One of the country’s commercial banks, New Finance Bank (NFB), has opened a branch at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa District.
NFB Chief Executive Officer, Zandile Shaba, said Dzaleka has seen an explosion of micro-businesses.
“Most refugees worldwide are excluded from accessing formal banking facilities but this new branch will offer them banking products and functions such as fixed deposits, savings and transactional accounts, access to an ATM, agency banking, money transfer and foreign exchange transactions,” Shaba said.
Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Cecilia Chazama, lauded NFB for the initiative stressing that it would lessen processes the refugees had to go through to get exit permits and travel to access such services in nearby towns.
“I am aware that our refugees and asylum seekers had to go as far as Dowa, Mponela and Lilongwe just to access banking facilities and the agency here will ease pressure on camp management in issuing exit permits just for banking,” Chazama said.
UNHCR Malawi representative, Monique Ekoko, said the launch of the branch would help the refugees to save money and conduct daily personal transactions. She said the initiative would promote self-reliance and independence among the refugees.
“We are delighted that NFB management has incorporated some Dzaleka community members in the running of its operations as it draws on the human resource capacities in the camp,” Ekoko said.