Conrad Mwanawashe and Kudakwashe Mhundwa
POST Offices, which boast an expansive network reaching out to even the very remote areas should tap into the $65 billion potential remittances and diversify their activities to accommodate the needs and preferences of the unbanked majority.
As such, post offices should partner with central banks and develop financial inclusion strategies which will make them bigger players in the financial services sector, Information Communication Technology Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has said.
Africa alone is believed to have more than 30 million migrants with over $65 billion in potential remittances and Minister Mandiwanzira challenged the post offices to sweat their expansive network reaching out to even the very remote areas, as well as their ability to foster local and international business partnerships.
Addressing delegates at the Universal Postal Union digital Financial Services and Financial Inclusion workshop yesterday Minister Mandiwanzira said the workshop came at a time when Government has come up with a National Financial Inclusion Strategy for the period 2016 to 2020, whose objective is to increase overall access to financial services in the country from 69 percent in 2014 to 90 percent by year 2020.
“The Government of Zimbabwe is cognisant of the significant contribution of an inclusive financial sector to the overall socio-economic development of the country.
“This should see a corresponding increase in the banked adult population from 30 percent in 2014 to not less than 60 percent in year 2020. “This is also in line with the Zimbabwe’s national developmental objectives which are enshrined in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation,” said Minister Mandiwanzira.
The FinScope Consumer Survey 2014 revealed that 23 percent of Zimbabweans are financially exclude, that is, do not use financial products — neither formal nor informal — to manage their financial lives, eight percent rely only on informal financial products or services, 30 percent have/use bank products/services while 39 percent have/use other formal non-bank products/services but not commercial banking products.
“Postal administrators can play a key role in bringing financial inclusion to the unbanked population if they focus on postal network upgrading and modernization, adoption and deployment of relevant technology and ensure real time transacting as a way of capacitating postal administrations, as well as partnering the central bank” he said.
Expects at the UPU financial inclusion workshop said in 2015 alone 21 percent of global revenue was from postal services while 40 percent of Japan`s postal revenue was from financial services hence it is viable for the country to put more efforts towards capacitating postal finance platforms.
Postal administrators can play a key role in bringing financial inclusion to the unbanked population if they focus on postal network upgrading and modernisation, they adopt and deploy relevant technology to ensure real-time transacting as a way of capacitating postal administrations and secure adequate financial resources and cash flows for them to be able to undertake transactions.
Furthermore, postal administrators could come up with workable models that facilitate financial inclusion and partner with central banks in ensuring implementation of financial inclusion strategies.
In the context of Zimbabwe, financial inclusion is defined as the effective use of a wide range of quality, affordable and accessible financial services, provided in a fair and transparent manner through formal or regulated entities, by all Zimbabweans.
This entails access to and usage of a wide spectrum of products and services provided by various players in the financial services sector, including banking, insurance, pension, capital markets, micro-finance, developmental financial institutions and payment systems.
It is also anticipated that the Strategy will enhance financial literacy and improve access to other financial markets, such as capital, pension and insurance, which in turn increase opportunities for savings and investments among the financially excluded population. Financial Literacy also promotes responsible access to financial services by empowering financial consumers through consumer protection programs.
Addressing the same function Zimpost acting managing director Chief Moyo said Zimpost is taking advantage of the international remittances market with the organisation exchanging electronic money transfers with postal operators globally
“In 2014 The Reserve Bank issued Zimpost with an ADLA license allowing the company to partner with non-postal international money transfer companies which include Mukuru, Western Union, Hello Paisa, World Remit and Money Gram and we are expecting to partner more as companies we go.
“In 2016 Zimpost handled international money transfers worth $3,2 million,” said Mr Moyo.