NTCHEU-(MaraviPost)-Standard Bank has partnered with Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprise (Farmse) in rural scaling of its newly-launched digital banking platform called Unayo, starting with Lizulu Trading centre in Ntcheu near the borderline with Mozambique.

Unayo is a platform solution focused on creating an ecosystem of clients and merchants to provide communities with simpler means of transacting and accessing cash.

The launch of the partnership took place on December 1 2021 at Lizulu Trading Centre in Ntcheu District where key guest of honor was His Royal Majesty Inkosi Gomani V whose headquarters is located some 300 metres from the trading centre.

The three-year partnership involves US$1 million grant to Standard Bank that will target 300,000 people across the country.

The bank will deploy various financial interventions such as financial education and support to Unayo merchants in rural areas to reach out to communities.

Speaking at the event Standard Bank chief executive, Phillip Madinga, said the partnership is essential as it targets a segment that constitutes a majority of the unbankable population.

“This partnership will give over 80 percent of the country’s population an opportunity to use banking services with ease and convenience. Unayo has come to provide timely financial solutions primarily to those with no prior access to banking services via a bank account. Farmse will give Unayo a cutting edge and together we will improve livelihoods of Malawians, said Madinga.

In his remarks, Rogers Zamatchetcha Mbekeani who is Rural Finance Specialist at FARMSE said they are hopeful that the partnership with Standard Bank to utilize Unayo platform gives them leverage to upscale delivery of their services to their catchment population.

“This partnership is helping us fulfill one of our objectives which is to increase access to financial services among rural communities.”

Also speaking at the event, Inkosi Gomani V thanked both Standard Bank and FARMSE for pushing financial inclusion interventions to rural communities through solutions that are positioned to transform livelihoods at household level.

The Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprises (FARMSE) is a US$57 million seven-year nationwide development programme implemented by the Ministry of Finance, Economic, Planning and Development from 2018 to 2025.

The programme supports household economic development through access to financial services that are appropriate to each socioeconomic level of poverty.

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