Financial Inclusion in Malawi

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The Government of Malawi (GoM) recognizes that a more inclusive financial system is critical to the development of the country’s economy. Reforms have been undertaken in Malawi’s financial sector in the past decade; and more recently, innovations have been implemented by various market players in an effort to expand the reach of financial services. Despite these developments, however, a significant proportion of the country’s population still continue to face severe constraints in accessing financial services – including savings, credit, insurance, and payment services.

This study seeks to identify possible barriers to financial inclusion and to provide recommendations based on an analysis of Malawi’s microfinance sector from the side of both supply and demand. On the demand side, the study draws from the results of the 2008 FinScope Malawi survey. The supply side analysis, on the other hand, draws from data and information gathered from various financial sector providers currently operating in Malawi.

The analysis draws from information collected from primary as well as secondary data sources. The National Forum on Microfinance in Malawi has proposed the development of a National Strategy and Action Plan for Financial Inclusion in the country. The key issues discussed in this study will be useful in the ensuing consultation process to support the development of the proposed strategy and action plan. The key findings of the study will help to define key goals and objectives, required strategies, and necessary actions for achieving the core objective of financial inclusion.

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