By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
ZAMBIA is on course to achieve the 80 percent medium term target of financial inclusion by next year following several reforms which have been carried out in the financial industry.
The national financial inclusion in Zambia currently stands at 69.4 percent.
Several reforms have been carried out in the past two decades to enhance the performance of the financial sector, says Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary for Economic Management and Finance, Mukuli Chikuba.
Mr Chikuba explained that some of the reforms included the current electronic transaction and communications bill which would enable citizens to transaction using an electronic signature.
He said other reforms were Financial Sector Development Plans, Rural Finance Policy and Strategy, and the National Strategy on Financial Education I for Zambia.
Mr Chikuba said this at a media training workshop organised by the Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSD Zambia).
“With the strides made so far, Zambia is on course to achieve its 80 percent medium term target of financial inclusion by 2022.
“Financial inclusion is the bridge between economic opportunity and outcome. Therefore, our medium term financial inclusion target for Zambia is increase access to finance to at least 80 percent of the population by 2022,” he said.
Mr Chikuba explained that the reforms were meant to broaden the outreach of financial services to rural areas and enhance financial capabilities of users.
Access to financial services, he said, opened doors for families, allowing them to smooth out consumption and invest in their futures through education and health;
He further said access to credit enables businesses to expand, create jobs and reduce inequality.
Mr Chikuba indicated that financial inclusion enhanced savings, thus providing resources for investment which promotes output growth.
Savings, he explained, assisted investors to finance economic activities, leading to an increase in output.
He stressed that savings helped in diversifying a pool of resources which was channelled efficiently among economic agents.
“Technology-driven financial inclusion reduces transaction costs, leading to an increase in the usage of financial services which facilitates efficient allocation of funds among sectors, reducing intermediation costs thereby stimulating investment,” he said.