Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has commended strides made in the country’s financial sector, describing present digital platforms as a vehicle that will foster the country’s financial inclusion and ease access to financial services.
The minister was speaking in an interview at the launch of three digital platforms in Blantyre on Monday. The initiatives are Malawi Stock Exchange Automated System, National Switch Operationalisation and Malawi Financial Institution (MFI) Hub funded by World Bank’s Financial Sector Technical Assistance Project (Fstap).
He said the development shows that Malawi has the capacity to do a number of innovative technologies which can ultimately improve financial inclusion.
“The discussion about Malawi has been that the country is not making any progress and that we are not doing enough to transform the country so as to move forward. But the demonstration that we have seen today suggests otherwise,” he said.
MFI is a common, shared and integrated platform providing an interoperable electronic data processing infrastructure that meet MIS needs of microfinance institutions and financial cooperatives such as Saccos.
National Switch is a platform that connects government through the Accountant General, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) which is connected to all banks, MFIs and shops with Point of Sale devices and mobile phoneS.
The Automated Trading System on the other hand is a system that ensures instant and simultaneous exchange of cash and securities in a trade, thereby facilitating trading of the securities and change of ownership in a much more efficient way.
Speaking separately, RBM governor Dalitso Kabambe described the three platforms as the most successful projects government has ever implemented to revolutionise completely the entire country’s payment architecture and system.
He said Malawi is the only country in the world to have one National Switch which connects every other system to one, enabling people to transact across the board, replacing cash and cheques.
On his part, World Bank senior private sector development specialist Efrem Chilima expressed satisfaction with the performance, infrastructure and legal reforms of the platforms, urging authorities to work towards ensuring the platforms translate into some positive impact on the ground.
As at December 2018, K100 billion was transacted using the National Switch. Out of this figure, K67 billion is transacted monthly using mobile money services.