The study analysed the country context, demand, supply and regulatory framework for payment services in order to conclude on the scope for retail payment services to play a transformative financial inclusion role and the market and regulatory challenges to be overcome for that potential to be realised.
The report is part of a series of studies that also covers Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. In addition to the individual country report, the findings feed into a regional synthesis report that identifies cross-cutting trends, provides a brief global comparison, and concludes on implications for regional financial integration.
Recommendations and conclusions:
Zimbabwe is unique in that there is a significant population of citizens who are former customers of formal financial institutions and have left the system, often due to mistrust in market stability. Efforts to improve the policy framework for payment system development should be prioritized to (i) take advantage of existing market activity and (ii) provide essential regulatory clarity for future development of innovative market solutions by:
- Consolidating the guidance under the “test and learn” approach into a more formal legal guidance that can effectively provide the needed certainty without stifling innovation.
- Formalizing and publishing guidance issued by the National Payment System Department (housed in the RBZ) to firms interested in using networkers to distribution service
- Introducing legal framework to address electronic retail payment mechanisms
- Pushing service distribution outside of the urban centers
- Supporting financial empowerment and consumer protection to accompany new products