she said.

Chipika said through the strategy, access and usage of quality financial services, with special emphasis on the inclusion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), women, youth, and rural populations and indeed the small-scale agricultural sector will be broadened.

“NFIS II is being implemented under the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1 from 2021 to 2025. The Overarching Goal of the NDS 1 is to ensure high, accelerated, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, as well as socio economic transformation and development,” she said.

She added that the strategy has several objectives, two of which are to achieve and sustain inclusive and equitable Real GDP growth and to promote new enterprise development, employment and job creation.