Zambia has one of the lowest penetration rates of the financial sector in Eastern and Southern Africa especially in the rural areas. Zambia’s Revised Sixth National Development Plan (RSNDP, 2011-15) notes that economic growth has not translated into significant reductions in poverty or improved general living conditions for many Zambians. This is especially the case for many households in rural areas who are dependent on agricultural activities. The RSNDP puts rural development high on the agenda, recognizing the need to reduce the high poverty levels in rural areas. In addition to the focus on stimulating agricultural productivity and promotion of agri-businesses, increased access to financial services in rural areas has been identified as one of the important thrust areas.
Zambia has made improvements over the years in terms of financial services delivery outlets/channels offered by both the formal and informal financial institutions. Despite that, the level of adults Zambians above 18 years who are excluded from financial services remains significant.
It is for this reason that RFDP Zambia in partnership with Global Social Development Innovation at the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, US, and Dr Kimberly Elenez and family have launched the Rural Women Empowerment Fund (RWEF) Project in Zambia.
The aim of this project is to promote financial services thereby increasing income levels and reducing poverty among the disempowered women and men in Lundazi, Lumezi, Chasefu, Solwezi, Kalumbila and Mushindamo districts in Zambia.
RWEF Project Expected Outcomes