The Rural Finance Unit was formed in April 2018 under the Investments and Debt Management Department in the Ministry of Finance, with the mandate of coordinating, reviewing policies and strategies, monitoring and evaluating activities and programs in the sub-sector to ensure that the Key actions underpinning the Rural Finance Policy and Strategy (RFPS) are fulfilled.
The Government through the Ministry of Finance developed the RFPS in 2012, which was subsequently launched in November 2017. The RFPS was developed as a result of the Government of the Republic of Zambia’s (GRZ) need for a comprehensive and streamlined national framework that addresses the complexities and demands of rural finance as it specifically pertains to financial inclusion and socio-economic development in general.
The Vision of the Rural Finance Unit is to have vibrant and well-resourced rural communities that enjoy prospects of sustained social-economic development. The above shall be achieved through the promotion of financial inclusion in rural communities. Meaningful financial inclusion can be attained by promoting universal access to and usage of a broad range of quality and affordable financial products and services that meet the needs of rural communities.
Government will endeavour to employ suitably qualified and skilled man power to spearhead the implementation of the rural finance initiatives and activities.
The Government will adopt a nimble and flexible strategy, responding quickly and appropriately to the demand for Government action created by private sector innovations in products and services or in ways of scaling up the delivery of products and services. Thus Government will support demand-driven and innovative approaches of the private sector that are workable and result based.
To effectively implement the Rural Finance Policy and Strategy, the Rural Finance Unit works in close collaboration with partner institutions at the macro, meso and micro levels.
Information asymmetry is considered as a major constraint to enhancing financial inclusion. Through effective knowledge management, the Rural Finance endeavors to narrow the information gap between players on the demand and supply side in the rural finance sub-sector.
"Rural finance can be promoted by supporting informal schemes such as community based savings groups, as well as by fostering formal institutions through technical assistance (supply-side measures) and assisting poor households and small enterprises in accessing financial services (demand-side measures)..."
“Financial illiteracy is a major contributor to the low levels of financial inclusion in rural areas.”