As Uganda joins the rest of the world to mark the financial inclusion week, it has been revealed that over 400,000 Ugandans initially excluded from financial services currently have access to the same.
This was revealed by the Executive Director of Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSDU), Jacqueline Muna Musiitwa at a financial inclusion symposium held at Serena International Conference Centre, that was attended by several top officials from various banks and financial institutions including the State Minister of Trade, Cooperatives and Microfinance.
“I can proudly say that with generous support from the UK government, through the Department for International Development, FSDU has become a key facilitator and leader in the effort to make the financial services sector work for all Ugandans. Since its establishment as a company in 2015, FSDU has continued to grow and innovate to best serve Uganda and as such has built up capacity to bring about change in the way of doing business. We don’t do this alone. Through our partners, we’ve impacted the lives of over four hundred thousand men and women who were previously excluded individuals by giving them access to a suitable and affordable formal financial services product,” Ms Musiitwa told the guests.
She further added that FSDU has managed to support innovation for over 2,500 micro and small to medium enterprises through alternative credit scoring, microfinance solutions and better record keeping and financial management practices.
“These are businesses fighting not only to survive but to thrive and through our support, now have a chance at improving their livelihoods. But beyond the numbers, our goal is in collaboration and partnership to make the financial markets work for the poor. For too long, the bulk of Uganda’s population has depended on the good will of others.
“But we believe that there’s not only unbelievable potential in the entrepreneurial spirit of the people in the Pearl of Africa but there is a sound business reason to tap this potential, not tomorrow but today. The latest Fin scope study, a financial services landscape survey pioneered by FSDU and used by several public and private institutions, shows that only one in every five adults (representing 3.3 million adults) had a formal account of some nature in formal banks or nonbank formal intuitions. We must do better,” she said.
According to Ms. Musiitwa, the FII tracker from the Gates Foundation shows that 6 in 10 Ugandans are financially excluded.
“This means they have no access to formal or non-bank financial services. As we prepare to carry out the next Fin scope survey, we expect this number to have improved, but work remains to be done. We must do better. We will do better,” she noted.
“The challenge before us is not an easy one, but together, through sound design, innovative risk taking and efficient government policy, I believe that we can get there. FSDU is here to provide the support that you as regulators, policy makers and private sector financial service providers may require in maximizing not only your own potential but that of all Ugandans,” Ms. Musiitwa added.
Speaking on behalf of government, the State Minister of Trade Michael Werikhe lauded FSDU for complimenting government to ensure that most Ugandans have access to financial services.
“I commend FSDU for addressing one of the key challenges to Uganda’s SMEs.”