MAP Zambia diagnostic and roadmap to financial inclusion

MAP Zambia diagnostic and roadmap to financial inclusion

December 9, 2017    

From 2009 to 2015 the proportion of adults, financially excluded from any financial service, decreased from 63% to 41% in Zambia, which exceeded the Zambian Government‘s national target of 50%. More than 14% of these adults now use mobile money services, whilst the largest growth has been in the use of banking services – from 14% of adults in 2009 to nearly a quarter of adults in 2015.

However, much of this growth hides the reality for the majority of adults in Zambia who have yet to reap the full benefits of financial inclusion. Most adults still rely largely on informal financial services, while formal products are used infrequently to meet a limited number of financial needs. Bank accounts, for example, remain largely dormant. Some are used as mailboxes to make or receive payments and most adults still save using informal savings groups or under the proverbial mattress. Retail credit still remains constrained and unable to contribute effectively to growth in the economy. More than 70% of adults still borrow for short-term expenses from family and friends while less than 5% borrow from banks, less than 3% from MFIs.
This, in turn, limits the contribution of financial inclusion to achieving the broader policy objectives set forth by the government of Zambia such as domestic resource mobilisation, national development, access to finance for small and medium-size enterprises and, more broadly, their progress towards the sustainable development goals.

Recognizing the need to deliver of the broader potential of financial inclusion, the government of Zambia has made financial inclusion a top priority and will develop a financial inclusion strategy as part of the continuation of their financial sector development plan.

To inform this strategy, we are in the process of conducting a financial inclusion diagnostic under the global Making Access Possible (MAP) programme with Financial Sector Deepening Trust Zambia (FSDZ). This programme is a multi-country initiative to develop a robust evidence base on which to base financial inclusion and financial sector policy. The MAP programme in Zambia will work in partnership with the Bank of Zambia and Ministry of Finance to provide relevant information and appropriate recommendations on the market for financial services that can inform their strategy going forward.

We have shared some of our thoughts from our initial country visit and data analysis and will be sharing more on an ongoing basis, building up to the presentation of the MAP findings at the stakeholder workshop in early April. The diagnostic report will be published thereafter. If you would like to attend this event or contribute to the report please email

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