Webster Mate
19 March 2020

Zambia just confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19 (18 March 2020). But even before then government already directed schools, colleges, varsities to close on 20th March 2020. Large gatherings are not allowed, not even at banks. Obviously, safety of citizens is being prioritised, which is good, but people will still need financial services for their day to day lives. It is good to note that people are being encouraged to use digital financial services to avoid handling of cash, a potential transmitter of the disease. Financial literacy week activities scheduled for 23-26 March 2020 have been postponed but also there are efforts to use digital platforms to disseminate messages in the meantime. During this period economic activity will likely decline especially going by what we have seen in China and elsewhere. For smaller economies like Zambia's already grappling with a high public debt, COVID-19 may just add to the challenges facing us.