What you need to know about Chilimba


If you’re looking for a way to save that’s unique to Zambia, you have to consider chilimba. What is chilimba? How does it work? And, how can you use one to save? These questions will be answered in this article.

What is chilimba?

Chilimba is a club consisting of 3 or more people where each member contributes a fixed amount of money on a monthly basis. Its origins date back to when English settlers “used them as a way to trade livestock at cattle auctions”. Nowadays, the term chilimba is used to describe group saving and investment.

How chilimba works

Chilimba is essentially a co-operative savings scheme where groups of not less than 3 “create a pool of money.”  Members can access the money for a variety of different reasons that the members decide such as funerals, groceries and investments. Default is rare, as the commitment is taken very seriously. New members are added at the end of the rotation.

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How you can use chilimba

It’s easy to set up chilimba or join an existing one. They are easy to manage as all of the big banks offer accounts. Just shop around to see what accounts suits your chilimba best in terms of transactions and interest rates.


Whilst chilimba is a good idea to consider for savings, it’s probably not best for high value investments as it can make you worry about safekeeping. It is not a remedy for reducing poverty but, is appropriate for people with some regular source of income. It does not serve as a safety net in emergencies Long-term loans are not possible. A limitation is its openness and lack of structure that permit potential abuse. It is a livelihood strategy for women, but benefits could be gained from including men.


  • Chilimba has enforcement whereas a with a bank, it’s self supervision.
  • Under that arrangement, there is discipline. You can’t make a withdrawal unless you’re getting a loan from the coffers.
  • You will be under pressure to make a contribution at the required time.
  • It is short term with a higher interest than what most banks give

So there you have it. Now you can join a savings group!

5 thoughts on “What you need to know about Chilimba”

  1. Appreciate the information,i have this question..so has there been anyone or group that proposed online chilimba?…you knowledge with be appreciated

    1. There’s just one question you need to ask yourself when it comes to anything online that requires your financial contribution – Is it a reputable group/business?

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