Policy plays a primary role in the expansion of financial services for Zambia. Policy has the ability, through law making, to generate creative strategies to improve pre-existing programs and support innovative ideas.
From 2004 to 2015, the Government of the Republic of Zambia’s (GRZ’s) financial inclusion objectives were encapsulated within its broader financial sector reform programme, the Financial Sector Development Programme—FSDP (2004-2009) and FSDP II (2010-2015). The programme was coordinated by the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) on behalf of the Ministry of Finance, and included the Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). FSDP and FSDP II made positive progress in, among other things, harmonising and supporting laws and strategies that contribute towards financial inclusion in Zambia.
FSDP II formally ended in June 2015. GRZ is currently in the process of formulating a National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) with the support of the World Bank’s Financial Inclusion Support Framework (FISF). Though focused on financial inclusion, it was announced at the formal launch of FISF in Lusaka on 2 November 2015 that it will be designed to cover broad financial sector development issues including: a wide range of sectoral issues such as payments systems, financial infrastructure, MSME finance, and agricultural finance; specifically financial inclusion issues like financial capability and consumer protection; and cross cutting issues such as gender and youth.
The policy environment in Zambia has significant implications for promoting financial inclusions and wide range of programmes supported by FSDZ, mainly in the areas of digital finance, finance for smallholder farmers and households, sector information and communications and financial capability. FSDZ’s work in the policy sector aims to support financial service regulators and other policy-makers in their re-alignment and engagement around financial inclusion post-FSDP and in the formulation and implementation of laws, regulations and strategies to create an enabling environment for financial inclusion. Given that influencing policy requires patience to achieve impact, FSDZ seeks to facilitate opportunities for dialogue on prospective laws, regulations and strategies as well as support relevant technical assistance to advise on prospective drafts.