Malawi Snapshot:

  • Year MAP began: 2014
  • Adult population: 8m
  • % adults use at least one regulated financial service: 34%
  • % adults use only unregulated financial services: %
  • % adults excluded: 52%

Formal financial access in Malawi is very limited and has seen little improvement over the past five years, over half the population remains excluded, despite a number of initiatives to develop the market. Informal financial service use has significantly increased in response to these challenges. Macro-economic, infrastructural, and political challenges are key drivers of this result and will need to be addressed to make substantial sustainable inroads into financial inclusion. These challenges are largely beyond the control of financial service stakeholders, but have a direct impact on the cost of provision, value of products to consumers and consumers’ needs.

Based on the needs of the various target markets in Malawi and the general market constraints, the following five priority areas were identified during the MAP diagnostic process:

  1. Expanding the reach of payments
  2. Leveraging VSLAs to enable savings
  3. Targeted finance for MSMEs and farmers
  4. Niche insurance opportunities to reduce vulnerability
  5. Effective consumer empowerment and education.

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