World Bank-funded Financial Inclusion and Entrepreneurship Scaling (FinES) Project has disbursed MK32 billion to 33, 000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) since the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) rolled out the project mid 2021.
The beneficiary enterprises comprise 46 percent are women and 12 percent youths. According to the recent Finscope survey, MSMEs in Malawi face many challenges such as the lack of access to finance, lack of capacity to grow their businesses and lack of appropriate technological infrastructure to support these businesses among others.
Speaking when he opened a day-long media orientation at Chikho Hotel on Tuesday, RBM Deputy Governor William Matambo said the establishment of the projectis a sign of government’s commitment to boost MSMEs in Malawi so that they contribute to the realisation of the Malawi 2063 vision of ‘an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant nation’.
Matambo said there is need therefore to create an enabling environment for MSMEs to grow.
“We know that the Malawi is still lagging behind in terms of financial inclusion. Quite a sizeable chunk of our population is still financially excluded. This has been cause of concern for government and its agencies tasked with increasing the number of people financially included such as RBM,” he explained.
He stated that the main objective of the project was to improve financial inclusion through increasing access to financial services, promote entrepreneurships and capabilities of MSMEs in Malawi.
However, Matambo lamented that a majority of MSMEs are not aware about the project, including journalists themselves.
He said it was for this reason that RBM organized the media orientation to enhance journalists’ skills in business reporting.
The Deputy Governor said RBM realizes the important role the media can play in increasing awareness and advocating for positive change from project beneficiaries.
“It is my expectation that from this meeting, we will have fruitful engagements which will identify key issues for action that will contribute to increased access to financial services by MSMEs, and also creating awareness for other products available on the market through this project. We therefore, will rely on you to take the message about the FInES project to the public particularly to women and the youth. Let them take advantage of the project to boost their businesses, and enhance their business skills,” said Matambo.
One of the participants, Cathy Maulidi of Times Group, thanked RBM for organizing the training, saying it will go a long way in increasing knowledge about the project among the scribes.