RBM changes approach on financial literacy

The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has changed its approach of reaching out to people with financial literacy information as previous campaigns failed to achieve desired results, according to central bank’s spokesperson Mbane Ngwira.

Over the years, the central bank has been dedicating a week for disseminating information on financial literacy under the banner Financial Literacy Week.

Reserve Bank of Malawi

While emphasising they are stepping up their game, RBM spokesperson Mbane Ngwira said previous campaigns and strategies have brought desired results.

“It is like football, when you play for 45 minutes you break to restrategise. This is exactly what we are doing because now we want to engage all sectors of communication because the messages that will be taken to the masses will not be the same.

“Apart from the communication experts, we are also talking to mobile network operators, Malawi Communications and Regulatory Authority [Macra], micro financing organisations and even small and medium enterprises,” he said.

Ngwira said there will be different information for people that are financially excluded and those who are aware of issues of financing.

“The financial inclusion has different aspects and each targeted area will have its own designated message. Before, we were just working with banks, but the involvement of communication experts was minimal. This is what we want to change to make more Malawians aware of issues to do with finances.”

Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) executive director Dalitso Kubalasa welcomed the RBM’s new approach, saying it has been long overdue.

Said Kubalasa: “This is a welcome development because the Reserve Bank has a lot of information and is an integral stakeholder on issues of finances.

“The bank must also work hand-in-hand with non-governmental organisations because they also play a crucial role. Issues of financial inclusion need to be taken seriously so that many people should not be in the peripheral but must take a role in growing the economy.”

Last week government launched the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion which targets to increase the delivery of financial services at low costs to low income segments of the society from 34 percent to 55 percent.

Among other things, the strategy seeks to increase formal access to insurance products by five percent, increase access to formal loans to 400 000 people from 270 000 with at least 50 percent of the increase being productive credit to micro, small and medium enterprises and small-scale farmers as well as reduce the average cost of a using a bank account from 17 percent of monthly income to five percent.

Access to finance remains one of the major obstacles to doing business in the country, according to the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI).

In Malawi, banks remain the largest providers of financial services, accounting for about 50 percent of the total institutional financial assets, 92 percent of total credit and 89 percent of total deposits.

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