Mr. Simbarashe Mashonganyika from The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was one of the keynote speakers at the 1st Harare SACCOs Multi-Stakeholder Conference held at the Management Training Bureau in November 2016.
Mr. Mashonganyika highlighted that one of the prerequisite of sustainable economic development was ACCESS to appropriate financial services and that was the main thrust of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) in which SACCOs and their national trade association NACSCUZ were a key stakeholder. The vision and strategic goals of the NFIS are derived from the national aspiration to
increase ACCESS to 90% by 2020. He revealed four pillars of the NFIS namely;
- Financial innovation,
- Financial literacy,
- Financial consumer protection and
These he said were indeed cross cutting issues to all providers of financial services. Both in the National Microfinance Policy of Zimbabwe and NFIS, SACCOs fall under the microfinance sector which he highlighted to be broader than just microcredit or money lending per se, but encompasses savings, credit, payments, insurance and remittances. Microfinances targets the disadvantaged in general, women in particular as well as youths, smallholder farmers and small to
medium enterprises, and he added that when properly conducted its impact include creating employment and economically empowering the targeted beneficiaries.
Mr. Simbarashe Mashonganyika went on to highlight the matrix of products that SACCOs could possibly offer to their members as self-contained financial services providers and or in collaboration with other mainstream financial sector players namely, capacity building and business support, money transfers, diaspora remittances over and above the traditional savings and credit. He further
outlined that the NFIS expectations for SACCOs included, championing inclusive Finance, mobilizing funds circulating informally, being a distribution channel that expands the reach of mainstream financial services, to deepen access through financial education/literacy, to provide economic fairness and cultivate a saving culture.
Having highlighted the challenges facing SACCOs he exposed financial inclusion innovations that are being championed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. These initiatives included the setting up of eight (8) Thematic Working Groups open for SACCOs to participate, the establishment of a Credit Reference System and a Collateral registry system all geared at tackling challenges affecting microfinance provision in general and SACCOs in particular.
In closing he implored SACCOs to work together with their Apex body NACSCUZ, while NACSCUZ was not to tire in effectively reaching out to its constituency and for the SACCOs movement to continue to collaborate with all other microfinance stakeholders for the achievement of the overarching NFIS objectives.