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‘Access to finance for rural settlers critical to national development’

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NGWENDE—Rural masses need capacity

Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholder and Enterprises (Farmse) has emphasized the need for more innovations to address challenges that hinder access to financial services among rural masses.

Farmse Programme Coordinator, Dickson Ngwende, said recently rural financing remains a very important aspect to wealth creation, poverty reduction and national development.

“We want to build the capacity of Village Savings Banks or bank nkhonde, so that members of these banks think beyond sharing the money after that specific period. We want such institutions which enhance access to finances in villages to think of investing in small scale businesses and other money making initiatives,” Ngwende said.

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He also said the institution is implementing a seven-year development programme financed by the Malawi government, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad), and the private sector, running from 2018 to 2025.

The initiative is aimed at enhancing access to financial services among Malawians living in rural areas. Among others, the institution was tasked with the responsibility of addressing rural poverty by ensuring that people living in these areas have access to financial services.

The organisation has in recent times been meeting various stakeholders, including commercial banks to take stock of various innovations that could address challenges associated with rural financing.

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In June 2018, Malawi sealed a K42.1 billion agreement with Ifad to offer at least 437, 000 rural households improved access to financial services.

The project includes $21 million loan and $21 million debt sustainability framework grant from Ifad.

The government will inject $9.6 million with the beneficiaries themselves contributing $6.2 million.

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