Zimbabwe’s financially excluded find a home

Zimbabwe’s financially excluded find a home

Previously marginalized informal players in Zimbabwe are finally feeling a glimmer of hope at the prospect of financial inclusion.

Small to Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) have expressed optimism that the exclusion gap could soon become a thing of the past as Access Forex, a local remittances firm, has placed its hands-on deck playing its part in driving the financial inclusion agenda.

This drive is aimed at achieving the United Nations’ global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030, specifically SDG 8 and 10 which seek to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth while reducing inequalities.

Financial exclusion has been dominant in third world countries as self-sustained entrepreneurs in the informal sector have faced challenges around finding robust financial solutions without exclusionary checklists.

To worsen the already existing problem, the global pandemic, Covid-19, has plunged the world into an economic crisis that, unfortunately, did not spare the informal market that has traditionally relied on informal channels to transact.

Worryingly, the global scourge was worsened by an extensive carnage on the job market bleeding economic and social spheres.

Being in the remittances business, Access Forex strives to identify with the struggles that were birthed by financial marginalization and has prioritized responding to the call to make the crisis lighter especially on hardworking migrants, local SMEs and the remittances beneficiaries.

Violet Mutemachani, a 42-year-old Mbare-based entrepreneur who operates from Siyaso Market could not hide her joy as she narrated how her business has found a home with Access Forex.

Mutemachani gets raw materials from suppliers in Mutare, a city 263 kilometers outside Zimbabwe’s capital, and uses the metal to make various essentials that range from baking tins, watering kettles, bathing basins and others.

“We have really struggled to send and receive money. Lately cash has been scarce, and, in some instances, we have been forced to send money with bus drivers. It was slow and involved a lot of risks,” Mutemachani said.

She also explained that informal channels of sending money were unpredictable.

“Sometimes the bus drivers would hike the sending fee when they got to the receiver and this was unsustainable for business. The other time a driver lied to me that the money had been lost and I lost my entire capital,” she said.

Bolden Mbeve Bizariero (29), who also operates from the same area as Mutemachani said the emergence of new players like Access Forex in the remittances play had significantly eased the burden of sending money across the country.

“Since I started using Access Forex, life for me has been simpler. The convenience that comes with knowing that I can send money instantly to my foreman in Bulawayo for him to receive the cash instantly has been unmatched,” Bizariero said.

Access Forex has a mandate to deliver solutions to Zimbabwe’s unbanked populace.

Already, the firm offers cash transfer services, a product driven by market demands.

Priority to serve has also been given to Zimbabweans living the Diaspora, especially those living in the United Kingdom and South Africa for them to send money back home at affordable rates.

Financial inclusion is indeed everyone’s responsibility and it is also complimenting the Government and United Nation’s efforts through sustainable development goals.

Research shows that countries pushing the financial inclusion agenda — which encompasses access to affordable, appropriate financial services — have achieved stronger GDP growth rates and lower income inequality.

For Access Forex, driving financial inclusion goes beyond the bottom line, its aim is to focus on ushering economic empowerment, equality, and access to financial products regardless of gender, social status, or race.

Authors: Mildret Kujinga, Ndakaziva Majaka

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Access Finance goes global

HARARE, SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 – Finally! Zimbabweans will now be able to make global payments without a hustle.
Financial solutions firm, Access Finance, a registered bureau de change and money transfer agent, says it has developed a seamless payments product to facilitate global payments from Zimbabwe.
The firm – which already has a domestic remittances network spanning the whole country – has developed a product for import payments across the globe.
Access Finance’s Business Development Manager Mildret Kujinga said the finance solutions firm sought to plug the inconvenience clients have experienced over the past five years by failing to settle international obligations.
“Most Zimbabweans have been struggling to make payments outside the country. We have had students stranded outside the country, not because parents did not have the money to honour their obligations, but simply because parents could not find convenient ways of making these payments.
“Similarly, individuals have failed to sit for crucial examinations because they had failed to make payments to treasury bodies like the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and others.
“Our promise to our customers is that this is now a thing of the past. They can process these payments through us instantly,” Kujinga said.
Access Finance’s outbound remittances business enables customers to execute school and university fees payments, professional body subscriptions, import payments, medical bills and any other offshore payment that one may need to settle.
“There have been situations where clients needed to settle medical bills, say in India, but then had to watch loved ones waste away because there was simply no way of settling these bills.
“This will not happen again, as long as we can help it. Access will ensure these payments are made seamlessly,” Kujinga said.
Kujinga said the firm has proven capacity to facilitate payments across the world.
“We are licensed in the United Kingdom and South Africa with the exchange control authorities in both jurisdictions. We are not limited to Zimbabwe alone, we are global,” she said.
“We also do this locally. For instance, the parent is sitting on RTGS and wants to pay in USD or vice versa. Or they want to liquidate their nostro and still make payments. We are the go-to people because we will process all these payments without a hustle,” she added.
“Locally, we facilitate for conversion between foreign currencies and the Zimbabwean dollar. This makes us the go-to treasury and payments services provider.”, she added.
Highlighting that the company was equipped to do any currency switch ranging from ZAR to USD, GBP to USD, EUR to USD and vice versa, Kujinga said Access Forex also had in-house treasury solutions.
“For anything to do with forex, we are the go-to people. So, this means that even if you are traveling to any part of the world, you can visit us and we will switch the currencies for you without any hustle,” she said.

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