By Kenneth C. Mkandawire
Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has encouraged commercial banks to provide services that promote financial inclusion.
Deputy Governor (DG) of RBM, Dr. Grant Kabango, made the remarks at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe on Wednesday when he patronized Standard Bank’s launch of the Unayo digital financial service platform.
Speaking in an interview after the actual inauguration ceremony of Unayo which is a Swahili name that means “You have it,” Kabango said it was necessary for the RBM to be part of such a historic moment for Standard Bank while they continue to work hand in hand in promoting the financial inclusion agenda for the government.
Said Kabango: “We have always encouraged the banks to value their customers and have noted through the presentation of this Unayo facility that it has the customer at heart and we urge the banks to consider such initiatives thus we thought our presence on this occasion would be key to demonstrate that kind of support.”
He then pointed out that as the central bank, they presume that the newly introduced facility will exist to accommodate each and every customer in a convenient manner in the service sector as Standard Bank intends to extend the accessibility of its facilities.
“There are usually arrangements put in place in every financial service sector. We have noted that Standard bank has considered all those factors and have provided guidelines that will enable anyone to get on board. It is an affordable service,” Kabango explained.
In a separate interview at the event, Standard bank Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Philip Madinga said the Unayo innovation will not only address financial inclusion gaps but also will intervene on the issues of unemployment by providing business opportunities to Malawians respectively.
“This product is a digital platform that connects different eco-systems with ease and simplicity through the mobilization of new customers and merchants that we will have online, it will enable the bank to serve millions of customers unlike the current conventional banking systems that face several challenges.
“If you are registered as a merchant it means that one will be able to run a business as they will be able to earn commissions when connecting other customers through the platform for various financial transaction purposes,” he explained.
Madinga then revealed that Standard bank intends to grow and scale up Unayo as it will potentially become an efficient financial digital platform.
Out of the estimated 19 Million people in Malawi, only about two million have bank accounts across the 9 commercial banks available in Malawi.
Meanwhile, the newly introduced Unayo digital platform will bring the banking services right to the customer’s doorstep where among other things they will be able to send and receive money, pay bills and top up airtime instantly.