More than half of the adult population in Zimbabwe earn less than $100 per month as economic challenges persist in the country, a survey has shown.
The Finscope Consumer Survey Zimbabwe 2014 shows that access to social services such as water decreased in 2014 to 29% from 35% in 2011.
Improvements have however been noted on the education front where the percentage of those with no education decreased to 3% from 7%.
“On the other hand, 44% of the population had to skip a meal because of lack of money for food in 2014 compared to 29% in 2011. There has also been an increase in those unable to attend school due to lack of fees from 25% to 36% in 2014.The study shows that 65% of the adult population earn $100 or less per month,” the survey also showed.
Financial inclusion in Zimbabwe rose to 77% in 2014 from 60% in 2011, the study revealed.
It showed that banks were the main drivers of transactional and credit products although banking costs remained a barrier to banking.
“Banking infrastructure is inaccessible to those in rural areas where 70% of the population live. As expected, financial inclusion is relatively higher in rural areas due to the limited access to banking infrastructure and limited employment opportunities,” the survey revealed.
The number of the banked population increased to 30% or 2,08 million people from 24% registered in 2011.
“Banking in Zimbabwe is largely driven by the use of transactional products. A high percentage of the population (70%) is not banked with the majority of those indicating that they do not need a bank account (74%),” the survey said.
“Other reasons cited by individuals for not having a bank account are that they cannot afford to maintain a minimum balance required; bank charges are too high and many receive income in the form of cash and therefore have an insufficient balance for a bank account.”
The survey results further stated: “Only 30% of the population are banked — of those who do have a bank account, 67% regarded safety as the main reason for banking while 39% used bank accounts as a means to either deposit or receive money from an employer. Further, 20% of those who are banked believed that it was an easy way to obtain loans.”
The survey also showed that 53% of Zimbabweans do not save, the reason being that they were left with nothing after covering living expenses.
The survey was a follow up to another conducted in 2011 and it provided a benchmark for repeat surveys in order to enable the assessment of the impact of access related policy initiatives.
The FinScope Survey — developed by FinMark Trust — is a research tool to assess financial access in a country and to identify the constraints that prevent financial service providers from reaching the financially under- and unserved people. The FinScope Survey is a nationally representative survey of how adult individuals source their incomes and how they manage them.
The study was based on a nationally representative sample of adults who are 18 years or older.
A total of 4 000 face-to-face interviews were conducted by Research Continental-Fonkom while Africa Corporate Advisors were the local project coordinator. The sample is representative at national, urban/rural, and provincial levels.