Zambia launches its first National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS)
Zambia launched its first National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2017-2022, as part of wider effort to bolster the development of the country’s financial sector. While ensuring that every segment of Zambian society has access to basic financial services, the strategy aims to increase the overall level of financial inclusion (formal and informal services) from 59 to 80 percent and financial inclusion through formal financial services from the current 30 to 70 percent by 2022.
“Enhancing the financial sector will allow all Zambians to reap the full benefit of financial inclusion,” Mr. Felix Mutati, Zambia’s Finance Minister said.
The NFIS also intends to improve Zambians’ physical access to high-quality services and increase the number of financial access points, such as brank branches, agents and ATMs from 7 to 10 per 10,000 adults. The strategy is expected to advance outreach and adoption of digital financial services, as well as enhance consumer protection.
“Successful implementation of the strategy requires strong commitment and concerted efforts from all stakeholders — the government, private sector, civil society and the academia,” said Uzma Khalil, the Bank’s Country Senior Financial Sector Specialist.
Zambia has been committed to financial inclusion as an active AFI participant. The Bank of Zambia, AFI member institution, endorsed the Maya Declaration and pledged to achieve a total of eight measurable targets. One of Zambia’s already successfully accomplished targets was to achieve at least 50 percent financial inclusion. According to the 2015 FinScope survey, 59 percent of adults are part of the overall financial inclusion, compared to 37 percent measured in the 2009 survey.
“Enhanced financial inclusion in various countries has been shown to contribute to wealth creation, economic growth, and sustainable development,” said Zambia’s Secretary to the Treasury Mr. Fredson K. Yamba in the Strategy’s foreword.
The strategy was launched together with the National Financial Sector Development Policy (NFSDP) on 8 October 2017. Both documents aspire to “grow and transform the financial sector, as well as promote inclusiveness in the financial system to support efficient resource mobilization and investment for sustainable economic development,” Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Zambia said on its website.
The NFIS was developed with the support of the World Bank, and was peer reviewed by members of AFI’s Financial Inclusion Strategy Peer Learning Group (FISPLG). The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF), Bank of Uganda (BOU), Bank of Tanzania (BOT) and Central Bank of the Solomon Islands (CBSI) participated in the peer review process.