Maputo — Britain's Department for International Development (DfID) minister Lynne Featherstone on Wednesday in Maputo launched a project to expand financial services for small and medium sized businesses, especially in rural areas.
The British government will disburse 20 million US dollars over a six year period to fund the Mozambique Access to Finance Programme (MAFiP).
According to a DfID document, “the programme design is based on solid evidence which shows that improving poor people's access to finance boosts growth and reduces income inequality and poverty”.
The programme is “rooted in a detailed assessment of the financial market in Mozambique conducted in collaboration with the government of Mozambique, the World Bank, and the German Development Bank (KFW)”.
During a visit to Maputo's Zimpeto market, Featherstone said that the project will bring innovative solutions to help develop the financial sector, working in collaboration with the local government, private sector, financial institutions and development partners.
She stressed that “women need to have access to credit. MAFiP will help them access formal financial services so that they can improve the management of their finances and the use of their income”.
The minister recognised that agriculture is a very important sector for Mozambique's development, and was confident that the lines of credit opened through MAFiP would promote sustainable growth.
Featherstone listened to the concerns of women working in the market.
One trader, Rosa Luisa, explained that “credit institutions create enormous barriers to women in business. We would like women to have easy access to subsidised financial support to reduce the rate of poverty in our country”.
Most produce sold by the women in the market is either imported from neighbouring South Africa or bought from local farmers.