ZIMBABWE Association of Microfinance Institutions (Zamfi) board chairperson Virginia Sibanda has called for more efforts to boost the financial inclusion of women.
Sibanda made the call during a Zamfi leadership symposium for women chief executive officers held in Harare recently.
“There is a need to demand more for women in terms of access to finance. We can talk at length about financial inclusion, but if the data still shows that access to finance by women is still very low, it means that more work remains to be done,” Sibanda said.
She pleaded with chief executive officers in the country’s microfinance sector to come up with solutions and products relevant to the needs of women.
“We are all representing that woman somewhere who does not have access to platforms like these. Each time we look at solutions that are being proposed or that we are proposing, let us pause a little bit and see if these solutions really speak to the needs of the women in our rural areas, women in the areas where most of us grew up, Mbare for instance in my case,” she said, adding that solutions divorced from the reality on the ground would not produce the desired results.
“People are not statistics and neither are they projects so we need to approach everything that we do with sensitivity and understanding.
“We have a huge responsibility to lobby and fight for those voices that might even have better ideas than ours. Let us engage them, listen to them and walk with them and perhaps a year from now, we will have made greater strides in the financial inclusion journey.”
Apart from Sibanda, the Zamfi leadership symposium for women chief executive officers was also attended by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe deputy governor Jesimen Chipika, Zimbabwe Gender Commission chairperson Margaret Mukahanana Sangarwe, Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank chief executive officer Mandas Marikanda, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries chief executive Sekai Kuwarika, MoneyMart Finance chief executive Ethel Mpambwa and Zimbabwe Microfinance Fund Board chairperson Ntokozo Mkandla Ncube.