Financial exclusion remains a challenge in Malawi despite government efforts to increase financial inclusion through the development of policies and the implementation of financial inclusion strategies. Limited information exists on the contribution of these policies and strategies to the promotion financial inclusion. The overall purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which policies and strategies in Malawi promote financial inclusion. The specific objectives of the study were to identify the relevant policies and strategies, determine their objectives, design, strengths and weaknesses, and their contribution to promoting financial inclusion.
The study used the Global Microscope 2019 tool on enabling environments for financial inclusion to assess the following policies and strategies: the microfinance policy, the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion – NSFI I (2010-2015), the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion – NSFI II (2016-2020), the National Agriculture Policy – NAP (2016), the National Agriculture Investment Plan – NAIP (2018-2023), the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy – MGDS III (2017-2022), and the National Multi-sector Nutritional Policy (2018-2022). Further, various conceptual frameworks were reviewed, which led to the development of a conceptual framework on the contribution of policies and strategies to financial inclusion.
It was determined that the extent to which policies and strategies promote financial inclusion in Malawi varies from high to low. The study concluded that policies and strategies that promote financial inclusion had action plans that focused closely on infrastructure development and government coordination and support. Policies and strategies that lacked stability and integrity in implementation, including those that failed to define financial inclusion clearly and describe the target groups, did not promote financial inclusion. The study recommended that financial inclusion should be mainstreamed in other development policies and strategies to ensure holistic support to the same cause.
Key Words: Financial Inclusion, National Financial Inclusion Strategy, policies and strategies, Malawi.
Dissertation (MAgric (Rural Development))--University of Pretoria, 2020.