Advancing Financial Inclusion in Malawi through Fin Mobile

August 10, 2023

In a momentous stride towards achieving financial inclusivity and prosperity in Malawi, UNDP Malawi in collaboration with FINCOOP SACCO have launched ‘Fin Mobile’, a revolutionary digital banking application.  This cutting-edge platform is set to empower and uplift communities by fostering financial inclusion and driving economic growth across the nation. 
Introduced through the Innovative Finance Window of the Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF), this mobile application specifically targets micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that have long faced financial exclusion owing to perceived high risk.  With 'Fin Mobile,' these underserved businesses now have a chance to access essential financial services and bridge the gap towards economic empowerment and success.
The financial landscape of Malawi is marked by significant levels of financial exclusion, where approximately 60% of adults lack access to formal financial services, and only about 14 % of adults actively utilize formal financial services, as reported by the RBM/UNCDF 2020 Survey. This situation underscores the pressing need for initiatives like 'Fin Mobile' to address these challenges and bring about greater financial inclusion in the country.
FINCOOP has broken new ground through the initiative as the first SACCO in Malawi to prioritize SMEs as their primary customer base.
Speaking at the launch, Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (MUSCCO) CEO, Mr. Fumbani Nganyulu addressed the critical role that the mobile banking platform will play in the country. He said, “By embracing this innovative business model, we are empowering thousands of MSMEs and smallholder farmers across rural communities, who were previously underserved, to access essential financial services.”
The newly launched mobile application stands as a prime illustration of the untapped potential within Malawi's financial sector in harnessing the power of mobile services, to contribute significantly to the realization of  Malawi 2063, which aims to transform the country into a wealthy and self-reliant industrialized upper middle-income country. By embracing innovative technologies like 'Fin Mobile,' Malawi paves the way for inclusive economic growth and paves a path towards achieving its long-term developmental objectives.
As UNDP continues to explore new ways of doing things, the MICF mechanism has played a key role in testing innovative products and services to help generate pro-poor social and economic impact in Malawi.

In her remarks, the UNDP Private Sector Specialist, Cinzia Tecce said, “Malawi’s private sector, which is a precursor to economic growth, poses significant growth potential. It is therefore encouraging to note that key players are recognizing the need for improving access to finance for SMEs and resource-constrained producers to unlock the country’s inclusive and development potential.”
Since its establishment in 2019, the FINCOOP SACCO project made remarkable strides, accomplishing noteworthy milestones.  To date, the project has disbursed loans amounting to over MK1.5 billion effectively catering to the needs of  5000 SMEs.  Additionally, the project has successfully accumulated savings surpassing MK1.3 billion, further reinforcing its impact on the financial landscape.  The initiative's success is evident in its significant support to 800 SMEs through its diverse loan products, catering to personal and business operations.