President Emmerson Mnangagwa has officially opened the Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank (ZWMB), promising to soon announce comprehensive strategies to alleviate cash shortages in the economy.
During the ceremony President Mnangagwa, who was accompanied by the First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, Vice President Retired General Dr Constantino Chiwenga, the Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Cde Sithembiso Nyoni and the Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province, Cde Miriam Chikukwa, was shown around the banking hall at the new bank’s branch located at the Trust Towers Building along Samora Machel Avenue in Harare.
He then proceeded to the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) to deliver a keynote address, which centred on the current cash shortages as well as the need to empower women.
“I am aware of cash and foreign currency challenges, which are a result of various reasons. My government is seized with the matter and will in due course announce comprehensive strategies to conclusively alleviate the problem…..We should continuously encourage our banking public to use plastic money for their transactions,” he said.
“I urge our industry, commerce and SMEs alike, to focus on business models that generate foreign currency for the country. Banks should be active participants in distributing the scarce foreign currency resources, in line with their ‘Know Your Customer,’ principles with the aim of supporting growth sectors and foreign currency initiatives,” the President added.
Cde Mnangagwa said the new bank aims at empowering women through loans towards income generating projects.
“Women do not have access to credit finance, women are not formally saving and women have limited awareness of investment products available on the banking sector. The new bank will therefore seek to champion women’s financial inclusion through availing affordable funding options to start their own enterprises,” said Cde Mnangagwa.
He urged the financial sector to restore depositors’ confidence by resisting the temptation of exploitative tendencies such as exorbitant bank charges.
“Zimbabwe’s financial sector should maintain the high respect for women because they pay back loans. Women have proved this through the ‘mukando’ initiatives which they must revert back to. Most women live in rural areas and there is need for the bank to establish itself in most of remote and marginalised areas of the country,” he said.
According to the President, the launch of the bank represents a huge building block towards the attainment of Vision 2030.