Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu has announced that government will soon be launching the second national strategy on financial education to accelerate the uptake of financial services in Zambia because inclusion still remains low.
In a speech read on his behalf by Minister of Finance Permanent Secretary Mukuli Chikuba, Wednesday, Dr Ng’andu observed that financial inclusion still remained low in the country, hence the need to intensify efforts at improving access to financial services.
“As I have just mentioned, one of the major challenges associated with the low uptake of financial services in Zambia include low levels of financial literacy in the country. Therefore, there is need for both government and the private sector to invest more in financial consumer education. To support this call, government will soon be launching the second national strategy on financial education,” Dr Ng’andu said.
He noted that financial service providers must invest in financial technologies, which would facilitate access for the excluded population to digital platforms in order to attain significant financial inclusivity.
“Financial inclusion in Zambia remains relatively low at 59.3 per cent. It is, therefore, cardinal for financial providers to collaborate with government in its quest to increase financial inclusion. To attain significant financial inclusivity in the years to come, financial service providers must invest in financial technologies, which will facilitate access for the excluded population to digital platforms. Digitilization is already the future of financing, therefore, the advancement and adoption of technology and digitalised business models will enable financial service providers to achieve greater scale, reduce operating costs, penetrate new markets more swiftly, and better understand the needs of customers,” he said.
“The inadequate access to financial services continues to be a challenge across the world. The Global Findex report published by the World Bank in 2017, confirmed that slightly over 30 per cent of adults in the world, do not have an account at either a financial institution or with a mobile money provider. This is even worse in developing countries, such as ours. Many households and small businesses have no or very limited access to formal financial services. The Finscope Survey indicates that only 38 per cent of adults in Zambia have access to formal financial services with a similar proportion having access to only informal financial services. Access to finance for small businesses is also severely constrained with only 9 per cent of small firms having reported to have had a loan or line of credit.”
And Dr Ng’andu called on financial institutions to pass on the benefits of digitization to consumers of financial services to ensure no one was left behind.
The Minister was speaking during the opening of the fifth edition of the Banking and Finance Conference of the Zambia Institute Of Banking And Financial Services being held under the theme, “financial inclusion in an era of digital disruptions – enhancing sector transformation” currently being held in Lusaka.