Zimbabwe: Central bank urges microfinance institutions to focus on rural areas

Dec 11, 2015

It said MFIs are focusing on urban areas to maximise profit.

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) "have lost their way", the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) told executives at a meeting of the Zimbabwe Association of Microfinance Institutions (Zamfi).

Charity Dhliwayo said MFIs put too much focus on maximising profit and need "re-orientation" to ensure they support marginalised people living in rural areas to promote financial inclusion, the Herald reports.

"The primary mission of MFIs is to lend to the poor, marginalised groups as well as those who do not qualify for traditional bank loans for income generating purposes and poverty alleviation", she explained.

Mrs Dhliwayo added that MFIs are now "mainly focusing on urban salaried individuals, the less risky sectors" and excluding those living in the outer areas.

RBZ statistics show that about 89 per cent of the institutions were operating in Harare and Bulawayo.

At the end of September 2015, the country counted 155 registered MFIs with 417 branches extending loans amounting to $173 million.ADNFCR-2976-ID-801807912-ADNFCR