SADC to strengthen regional financial inclusion
The lack of access to formal financial institutions increases the vulnerability of people in the region.The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is committed to strengthening financial inclusion in the region.
At a conference last week in Johannesburg, South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said the overall figure of financial exclusion remains unacceptably high in SADC member countries.
"Many of our people still have no savings accounts, do not receive credit from formal credit providers, have no type of insurance and rarely make or receive payments through formal financial institutions, which increases their financial vulnerability," he said, quoted by Xinhua news agency.
The excluded rely on cash and as a result benefit from less efficient financial services, with an inadequate and high risk, he added.
However, he acknowledged that the SADC has "made enormous progress", with 34 per cent of residents owning a bank account in 2014, against 24 per cent in 2011.
"Appropriate access to financial services can empower individuals, especially those with low income, and give them the opportunity to better participate in the economy and in their own development, while protecting themselves against economic shocks," he said.