Malawi benefits from Comesa digital financial inclusion plan

Malawi is among the top five countries in Africa to benefit from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) digital financial inclusion plan.

Dr. Jonathan Pinifolo: We will work hand in hand with Finance and ICT regulators in all 21 COMESA
member states for a harmonised policy framework.
Sandra Uwera: Comesa Business Council CEO

The regional bloc, Comesa is implementing a digital financial inclusion plan aimed at promoting trade within the region and includes marginalised communities, which are excluded in terms of financial inclusion.

This was made known last week at a high-powered business case validation meeting held in Lusaka, Zambia.

Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi Dr. Dalitso Kabambe in his keynote speech said: “Interoperability is key to commercial banks and network operators for the uptake of digital financial services; it enhances Small and Medium enterprises (SMEs) trade through facilitation of seamless money transfer.”

Comesa Business Council chief executive officer, Sandra Uwera expressed gratitude to the Malawi Government for supporting the Digital financial Inclusion initiatives, which will increase intra-trade within COMESA region by at least 10% annually.

Project Manager for Digital Financial Inclusion at COMESA Business Council, Dr. Jonathan Pinifolo said: “The North-South corridor is the most extensive corridor system in the region, linking the largest number of countries in eastern and southern Africa.

“The countries we are working with in this region include Malawi and Zambia, and out of the 21 countries, they have picked nine countries in Africa based on the trade activities taking place within the various trade corridors.”

According to Pinifolo, the nine countries include; Mauritius, Egypt, Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania in EAC.

Pinifolo further explained that Comesa has already developed a business case report and follow up interventions which include harmonising Finance and ICT policy frameworks within the region, capacity building of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)

“We have also developed the commissioning of a regional integrated digital common payment scheme incorporating commercial banks, Mobile Network Operators, Fintechs and other institutions providing financial services,” said Pinifolo.

Speaking during the opening ceremony, Assistant Secretary General for Programmes at COMESA, Ambassador Dr. Kipyego Cheluget said that COMESA as a strong advocate for enterprise growth and development of our local and regional markets, the meeting was held in a timely period when they are focusing on the growth of Small and Medium enterprises.

“Africa’s economic transformation lies in the ability to increase value addition and strengthen the participation of our SMEs in national and regional supply chains”, said Cheluget.

Among other institutions, the business case validation was attended by Reserve Bank of Malawi, MACRA, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Ministry of ICT, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Malawi Confederation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Commercial banks (National Bank of Malawi and Standard Bank), Telecommunication Operators (Airtel and MTL), NITEL, SPARC Systems, ICT Association of Malawi (ICTAM), NABW, Bayer, National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Legis Policy Associates from Kenya and Kiani Holdings from South Africa.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa is a free trade area with twenty-one member states stretching from Tunisia to Eswatini.

Comesa was established when a treaty was signed on November 5, 1993, in Kampala, Uganda, and then ratified the following year in Lilongwe, Malawi, on December 8, 1994. It replaced the former Preferential Trade Area (PTA) that existed in 1981.

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Mark Mtendere
Mark Mtendere
7 months ago

Congratulations for this DFI plan which will assist undeserved communities and job creation. Ndizotheka ndithu.

Martin kutengule
Martin kutengule
7 months ago

This digital financial inclusion plan makes some economic sense. Almost 80% of the business community in most countries is governed by SMEs and this is truly an engine for economic growth. Enhancing this sector of SMEs is quite critical and we should all understand that this is how the 1 million jobs will partly be created by this new government through such interventions. The VP understands regional trends and on top of their game.

Big man Economist
Big man Economist
7 months ago

Well done COMESA. Joint efforts of both ICT and Finance institutions are critical and this is the sole reason why World Bank and ITU are pushing the same agenda globally. It will now be upon Reserve Bank and MACRA to transform the Digital Financial Inclusion Agenda through the harmonised framework

Smart City
Smart City
7 months ago

Just like Dr Ngalande, this doctor, a Poly Alimni has no bachelor’s degree and like wise Dr Mtumbuka has no Master’s degree but a PhD after his first degree. Cograts for the financial inclusions initiative.

Namakhwa
Namakhwa
7 months ago

Its high time our commercial banks starts putting banking agents in rural areas so that people should not be travelling long distances to access financial services. On the other hand Universal Access funds collected by MACRA should also be put into proper use to bridge digital divide in these rural areas. East Africa countries like Rwanda are excelling in making the lives of their citizens better. Why not with Malawi. Tidalakwa chani amalawife. Tisamafinyike chonde. We have got all what it takes to transform our country.

James K
James K
7 months ago

I was one of the participants in this meeting and I can tell you, COMESA has taken the right path for developing countries like Malawi. The economy of Kenya in East Africa Community is doing well because of Digital Financial Inclusion. The most important factor is political will.

Wongani
Wongani
7 months ago

I agree with you ITSANANA. These are some of the boys who were misused by MACRA and yet they are well experienced and qualified. Its now time to grow our nation and focus on professionalism other than awarding cadets. Take note of this free advice if we are to grow this nation.

Enukweni
Enukweni
7 months ago

SMEs are indeed an engine for Economic growth of any country. We have seen the likes of Mr. Korea Mpatsa growing our Malawi Economy and employing a large number of people. Thus the way to go. Financial Inclusion should indeed be our focus area

Katswiri
Katswiri
7 months ago

This is the news we would like to hear. Thank you Dr. P. for influencing so that your country Malawi should benefit. You are the true son of the soil and very patriotic

ITSANANA
ITSANANA
7 months ago

This is a very good initiative to help Malawi grow the marginalised communities. SKC, these are the boys you need to recall from COMESA and help you rebuild the Public sector.

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