Opportunity opens a new branch in Malawi

This is exciting news about the bank that Claudia works at. From the Malawi Nation:

Opportunity Bank opens Limbe branch
by Frank Phiri, 24 July 2006 - 08:57:52

Banker of the poor—Opportunity International Bank of Malawi (OIBM)—on Friday opened its first satellite branch for the Southern Region in Janoo House in Limbe opposite the Metro Shop.

OIBM Head of Banking Operations Steve Mgwadira said in an interview soon after opening the branch that it has been established to cater for the largely unbanked low-income but economically active groups.

Mgwadira said Limbe is a strategic point that will service customers from satellite areas such as Thondwe, Namadzi, Mayaka, Thyolo, Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Mwanza, Chikwawa and Phalombe.

“Limbe is an ideal catchment area for many low-income groups who are into small and medium scale business. They all come and meet here to transact and we wanted to give them a chance to access financial services,” he said.

Mgwadira said the OIBM satellite branch is offering Savings Accounts and various loan products for business people as well as medium-income earning workers. It also offers auto-teller machine (ATM) services branded Quick Cash

He said OIBM attracts a minimum book deposit of K500 and has credit lines providing up to K2 million and more depending on the profile of the customer. The loan products are tailored for vendors, individual customers, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and salaried employees.
Many people were seen streaming into the new branch to open new accounts.

One of them, Anne Kamanga said she could not resist to come and open an account after hearing that OIBM has assisted many start-up entrepreneurs in Lilongwe and surrounding areas.

“I have a friend in Lilongwe who started very small two years ago, but today she is transacting in millions of kwacha,” she said.

Another new customer, Angela Nazombe, said she decided to open an account at OIBM because it offers her the flexibility and convenience she looks for in a bank.

“When I go to these so-called big banks, I get frustrated even before any process starts. But OIBM is user-friendly,” she said.
OIBM is a branch of the global Christian network called Opportunity International. In Malawi, the financial institution has garnered a reputation as a “no-frills” bank among the urban and semi poor.
The Bankers Association of Malawi estimates that 40 percent of all financial transactions in the country do not see a bank.


You can't make a basket out radio waves

>From Ethan Zuckerman's blog:

Throughout the continent, fixed network operators are reporting
significant losses from “vandalism� to their cables, both those buried
beneath the ground and those hanging from poles. Thieves cut sections of
cable to sell for the copper it contains - oddly enough, one of the
worst affected companies is Zamtel, which reports lots of theft in the
“copper belt� region of the country. In Nairobi, thieves have damaged
the fiberoptic trunks, believing (incorrectly) that those cables had
resale value. (I’m waiting for an art movement based on baskets of fiber
that glow…)

Wireless makes sense in so many ways. You can't build one of these with
a pile of radio waves, eh?