Women’s Access to Financial Services in Zambia

Commissioned by FSD Zambia, the Bank of Zambia and GIZ, but produced by New Faces New Voices, this qualitative study focuses on women’s usage of and behaviour towards financial services in Zambia.

To do this, the study examines:

  • Usage (levels and trends)
  • Sources of usage (formal, semi-formal and informal)
  • Products used
  • Regional differences
  • Awareness, understanding and perceptions
  • Drivers of, opportunities for and constraints to access
  • Household dynamics

The report finds that women tend to use more financial services than men, and that formal access is relatively low. Low levels of income, financial literacy and confidence amongst women tend to be the main barriers to formal financial access. A culture of saving and good reputation with financial service providers represents an opportunity to extend access to women.

Within the household women tend to have more decision-making power over money from farming, commerce, and restaurants, whilst men tend to have more decision-making power over money from salaried work, construction, livestock and transport. Men also recognise that there are certain things that women do better, which leads to different patterns of financial service use.


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  • For me I believe women are not given a chance to expose their talents and capabilities in the work place as well as the their homes .From my personal experience I see women are the backbone of every household but are not given an opportunity to show case their capabilities and skills because of one of many reasons such as cultural beliefs and the lack of opportunity to show case what they can do to help improve economies of scale in the home and also in their countries as a whole .I am very pleased that now we as women are being recognised as a force to recon with in the communities and such initiatives are being brought up to boost confidence of the women especially in the African society were we are mostly made to take the back seat .continue the good work .

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