Mozambique: Only 44 rural districts have working bank branches

10 March 2009

Maputo, Mozambique, 10 Mar – Only 44 out of 128 districts in rural areas have working branches in Mozambique.

A total of 343 branches are operating in 44 districts, an increase of 115 compared with 2007, Macauhub has learned.

The Mozambican government and the Banco de Moçambique have invited financial institutions to come to rural areas.

In response to this appeal some banks are already opening branches in rural areas, particularly BCI which is investing US$10 million in the opening of 45 branches throughout the country.

The most recent step in response to the government appeal was the opening of its fifth branch in Chibuto district in Gaza province after BCI had unveiled its ambitious project in the agricultural district of Boane in Maputo province.

BCI began an ambitious project in the district of Boane in 2008, through which it intends to invest US$10 million to open 45 agencies throughout the country, including rural areas, where over 75 percent of the population live.

Bento Baloi, of Banco de Mozambique, told macauhub that “when we started the initiative to set up banks in rural areas two years ago, only 28 districts had a branch.”

“We changed legislation and the reaction of the banks has been positive,” said Baloi.

Another bank which has recently opened a branch in the rural zone is the South African First National Bank, which, like BCI, opened a branch in the rural district of Namialos, in Nampula province.

Most of the Mozambican population live in rural areas and often have to travel great distances even for simple transactions like deposits or withdrawals.

The Mozambican financial sector has 14 banks, six credit cooperatives and 85 microcredit agencies. (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH