The Institute of Bankers in Malawi (IOB) has said 75 percent of country’s population has no access to formal banking services.

IOB Chairperson, Eric Ouattara, told reporters in Blantyre on Friday that there is need to bring as many Malawians as possible into banking.

Ouattara said the forthcoming Bankers Conference, slated for Mangochi from August 23 to 25, will help them strategise on how best to bring more Malawians into banking.

The conference will be held under the theme ‘Financial Sector Synergies: A Catalyst for Financial Inclusion’.

“The theme was chosen after careful consideration knowing that financial inclusion cannot be a reality without synergies. We need a lot of stakeholders such as the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), the government and financial industry for us to drive financial inclusion and that is why the invitation is to all institutions as well as bank customers

“About 75 percent of the population in Malawi is unbanked and the conference will seek ways to increase their mass and tap into the financially excluded population such as farmers, day labourers and people who receive social welfare funds,” Ouattara said.

He said OIB plans on addressing financial inclusion problems are in line with Financial Inclusion Strategy that was launched by the Government of Malawi in 2017.

Among others, the strategy focuses on policy challenges facing Malawi as it seeks to increase access to financial services for all while managing policy challenges and supervisory risks.

“Financial institutions must seek ways to increase their mass and tap into the financially excluded population such as farmers, day labourers. Without a bank account or easy access to a bank, individuals may not be able to save money or invest in a new or existing business.

“Failure to improve financial inclusion in Malawi would not only have a negative impact on economic consequences for the poor and underprivileged in the society but also suppress economic growth,” Ouattara said.

United States of America (USA) Ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer, is expected to be the guest of honour at the indaba.

Ouattara said, in addition, RBM Governor, Dalitso Kabambe will deliver a keynote address and all commercial bank chief executive officers will be in attendance to discuss matters with regards to financial inclusion and make resolutions.

IOB held its first annual Bankers Lake Conference in November 2016 and its second annual conference was held in August 2017 under the theme ‘Banking Industry in Turbulent Times, What Does It Take To Survive’.

In the picture below: Ouattara (right) briefing reporters as IOB officials look on

eric ouattara