By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
OVER 500 Lusaka based small scale tailors have accessed working capital and sustainable banking offered by the Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Zambia to support them during the Covid-19 pandemic. FSD Zambia responded to the impact of Covid-19 on tailors by developing a business resilience facility innovations, says organisation’s board member, Victor Mushala.
Mr Mushala explained that this provided working capital and sustainable banking to 500 Lusaka-based small scale tailors to produce 30,000 clinically certified face masks. “This is an example of how many market players can work together to make opportunities real for enterprises. There are commitments by Zambia Breweries, Lafarge and United Nations Development Programme to purchase over 40,000 masks,” he said in an interview.
FSD Zambia, Mr Mushala explained, encouraged market innovation and inclusion. He said this included support and consultations on sector regulations and laws to enable market evolution. He also said new pilots and interventions that would help remove more financial market limitations on real sector opportunities would soon be undertaken by the FSD Zambia. FSD Zambia, he said, was looking forward to a great year despite the extreme challenges of Covid-19 and other operational changes faced. He also said the organisation in its previous year continued to record a strong performance in many of the output results. “Financial inclusion rose to 69.4 percent against our log frame target of 65 percent, reflecting a 107 percent.
“Our specific contributions to areas such as digital financial services helped that area to grow from 14 percent in 2015 to 59 percent in 2020,” Mr Mushala said. FSD Zambia Chief Executive Officer, Betty Wilkinson said the organisation collaborated with various stakeholders on new pilots for growth and resilience, especially for small enterprises.
Ms Wilkinson said the expansion of other successful and sustainable interventions such as saving groups into working capital access was growing new businesses for women and men. She stated that the organisation was therefore keen to engage with the newly established ministry if small and Medium enterprises to advance small businesses in Zambia Ms Wilkinson also said: “this year under the financial education initiatives, even given the severe field restrictions of Covid-19, FSD Zambia reached 168,395 people with financial education or 66 percent of our high target of which 104,464 were women.”