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President Opens Empowerment Bank, Zimbabwe’s First ‘Youth-Focused’ Bank

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Zimbabwe’s first youth-centric bank, called Empowerment Bank (EB) has just been launched today by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The bank, which is a microbank, in essence, has “been formed with the purpose of providing social and financial solutions to the financially excluded population with a greater focus on the youth”.

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EB was launched under the auspices of the government, no wonder the presence of a number of government officials. EB will be capitalised to the tune of $12 million. While banks today do offer junior bank accounts, this is the only institution completely focused on the youth segment. I think this type of bank is what we need to nurture the next generation of bank customers in their banking journey. Hence this is a good initiative by the government.

What does EB really do?

EB says;

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Empowerment bank offers loans to youth-led businesses in agricultural projects, asset finance, guarantees, savings accounts, cutting across urban, peri-urban and rural Zimbabwe

What are EB’s Products and Services?

Besides current accounts and savings account, EB will offer;

Loans- this encompasses the various forms of “micro credit” including; agricultural credit, rural credit, cooperative credit, order financing, invoice discounting and consumer credit.

EmpowerBank School fees loans- for those who need school fees for themselves and their family.

EmpowerBank Special accounts- a tailor maid product aimed at giving groups, clubs, societies and associations an opportunity to save, invest and access flexible financial services.

Rimawo Account- a savings account for farmers, agro traders (input suppliers, middlemen, agro retailer) and any other player in the Agri value chain.

After reading EB’s products, you probably noticed the usual ‘government-associated’ words; agri and agro (standing for agriculture). Yes EB is youth-centered but I don’t think its flagship products are very ‘youth friendly’ so to speak. These days how many youths are interested in interested in agriculture?  Just a few, I think. Yet EB’s business model seems to be defined by Agri based loans. I think these days youths is Zimbabwe are interested in technology and this is characterized by the number of technology startups that are emerging. 


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11 thoughts on “President Opens Empowerment Bank, Zimbabwe’s First ‘Youth-Focused’ Bank

  1. With this and the Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank launched some few days ago, there will be considerable real empowerment of the young people and women. What is most encouraging is that the initiatives are coming as commercial packages through new registered banks rather than parceling out of support straight from Government’s meager coffers or through forcing unprepared commercial banks . These are significant trans-formative developments which need to be supported by complementary project appraisal techniques, training and skills development strategies for beneficiaries, and robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure the micro banks are not overburdened by rising Non Performing Loans

    1. What empowerment came from the loans disbursed to “youths” last year? Almost noone paid back any of those funds, whilst you are talking about empowerment. The bank is also under the government, so the funds still come from the meager government coffers.

      Unfortunately, we are creating a nation of habitual borrowers and defaulters, even the civil courts are now just full of cases of defaulting/reneging of obligations. Especially when people know that it’s government money, they are more lax in repaying their loans. As well, some big fish also get their loans there too, which all end up written off.

  2. What a waste of resources!! This is easily done as a specialist offer within the same bank like Barclays or CBZ.

    What next, bank for WarVets??

    In normal countries, this is a standard service you get from any highstreet bank. You go in, open you kid account etc. If they are youth, the gvt finance the banks through incentitives or direct money payment.

    Whe

    1. EDb akaona kuti mabank acho haasi kuzviita its crucial part of developing zimbabwe and thus he has taken up the mantle

  3. Wow! Lets take the chance and benefit. Why can’t we give it a try.
    Take the opportunity and run for success………

  4. Good evening
    I am Uilson Ponce from Brazil I know it would not be the place for this subject, but I would like to buy 100 trillion notes this is possible,
    thank you sorry
    u.ponce@bol.com.br

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