Under our Sustainable income program, we promote economic empowerment of the poor and vulnerable. We also aim to improve household incomes for the poor and vulnerable, promoting income generating opportunities, saving & investment culture among the beneficiaries. We do this through conducting training in business management, entrepreneurships and marketing skills and provision of loans and through forming of saving and investment groups
So far 5000 people have been trained in business management entrepreneurship and marketing skills by the end of 2019 and additional 5000 people given small loans. We have formed over 100 saving and investment groups of 50 members each. We have also continued to advocate for community participation in the development, monitoring and evaluation of pro-poor policies through training communities in analysis and formulation of policies.
The poverty level in Uganda is shockingly high. According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics in the 2016/17 Household Survey, about 27% or 10 million people are poor. Although there are many ways to climb out of poverty, access to and usage of financial inclusion is one of the critical. The Survey also found that about 33% of Ugandans keep money at home or a secret place. That is the most common way people save money. This is followed by Village Savings and Loans Associations at 16%. With such a high number of people excluded from formal financial services, it is hard for them to graduate from one income level to another.
As such, the launch of the Uganda National Financial Inclusion Strategy on October 26, 2017 is not only critical, but timely. The Strategy uses the following definition, “Financial inclusion means that individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings and investments, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way”. That said, financial inclusion is critical for Uganda’s development as a means to reduce poverty, improve financial services competitiveness and increase public and private collaboration to achieve this common goal.
The launch of the Strategy by the Bank of Uganda and the Ministry of Finance is a clear commitment by the government of its prioritization of financial inclusion. The Strategy’s vision is that “All Ugandans have access to and use broad range of quality and affordable financial services which helps ensure their financial security.” The 2013 FinScope Survey showed that the number of adults accessing formal financial institutions increased from 28 percent in 2009 to 54 percent. Needless to say, this number needs to increase for us to realize the effects nationally.
National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) entails that “all Ugandans have access to, and use of, a broad range of quality and affordable financial services which helps ensure their financial security”. The NFIS seeks to reduce financial exclusion from 15 to five percent by 2022
Uganda’s NFIS is based on five key pillars that address both demand and supply side barriers to financial inclusion, with critical gaps identified under each strategic pillar. These pillars include: reducing financial exclusion and barriers to access financial services; developing the credit infrastructure for growth; building the digital infrastructure for efficiency; deepening and broadening formal savings, investment and insurance usage; and protecting and empowering individuals with enhanced financial capability.
“The ultimate objective of enhancing financial inclusion is to improve the welfare of Ugandan citizens and to contribute to socio-economic development” Governor Tumusiime Mutebile
- For Inspired Women Uganda, to contribute to this country strategy is providing women, financial literacy and provide them with micro-finance loans through the Inspired Women Fund.