Kawambwa Crop Bulking Company (KCBC) has set up seven (7) new mobile banking posts to promote access to financial services in Kawambwa district.

The Mobile Banking posts were set up with support from RUFEP under the Agency and Mobile Banking Window II of the Innovation and Outreach matching Facility (IOF).

RUFEP’s signed a matching grant (IOF) with KCBC on the 10th January 2020 to support the Kawambwa Rural Farmers Market and Financial Access Support (KARUFAMAS) Project aimed to increase financial services access points for smallholder farmers from three (3) to seven (7) in Kawambwa District.

On the 18th November, 2020, RUFEP conducted field visits in Kawambwa District to monitor progress of the KARUFAMAS Project and to harvest knowledge from project implementation.

Speaking during the field visit, Project Manager Collins Phiri said the additional banking posts were set up in Matelo, at Mbereshi Mission Hospital, Muyembe Clinic, Kota, Msungu, Mushota and Tea Estates.

Mr. Collins Phiri

Mr. Phiri disclosed that while the project targeted to reach 975 beneficiaries particularly smallholder farmers, by the time of the field visit the total outreach was 1,200.

Among the beneficiaries of the Mobile Banking post set up in Matelo were members of Kawambwa South Cooperative, Bulangililo Cooperative, Tungulila Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Kawambwa Young Entrepreneurs Cooperative and Ukusushelungu Multi-purpose Cooperative Society.

In Mushota, the banking post set up by Airtel targeted to benefit smallholder farmers (mainly beans farmers) who are members of Ilombe Cooperative, Ntembo Cooperative and Kutemwa Cooperative.

During the field visits, KCBC and the RUFEP Team met with Cooperatives in Kawambwa’s Matelo area and in Mushota in Pambashe Constituency, about 47 Kilometers from Kawambwa.

The beneficiaries thanked KCBC and RUFEP for the initiative to set up mobile banking posts which has eased access to financial services for the people.

Kaputa Kawesha, the Chairperson for Tungulila Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Kawambwa said the banking post set up by KCBC in Matelo has brought financial services closer to the community in the area.

Meanwhile, Mr. Phiri disclosed that Kawambwa Crop Bulking Company was constructing a warehouse with a view to aggregate commodities starting with beans and to provide Warehouse Receipt Financing System (WHRS) to beans farmers.

He said through Action Africa Help Zambia (AAH), KCBC received funding worthy US$25,000 from Julia Taft Fund for the WHRS as a result of the RUFEP supported KARUFAMAS project to promote rural and agricultural financing targeting smallholder farmers in Kawambwa District.

RUFEP and KCBC Project Staff at the AAH Offices, NAPSA Complex, Kawambwa


Cgrate, trading as 543 Konse Konse has partnered with RUFEP to promote access to financial services by deploying 543 Point of Sale (POS) gadgets in targeted rural areas.

The project dubbed “Increasing the spread of financial services in rural areas through 543 machines project” aims to cut distances by rural people to access financial services.

The project targets to deploy 1,000 POS gadgets to merchants operating local home shops in rural areas. Under the project, POSs were being sold at a subsidized price (by RUFEP) to merchants who are  trained by Cgrate on how to use them to Cash In/Out, make transactions and sell airtime.

By mid-November 2020, Cgrate had deployed 760 POS machines in 4 provinces which includes North Western, Luapula, Central Province, and Western Provinces of Zambia. In Luapula about 180 POS gadgets have been deployed by mid-November 2020.

On the 17th November, 2020, a RUFEP team conducted field visits in Luapula Province to ascertain progress on the deployment of POS gadgets by the implementing partner in the province and to document lessons learnt from the target beneficiaries.

During the field visits, Programme Coordinator Mr. Michael Mbulo led the RUFEP team to pay a courtesy call to Chief Chisunka of the Ushi people in Mansa District, Luapula province.

Mr. Mbulo disclosed to His Royal Highness Chief Chisunka that RUFEP was supporting projects across the country aimed to promote rural financial inclusion through implementing partners.

“In Luapula province, Mansa District, RUFEP partnered with Cgrate to ensure financial services are brought closer to the people. We are here to see how rural people have received the 543 Konse Konse POS machines”, he said.

Chief Chisunka affirmed that the POS gadgets supplied by Cgrate were facilitating access to financial services to the rural people who were financially excluded in his chiefdom and the surrounding areas.

“We do not have banks and other financial services here. These machines are making it easy for our people to make transactions like buying power, talk-time and accessing financial services near their homes without travelling long distances”, he said.

In Chilila area, Chief Chisunka’s kingdom, Mr. Geoffrey Mambwe a local home shop owner said he purchased the POS machine due to high demand for financial services by the community including Civil Servants.

Mr. Mambwe said with a POS gadget in his shop, Civil Servants who get paid through Atlas Mara and Indo Zambia can now easily withdrawal their salaries and deposit money from his shop.

“Rural people and Civil Servants here had a challenge to access financial services, purchase airtime and to make payments for Pay Television, Electricity and Zambia Revenue Authority. These services were only available in Mansa which is 40 Kilometers away”, he said.

At Musonda Falls in Mwense District, Christine Nakazwe, a local home shop owner across the bridge said the POS gadget has increased her business volumes in terms of transactions. She said that when people make withdrawals, they also make other payments and purchases from her shop.

Cgrate Regional Sales Representative Sectus Muleya with 543 Konse Konse Agent Nakazwe Christine at Musonda Falls

In Kawambwa, Jordan Mulunga, Jomus Enterprises Proprietor said the POS has helped his company to provide financial services in Kawambwa as the district has only one bank which the Zambia National Commercial Bank (Zanaco).

“The POS has incorporated a lot of financial services. If Cgrate can also partner with Zanaco, it will help to increase access to financial services”, Mr. Mulunga said.


Kasama Christian Community Care (KCCC) has partnered with Cellulant under the Mobile Banking Project supported by RUFEP to digitize Community Based Financial Institutions (CBFIs) in Northern Province.

Funded under the Agency and Mobile Banking Window II of RUFEP’s Innovation and Outreach Facility (IOF), KCCC’s Mobile Banking for CBFIs Project targets to digitize 5,500 Savings Group Members.

On the 18th November 2020, RUFEP conducted field visits in Kasama and Mbala Districts to ascertain progress by the implementing partner, harvest knowledge and to document lessons learnt.

KCCC Programmes Manager Martin Shamambo

Speaking during the field visit by RUFEP in Kasama, Northern Province KCCC Project Manager Mr. Martin Shamambo disclosed that the project has digitized 242 groups which were trained to use Mobile Banking and Mobile Money.

Mr. Shamambo said the project has increased digital literacy adding that the SILC Groups were happy with the innovation which has changed the way they operate.

“Group members who had low knowledge of operating mobile phones are now accessing financial services through mobile phones. Even the elderly can navigate on the phone menus and are able to transact on their phones”, he said.

Mr. Shamambo said KCCC uses the Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) methodology in promoting CBFIs adding that Private Service Providers (PSPs) have continued to play a major role on digital financial education for SILC Groups under the Mobile Banking for CBFIs Project.

Agness Moyo, a PSP in Malaundi area in Mbala said the innovation to digitize CBFIs has helped SILC Groups to adapt and adopt Digital Financial Services in the wake of COVID-19.

She said digitizing CBFIs has come with a lot of benefits for SILC Groups which includes efficiency, transparency and accountability while users are also able to pay for services such as water and power through mobile phones.

“With Mobile Banking, SILC Groups can now transact within a short period without wasting time. In terms of transparency, shortages are no longer there as all members receive messages for any transaction by the group”, she said.

And Kennedy Chomba, a member of Chincileni S             ILC Group in Luyeye Area, Kasama said saving using mobile phones by SILC Groups has solved the challenge of keeping too much money in the box.

“Even if the mobile phone is lost, money is safe as it sits on the SIM Card. With Mobile Banking by SILC Groups, there is no need for the box”, he said.

Speaking on behalf of the RUFEP Team, Programme Coordinator Michael Mbulo said it was gratifying to see that CBFIs have adopted Digital Financial Services.

Mr. Mbulo said RUFEP’s main objective was to ensure that rural people have access to and use of sustainable financial services in Zambia.

“In the Northern Province, we are working with KCCC through the Mobile Banking for CBFIs Project to promote cashless transactions and adoption of Digital Financial Services by SILC Groups. Mobile Banking is now a reality in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic”, he said.

RUFEP Team and KCCC Staff With Chincilani and Mapalo SILC Groups in Luyeye Area, Kasama, Northern Province


Minister of Finance, Hon. Bwalya Ng’andu has urged Savings Groups Promoters to target men and youth to increase their participation in Savings Groups.

Speaking during the Dissemination Breakfast of the Study on Why Men and Youth shun Savings Groups and Census of Financial Cooperatives, Hon. Ng’andu said there was need to change the perception that Savings Groups are for women.

He said while informal Savings Groups play a critical role in bridging the financial inclusion gap between the rural and urban divide and gender, it has been noted that the Savings Groups are mainly dominated by women at 75%.

“The existing body of knowledge reveals that initial promoters of savings groups were mainly targeting women. We need to ensure men and youths are not left behind. As heads of households, men should be encouraged to take an active role in Savings Groups to compliment women’s efforts in providing for household needs”, Hon. Ng’andu said.

Meanwhile, the Minister said formal Financial Cooperatives compliment government’s efforts under the Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP) in the provision of agricultural financing for rural people.

Hon    Ng’andu said while government was committed to creating a conducive environment to increase financial inclusion, financial players including Cooperatives needed to operate within the confines of existing laws.

He observed that some financial cooperatives were operating without following regulations for Financial Services Providers (FSPs) and have ended up being pyramid schemes defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.

Hon. Ng’andu called for the harmonization of regulatory frameworks and registration requirements for Financial Cooperatives such as Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) to play an active role in financial inclusion.

He said Bank of Zambia with support from RUFEP is developing a Registration framework for Tier III Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs), SACCOs and Community Savings Groups.

Dr. Pamela Nakamba Kabaso-ZIPAR Exe. Director

“I’m hopeful that Bank of Zambia will engage all key stakeholders including the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry (MCTI) and the Department of Cooperatives in developing the registration frameworks”, he said.

He thanked RUFEP and ZIPAR for partnering to undertake the Study on Why Men and Youth Shun Savings Groups and the Census of the Financial Cooperatives which provides Baseline Data for existing Cooperatives in Zambia.

Speaking earlier, ZIPAR Executive Director Dr. Pamela Kabaso said the Study on Financial Cooperatives provides evidence about Financial Cooperatives in Zambia that could be used in the revision of the Cooperatives Act.

“The study aimed to contribute to the development of FCs in Zambia by generating information on their performance including their role in financial inclusion. It would aid MCTI to understand the nature of Cooperatives and devise strategies for monitoring FCs”, she said.

And RUFEP Coordinator Michael Mbulo said RUFEP conducted the two studies under the Knowledge Management and Programme Implementation Component to contribute to the existing body of knowledge in the rural finance subsector.

Michael Mbulo- RUFEP Programme Coordinator

“The Census of Financial Cooperatives was done to assess the potential FCs could offer in increasing financial inclusion while the study on Why Men and Youths shun Savings Groups was done to find a solution to increase the participation men and youth in Savings Groups,” Mr. Mbulo said.

Mr. Mbulo added that RUFEP was hopeful that evidence generated from the two studies will support informed government policy formulation and contribute to financial inclusion particularly for the excluded rural areas.

The Dissemination Breakfast was held on the 4th November, 2020 at Southern Sun Ridgeway Hotel in Lusaka and was attended by stakeholders from the Financial Sector including Bankers Association of Zambia, Bank of Zambia, Savings Group Promoters Network (SaveNet) Members, Line Ministries of Gender, Youth, Commerce and Trade, Department of Cooperatives, SACCOs, Cooperatives and the National Association of Savings and Credit Unions(NASCU).



Study Report on Why Men and Youth shun Savings Groups

Financial Cooperatives Census