The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has bemoaned low participation by small to medium enterprises (SMEs) as the current total banking sector loan portfolio consists of only four percent of US$3,6 billion loans to the sector.

Statistics published by the RBZ at the RBZ -World Bank SMEs Development Conference in Harare today indicate that the emerging economy has accessed loans to the tune of US$187 million, representing just four percent of the sector’s loan book within the financial industry.

Incoming RBZ Deputy Governor,  Dr Jesimen Chipika, who was representing RBZ Governor, Dr John Mangudya, said they are identifying challenges hindering SMEs from accessing loans, as well as ensuring that they continue to play an important role in economic development.

“We are therefore looking at the matter closely with a view to ensure that more SMEs can take part in the banking industry,” he said.

World Bank Group Manager for Finance and Markets in Africa, Mr Alejandro De La Camps said the global institution is now working with the central bank on policies that are aimed at ensuring that SMEs are included within the financial sector’s products and services.

“We shall strive to do our best in recognition of the role being played by the sector on economic development,” he said

Zimbabwe’s SMEs are being considered important within the economy as official data shows that it is accounting for 73 percent of the total workforce population.