1 March 2019

Zimbabwe: RBZ Financial Inclusion Facility Surges to Us$500m

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says its financial inclusion facility has ballooned to US$501 million with over 50% of the funds advanced to marginalised sectors of the economy in the form of loans.

RBZ deputy governor Jasmine Chipika last week said the central bank's facilities had also included the construction facility to cater for retrenched construction sector workers.

The facility was financed to the tune of US$50 million.

"Money is not the problem but we have a problem accessing people to give the money. As at 1 December 2018, a total of U$33,12 million had been disbursed under the empowerment facilities, a figure representing 55% of the total available funds. RBZ facilities have also contributed to the development of various value chains particularly in agriculture mining, manufacturing, horticulture and resuscitation of irrigation schemes and tourism in various parts of the country. Those facilities also support generation of exports," she said.

Chipika, however, lamented the limited loan uptake by small businesses, youth and women, a move she said should be addressed.

Small-to-medium enterprises with bank accounts increased to 100 000 in 2018 from 71 000 in 2016.

"Value of loans to small-and-medium enterprises was 131 million in 2016 and now almost 170 million it's improving but we need the uptake to be on a higher rate. This ultimately means that money is not yet where it should be and statistics tell us that two thirds of the country's GDP is coming from Small to Medium Enterprises so things have to change," she said.

"Value of loans to women stood at $277 million, we are now at $432 million this means we are moving in the right direction, what we need to improve is the rate of increase, but the path is correct."

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