Muponda mulls move to micro-finance

Conrad Mwanawashe Business Reporter
LOCAL investment group, GMRI Capital has mobilised capital for a new micro-finance venture it plans to start soon.

GMRI Capital is looking at expanding into the micro-finance sector taking advantage of its already existing presence in the SMEs sector.

GMRI founder Gilbert Muponda said in an interview the group has already fundraised for the new division should it get the necessary approvals or should the group acquire an operating concern.

“We are also looking at doing a private placement to raise the additional funding because what we have seen is that clients are there but the problem is that there is no cheap funding available. We have enough funds for now but we are looking at a further fundraise to augment the capital outlay available,” said Mr Muponda.

Mr Muponda was co-director of collapsed ENG Asset Management. He was specified in 2004 and de-spicified in 2011 while the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in 2015 said it had no adverse information against him but that the businessman just like any other person will undergo normal vetting should he decide to apply for a banking licence, acquire significant shareholding or be appointed a director of a local finance institution.

Mr Muponda said the group is in discussions with local and foreign investors particularly South Africa and Namibia.

“We have spoken to some parties there who have shown interest in accessing Zimbabwe because there are some opportunities here that are not available in other countries. Those investors who have invested in the South African rands would like to hedge by investing in US dollar assets now that we are using the US dollar and we are very positive about that,” said Mr Muponda.

GMRI is already involved in providing services to the SMEs such as advisory services and research and given the current environment expanding the existing services by offering micro-finance products will enhance the group’s bottom line.

The growth in the mobile money sector has given rise to GMRI’s plan as the group believes that “the big money is circulating” in the informal market.

Mr Muponda said the economy structure has changed with the informal sector and SMEs replacing the big corporates.

The group will use a hybrid model where the traditional model is moulded into the new model which is technology driven.

GMRI has a financial services footprint in the region, in Namibia and Botswana.

“Locally, we have a decent real estate portfolio and we are also looking at developing some real estate that we have for further value unlocking and value addition.

“Advisory services is growing and we are confident that we should be able to keep growing that part of the business. We are looking at the higher end of the market, commercial and industrial; we believe that is where the future,” said Mr Muponda.

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