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Photo: Presidência da Repúblicade Moçambique / presidencia.gov.mz
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Friday witnessed the laying of the first stone for building the first bank branch ever in the district of Muidumbe, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The ceremony was part of the project “one district, one bank”, launched by Nyusi in 2016, to ensure that all 152 districts in the country have at least one bank branch.
The Muidumbe bank is a branch of the Commercial and Investment Bank (BCI), which is the second largest commercial bank in the country. The first stone was laid jointly by the Cabo Delgado provincial governor, Julio Parruque, and the chairperson of the BCI board of directors, Paulo Sousa.
Nyusi told the ceremony that bringing banking services to rural areas runs in tandem with the efforts to secure a definitive and lasting peace.
“When we promote peace, we want the people to be able to work at will, and we want investment to happen”, he said. “More investment means more money. This runs parallel to the peace process”.
When Nyusi launched the “one district, one bank” initiative, the vast majority of bank branches were concentrated in Maputo and the ten provincial capitals. Vast swathes of the countryside had no banking services at all. Only 85 of the 152 districts had a bank (56 per cent).
The situation has improved since then, and there are now 102 banks in the districts. This is part of a national strategy of “financial inclusion” due to run until 2022.
“In our development of Mozambique, it is the countryside that produces, and the countryside needs somewhere to keep its savings”, said Nyusi.
The government’s target is that by the end of 2019, all the districts should have at least one bank, allowing at least four million Mozambicans to gain access to a bank within a short distance.
Muidumbe has a population of about 100,000. With no banks in the district, people whose wages are paid through the banking system had to walk long distances into other districts in order to receive their money.
With the appearance of more large scale mining projects in Cabo Delgado, more money would flow into the province, and purchasing power would increase, said Nyusi, thus necessitating more banks.
Sousa said the new BCI branch in Muidumbe will be opened within three months. He added that since Nyusi’s initiative was launched in August 2016 in Maxixe, in the southern province of Inhambane, the BCI has opened new branches in seven districts.