Financial Cooperatives have potential to increase financial inclusion-ZIPAR Study

The Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR)’s study on the state of financial cooperatives in Zambia has revealed that Financial Cooperatives have the potential to increase financial inclusion in Zambia if properly managed.

Funded by the Rural Finance Expansion Programme (RUFEP), under the Rural Equity and Innovation Window of the Innovation and Outreach Facility, ZIPAR conducted a study entitled  ‘State of Financial Cooperatives in Zambia: A viable option for increasing financial inclusion’ between 2017 and 2018.

Speaking during the Study Dissemination Media Breakfast held on the 9th April, 2019 at Pamodzi Hotel, ZIPAR Executive Director Dr. Pamela Nakamba Kabaso disclosed that the study reveals huge potential for Financial Cooperatives to increase financial inclusion.

“Some of the Financial Cooperatives operates as banks and contributes significantly to overall economic growth. However one of the challenges identified by the study is that the current legal framework constrains the growth of the sector”, Dr. Kabaso revealed.

She added that the study was useful to the current discussions on the Cooperatives Bill which seeks to amend the Cooperative Act.

Dr. Kabaso appealed to the government to adopt the recommendations in the study to revive the Financial Cooperatives in Zambia among them; the need to revise the Cooperatives Act to ensure the new regulatory framework is user friendly and supports the growth of the sector rather than constraining it.

Speaking earlier Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry (MCTI) Director of Cooperatives Shadrech Mungalaba said the study provides useful information about Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOS) for policy makers and identifies opportunities for capacity building and investment in the sector.

MCTI Director of Cooperatives Shadrech Mungalaba

Mr. Mungalaba thanked RUFEP for providing financial support to ZIPAR for the study adding that the review of the current status of the cooperatives was necessary as the mandate had moved from the Ministry of Agriculture to a different ministry (MCTI)) following the pronouncement by His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

RUFEP National Technical Advisor Caiaphas Habasonda thanked ZIPAR for successfully conducting the study adding that the study was an important element in the financial inclusion agenda.

Mr. Habasonda said RUFEP was hopeful that the results of the study will contribute to the Programme’s Theory of Change which aims to increase access to and use of sustainable financial services by rural people for improved livelihoods and sustainable economic growth.

And speaking during an open discussion, Registrar of Cooperatives Mr. Justin Mwansa disclosed that the proposed legal framework which has been submitted to the Ministry of Justice has already taken into account some recommendations in the study such as the need to review the Cooperative Act.

Other recommendations by the study included the need to enhance the capacity of the National Association of Savings and Credit Unions (NASCU) to provide support services to Financial Cooperatives (FCs) and the urgent need for government to improve its data base and general tracking of FCs.

Click below for the Policy Brief with more details about the study


RUFEP Promotes Financial Literacy in North-Western Province

NWP Deputy Permanent Secretary Douglas Ngimbu with RUFEP NTA Caiaphas Habasonda tour Exhibitions at Solswezi City Mall

RUFEP joined stakeholders in the financial sector and other players in the 2019 Financial Literacy Week (FLW) campaigns which ran from 25-31st March, 2019 under the theme ‘Be Money Smart to Live a Better Life’.

The Rural Finance Expansion Programme (RUFEP) led the campaigns in North-Western Province of Zambia in partnership with SaveNet and Transunion.

Following the official launch of the 2019 FLW by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Margaret Mwanakatwe (MP) on the 24th March, 2019,          RUFEP conducted road shows in selected districts of Northwestern province to sensitize the public on how to be money smart and to live better lives.

RUFEP conducted Road Shows in Kabompo, Manyinga, Mufumbwe and Solwezi districts. The provincial launch for the Financial Literacy Week was done in Solwezi on the 28th March, 2019 at Solwezi City Mall.

Speaking at the official launch, North-Western province Deputy Permanent Secretary Douglas Ng’imbu thanked RUFEP for organizing and sponsoring the 2019 financial literacy week in North-Western Province to sensitize people on how to manage their finances by being money smart to live a better life.

Mr. Ng’imbu said Financial Literacy campaigns are part of the broader agenda of promoting financial inclusion under the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (2017-2022).

“Through the Financial Literacy campaign, government and all stakeholders in the financial sector aim to empower Zambians with the knowledge on how to make prudent financial decisions for themselves, their families, communities, their businesses, and ultimately, the nation at large”, he said.

Mr. Ng’imbu added that the campaigns targets everyone including children, youth and adults alike, to work towards attaining adequate financial education that will help them achieve positive financial outcomes.

Speaking earlier, RUFEP Programme Coordinator Michael Mbulo said RUFEP sponsored the 2019 Financial Literacy Week Campaigns in North-Western province to promote financial education and access to and use of financial services particularly targeting the rural people in the province.

In a speech read on his behalf by RUFEP National Technical Advisor Caiaphas Habasonda, Mr. Mbulo invited potential implementing partners to apply for the Innovation and Outreach Facility (IOF) matching grants to roll out financial services in the excluded rural areas of North-Western province.

“The IOF grants target initiatives that aim to promote rural based savings groups and linking them to formal financial institutions to increase rural financial inclusion. The grants also target innovations that promote use of mobile phones as a tool for rural people to access financial services such as saving, sending and receiving money”, he said.

Mr. Mbulo further called upon financial service providers to be money smart by empowering communities with financial products and services that are not only sustainable but also tailored to the people’s needs.

Among the financial services providers that exhibited during the launch of the Financial Literacy Week in Solwezi at Solwezi City Mall  apart from RUFEP were; Zanaco, Cavmont Bank, Zambia State Insurance Corporation, SaveNet and Transunion.

RUFEP also partnered with Transunion to sponsor a schools’ debate on the theme for 2019 Financial Literacy Week which saw Kikombe Secondary School winning the first Prize followed by Solwezi Secondary School and Kyawama Secondary School taking the third prize.