The Savings-Led Microfinance Network of Zambia (SaveNet) which brings together all Savings Groups promoters was officially launched on the 2nd of November, 2018.
With the current membership of 35, SaveNet brings together local and international development organizations and all other players interested in promoting savings groups in Zambia.
The Rural Finance Expansion Programme (RUFEP) has committed a total of ZMW4.2 Million support for the initial setting-up of SaveNet. The support runs for a period of three years effective the signing of the Strategic partnership agreement between RUFEP and SaveNet in March 2017.
Speaking during the launch of SaveNet at Radisson Blu Hotel in Lusaka, RUFEP Programme Coordinator Michael Mbulo applauded SaveNet members for coming up with an initiative to create an apex body for Savings Groups promoters.
Mr. Mbulo said though predominantly informal, savings groups are currently providing a means for financially excluded people particularly in rural areas to sustainable access to financial services.
“The launch of SaveNet has come at a better time when the number of organizations that are promoting Savings Groups or Community Based Financial Institutions (CBFIs) using different models keeps on increasing”, he said.
Mr.Mbulo said while RUFEP’s support to SaveNet is for a period of three years, the network (SaveNet) through its membership is expected to develop a self-sustaining strategy to ensure sustainability.
And Ministry of Finance’s Rural Finance Unit Assistant Director Derrick Simukoko urged SaveNet members to go beyond formation of Savings Groups by seeking opportunities to link the groups to formal financial institutions.
Mr. Simukoko said the formation of SaveNet will help the Government of Zambia to implement its financial sector development policies and strategies such as the National Financial Sector Development Policy, National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) and the Rural Finance Policy and Strategy.
Speaking before officially launching SaveNet as a Guest of Honor, Mr. Simukoko thanked the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for partnering with government through RUFEP and for providing the initial funding to SaveNet.
He further thanked Plan International for hosting SaveNet during the incubation period and taking time to build the capacity of SaveNet staff which was necessary before the network could stand on its own.
Among the SaveNet members that attended and exhibited during the launch included the Dairy Association of Zambia, World Vision, Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ), Rural Economic Expansion Services (REES), Caritas Czech Republic, Plan International, Keepers Zambia Foundation (KZF), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ).