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MICROFINANCE IN GHANA: AN OVERVIEW
by Johnson P. Asiama (Dr) - Research Department - Bank of Ghana and Victor Osei, Research Department, Bank of Ghana (2007) [1]
 
 
 

Contents


 
     
 

1. Evolution of the Microfinance Sub-Sector in Ghana

 
 

2. Microfinance and Development

 
 

3. Microfinance and Poverty Reduction in Ghana

 
 

4. Structure and Key Stakeholders of Microfinance in Ghana

 
 

5. The Role of Bank of Ghana and other Government Administered Programs for Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs)

 
 

6. Challenges Facing the Microfinance Sector

 
 

7. Conclusion

 
 

Glossary

 
 

Abbreviations and acronyms

 
 

Bibliography

 
 
 
 

1. Evolution of the Microfinance Sub-Sector in Ghana

Indeed, the concept of microfinance is not new in Ghana. There has always been the tradition of people saving and/or taking small loans from individuals and groups within the context of self-help to start businesses or farming ventures.

For example, available evidence suggests that the first credit union in Africa was established in Northern Ghana in 1955 by Canadian Catholic missionaries. However, Susu, which is one of the microfinance schemes in Ghana, is thought to have originated from Nigeria and spread to Ghana in the early twentieth century.

Over the years, the microfinance sector has thrived and evolved into its current state thanks to various financial sector policies and programmes undertaken by different governments since independence. Among these are:

  • Provision of subsidized credits in the 1950s;
  • Establishment of the Agricultural Development Bank in 1965 specifically to address the financial needs of the fisheries and agricultural sector;
  • Establishment of Rural and Community Banks (RCBs), and the introduction of regulations such as commercial banks being required to set aside 20% of total portfolio, to promote lending to agriculture and small scale industries in the 1970s and early 1980s;
  • Shifting from a restrictive financial sector regime to a liberalized regime in 1986;
  • Promulgation of PNDC Law 328 in 1991 to allow the establishment of different categories of non-bank financial institutions, including savings and loans companies, and credit unions.

The policies have led to the emergence of three broad categories of microfinance institutions. These are:

  • Formal suppliers such as savings and loans companies, rural and community banks, as well as some development and commercial banks;
  • Semi-formal suppliers such as credit unions, financial non-governmental organizations (FNGOs), and cooperatives;
  • Informal suppliers such as susu collectors and clubs, rotating and accumulating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs and ASCAs), traders, moneylenders and other individuals.

In terms of the regulatory framework, rural and community banks are regulated under the Banking Act 2004 (Act 673), while the Savings and Loans Companies are currently regulated under the Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFI) Law 1993 (PNDCL 328)[2].

On the other hand, the regulatory framework for credit unions is now being prepared, and this would recognize their dual nature as cooperatives and financial institutions. The rest of the players such as FNGOs, ROSCAS, and ASCAs do not have legal and regulatory frameworks.

Programmes currently addressing the sub-sector in Ghana include the Financial Sector Improvement Project, Financial Sector Strategic Plan (FINSSP), the Rural Financial Services Project (RFSP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Microfinance Project, the Social Investment Fund (SIF), the Community Based Rural Development Programme (CBRDP), Rural Enterprise Project (REP), and Agricultural Services Investment Project (ASSIP).

2. Microfinance and Development

Microfinance encompasses the provision of financial services and the management of small amounts of money through a range of products and a system of intermediary functions that are targeted at low income clients [3]. It includes loans, savings, insurance, transfer services and other financial products and services. Microfinance is thus one of the critical dimensions of the broad range of financial tools for the poor, and its increasing role in development has emanated from a number of key factors that include[4]:

  • The fact that the poor need access to productive resources, with financial services being a key resource, if they are to be able to improve their conditions of life;
  • The realization that the poor have the capacity to use loans effectively for income-generation, to save and re-pay loans;
  • The observation that the formal financial sector has provided very little or no services to low-income people, creating a high demand for credit and savings services amongst the poor;
  • The view that microfinance is viable and can become sustainable and achieve full cost recovery;
  • The recognition that microfinance can have significant impact on cross cutting issues such as women's empowerment, reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS and environmental degradation as well as improving social indicators such as education, housing and health.

Studies have shown that micro-finance plays three broad roles in development:

  • It helps very poor households meet basic needs and protects against risks,
  • It is associated with improvements in household economic welfare,
  • It helps to empower women by supporting women's economic participation and so promotes gender equity.

The literature suggests that micro- finance creates access to productive capital for the poor, which together with human capital, addressed through education and training, and social capital, achieved through local organization building, enables people to move out of poverty. By providing material capital to a poor person, their sense of dignity is strengthened and this can help to empower the person to participate in the economy and society (Otero, 1999).

The aim of micro-finance according to Otero (1999) is not just about providing capital to the poor to combat poverty on an individual level, it also has a role at an institutional level. It seeks to create institutions that deliver financial services to the poor, who are continuously ignored by the formal banking sector. Littlefield and Rosenberg (2004) argue that the poor are generally excluded from the financial services sector of the economy so MFIs have emerged to address this market failure. By addressing this gap in the market in a financially sustainable manner, an MFI can become part of the formal financial system of a country and so can access capital markets to fund their lending portfolios, allowing them to dramatically increase the number of poor people they can reach (Otero, 1999). More recently, commentators such as Littlefield, Murduch and Hashemi (2003), Simanowitz and Brody (2004) and the IMF (2005) have commented on the critical role of micro-credit in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

According to Simanowitz and Brody (2004, p.1), micro-credit is a key strategy in reaching the MDGs and in building global financial systems that meet the needs of the most poor people." Littlefield, Murduch and Hashemi (2003) state "micro-credit is a critical contextual factor with strong impact on the achievements of the MDGs. Micro-credit is unique among development interventions: it can deliver social benefits on an ongoing, permanent basis and on a large scale".

However, some schools of thought remain skeptical about the role of micro-credit in development. For example, while acknowledging the role micro-credit can play in helping to reduce poverty, Hulme and Mosley (1996) concluded from their research on micro-credit that "most contemporary schemes are less effective than they might be" (1996, p.134). The authors argued that micro-credit is not a panacea for poverty-alleviation and that in some cases the poorest people have been made worse-off.

This notwithstanding, microfinance has emerged globally as a leading and effective strategy for poverty reduction with the potential for far-reaching impact in transforming the lives of poor people. It is argued that microfinance can facilitate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as National Policies that target poverty reduction, empowering women, assisting vulnerable groups, and improving standards of living. As pointed out by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan during the launch of the International Year of Micro Credit (2005),

Sustainable access to microfinance helps alleviate poverty by generating income, creating jobs, allowing children to go to school, enabling families to obtain health care, and empowering people to make the choices that best serve their needs." (Kofi Annan, December 2003).

Although microfinance is not a panacea for poverty reduction and its related development challenges, when properly harnessed it can make sustainable contributions through financial investment leading to the empowerment of people, which in turn promotes confidence and self-esteem, particularly for women.

3. Microfinance and Poverty Reduction in Ghana

The main goal of Ghana's Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) is to ensure "sustainable equitable growth, accelerated poverty reduction and the protection of the vulnerable and excluded within a decentralized, democratic environment". The intention is to eliminate widespread poverty and growing income inequality, especially among the productive poor who constitute the majority of the working population.

According to the 2000 Population and Housing Census, 80% of the working populations are found in the private informal sector. This group is characterized by lack of access to credit, which constrains the development and growth of that sector of the economy. Clearly, access to financial services is imperative for the development of the informal sector and also helps to mop up excess liquidity through savings that can be made available as investment capital for national development [5]. Unfortunately, in spite of the obvious roles that microfinance institutions have been playing in the economy particularly over the last twenty years, there is lack of data on their operations.

It is known that loans advanced by microfinance institutions are normally for purposes such as housing, petty trade, and as "start up" loans for farmers to buy inputs for farming and this includes rice seeds, fertilizers and other agricultural tools.

Some of the loans are used for a variety of non-crop activities such as: dairy cow raising, cattle fattening, poultry farming, weaving, basket making, leasing farm and other capital machinery and woodworking. Of course, funds may be used for a number of other activities, such as crop and animal trading, cloth trading and pottery manufacture. There are other instances where credit is given to groups consisting of a number of borrowers for collective enterprises, such as: irrigation pumps, building sanitary latrines, power looms, leasing markets or leasing land for cooperative farming.

For example, trends in loans and advances extended to small businesses, individuals and groups by the Non-Bank Financial Institutions(NBFIs) in Ghana amounted to GH¢50.97 million in 2002 as against GH¢39.64 million in 2001, indicating about 28.6 per cent growth.

The amount of loans extended by NBFIs further increased from GH¢70.63 million in 2003 to GH¢72.85 million in 2004, suggesting 3.1 per cent growth. In 2006 alone, total of GH¢160.47 million was extended to clients, which represents 48.8 per cent higher than the previous year's total loans and advances granted by these microfinance institutions(see Chart). The upward- trending NBFI's credit to individuals, small businesses, groups and others indicates marked improvements in level of microfinance in the country.

The Rural and Community banks also play very important role in microfinance in the country. These banks were established specifically to advance loans to small enterprises, farmers, individuals and others within their catchment areas. Total loans advanced to clients by all community and rural banks in Ghana was GH¢20.68 million in 2002 compared to GH¢13.12 million in 2001, suggesting an increase of 28.6 per cent. The amount of loans further increased from GH¢71.63 million in 2005 to GH¢115.10 million in 2006, thus indicating 35.4 per cent respectively (see chart).

 

 

4. Structure and Key Stakeholders of Microfinance in Ghana

The structure and key microfinance stakeholders in Ghana consist of the following:

Microfinance Institutions, including

  • The Rural and Community Banks,
  • Savings and Loans Companies
  • Financial NGOs
  • Primary Societies of CUA
  • Susu Collectors Association of GCSCA
  • Development and commercial banks with microfinance programs and linkages
  • Micro-insurance and micro-leasing services.


Microfinance Apex Bodies, namely:

  • Association of Rural Banks (ARB)
  • ARB Apex Bank
  • Association of Financial NGOs (ASSFIN)
  • Ghana Cooperative Credit Unions Association (CUA)
  • Ghana Cooperative Susu Collectors Association (GCSCA)


End Users
Economically active poor who are clients of microfinance products and services.


Technical Service Providers
Business Development Service Providers to MFIs and their clients.


Supporting Institutions

  • Microfinance and Small Loans Center (MASLOC);
  • The Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network (GHAMFIN);
  • Development partners and international non-governmental organisations
  • Universities, training and research institutions.

Government Institutions

5. The Role of Bank of Ghana and other Government Administered Programs for Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs)

The Bank of Ghana's history of promoting the financing of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) began from the Credit Guarantee for Small Borrowers scheme in 1969 through the Development Finance Department of the Bank. The Bank was further instrumental in administering the IDA-financed Fund for Small and Medium Enterprise Development (FUSMED) Project, and also with the Private Enterprise and Export Development (PEED) Project, as well as other direct projects that were ended after BOG decided to focus on its core areas of operation. Currently, BoG is actively participating in the Rural Financial Services Project (RFSP). This project was supported by donors such as the International Development Agency (IDA) of the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the African Development Bank (AfDB). It is aimed at broadening and deepening financial intermediation in rural areas through measures such as; Capacity Building of the Informal Financial Sector, Capacity Building of Rural and Community Banks, and the establishment of an Apex Bank for Rural Banks in Ghana. Generally, the range of players in providing financing facilities for the MSME sector is shown in Table 1 below.

From 1990, support for micro, small and medium enterprises was intensified with the establishment of the National Board for Small-Scale Industries (NBSSI). In 1991, the NBSSI was merged with the Ghanaian Enterprises Development Commission (GEDC) and this made the NBSSI to take over the functions of the latter - in particular the delivery of credit to small scale entrepreneurs. Its main financing window was a USD30 million Fund for Small and Medium Enterprise Development (FUSMED) - that was provided under the World Bank's small and medium enterprises project and managed at the Bank of Ghana. The fund offered credit to enterprises in all sectors of the economy except primary agriculture, real estate and trading. However the repayment perfomance turned out to be less than satisfactory.

Table 1: Credit Flow to Micro Enterprises and SMEs in Ghana

Source Examples of Schemes
1.Financial Institutions Major Banks, Rural banks, Community banks, non-bank financial Institutions, etc.
2. Donor/Government Credit Schemes GRATIS. FUSMED, NBSSI schemes
3. Donor-Assisted SME Loan Projects IFAD, DANIDA, CIDA, FAO, USAID etc

4. Informal Financial NGOs, Credit Unions
Sinapi Aba Trust, CARE International etc.
5. Government Schemes BAF, SIF (Micro-Finance Capitalisation), Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF), EDIF, MPSD and PSI schemes, MOTI, MASLOC,

Source: Compiled from various sources

Currently, the projects that are on-going for the MSME sector include the Financial Sector Improvement Project, Financial Sector Strategic Plan (FINSSP), the Rural Financial Services Project (RFSP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Microfinance Project, the Social Investment Fund (SIF), the Community Based Rural Development Programme (CBRDP), Rural Enterprise Project (REP), and Agricultural Services Investment Project (ASSIP). A recent impact assessment [6] of the plethora of MSME financing programs that have been implemented across the country suggests that significant challenges remain in ensuring the effectiveness of MSME programs. The study found that access to finance was a significant problem for MSMEs, even though other problems such as low cash flow, energy, high cost of non-labour inputs, increasing competition, and high cost of credit were also cited. The next section outlines some of the remaining challenges facing the microfinance sector in Ghana.

Table 2: Examples of facilities for MSMEs administered by the NBSSI
Facility Target Beneficiary/Sector Clients Interest rate Repayment Performance
1. PAMSCAD Credit Line Small Scale Entrepreneurs operating in the rural areas, poor urban areas, women entrepreneus 1200 20% p.a 87%
2. Revolving Fund Loans Scheme Small Enterprises in the productive, export and service sectors, but excluding enterprises engaged in trading, primary agric, and real estate 250 20% p.a 69%
3. NBSSI/
NFED Devt Assistance Programme
Literacy groups of the Non-Formal Education Division of the Ministry of Education. <200 20% p.a <70%
3. UNDP
/ILO/DRHC Micro Concrete Tile Credit Scheme
Micro Concrete Tile Producers under a UNDP/ILO Project arranged for the erstwhile Department of Rural Housing and Cottage Industries. <200 20% p.a <70%
4. ENOWID Revolving Loan Fund Women in development. It was operated largely in the Brong Ahafo, Volta and Western Regions for the Department of Community Development (National Commission for Women and Development) 3,500 20% p.a 96%
5. NBSSI/DED Credit Scheme Micro and Small enterprises in the Northern, Brong Ahafo and Eastern Regions through the Business Advisory Centres. <200 20% p.a 75 %
6. Small and Micro Enterprise Promotion Fund (SMEPF) Micro and small Enterprise sector in general. <200 20% p.a <70%

Source: Compiled from records obtained from the NBSSI

6. Challenges Facing the Microfinance Sector

Generally, since the beginning of government involvement in microfinance in the 1950s, the sub-sector has operated without specific policy guidelines and goals. This partially accounts for the slow growth of the sub-sector, and the apparent lack of direction, fragmentation and lack of coordination. There has so far not been a coherent approach to dealing with the constraints facing the sub-sector. Among the constraints are inappropriate institutional arrangements, poor regulatory environment, inadequate capacities, lack of coordination and collaboration, poor institutional linkages, no specific set of criteria developed to categorize beneficiaries, channeling of funds by MDAs, lack of linkages between formal and informal financial institutions, inadequate skills and professionalism, and inadequate capital. Better coordination and collaboration among key stakeholders including the development partners, government and other agencies, could help to better integrate microfinance with the development of the overall financial sector.

Secondly, traditional commercial banking approaches to microfinance delivery often does not work. According to traditional commercial banking principles, the credit methodology requires documentary evidence, long-standing bank-customer relationship and collateral, which most micro and small businesses do not possess. The commercial banking system, which has about twenty-three (23) major banks, reaches only about 5% of households and captures 40% of money supply [7]. Therefore there is room for expanding the microfinance sector in Ghana.

For example, Barclays Bank of Ghana (BBG) Ltd launched a microbanking scheme in December 2005 which establishes a formal link between modern finance and susu [8] (one of Africa's most ancient forms of banking) collection in an unconventional mobile initiative across the country. The scheme aims to extend microfinance to some of the least affluent in Ghana, like the small trader at the market or the micro-entrepreneur selling from road-side stalls. Though their individual income is apparently too small for 'high street' banking, collectively it estimated at about a $150 million economy thriving below the traditional banking radar. Ghana's 4,000-strong Susu Collectors offer basic banking to the needy. For a small fee they personally gather the income of their clients and return it at the end of each month, providing greater security for their client's money. In addition, with finance from Barclays the Susu Collectors are able to provide their clients with loans, helping them to establish or develop their business. In the words of the CEO of BBG Margaret Mwanakatwe,

…"What we are doing is somewhat unique. Not only are we creating an account for Susu Collectors to deposit their funds, we are also providing them with loans of their own, which they can 'lend-on' to their customers, helping them build their capital. In the process, we are laying the building blocks for a truly financially inclusive society. Currently, over three quarters of Ghanaian society may not have access to high street banking. We are also providing capacity building training to Susu Collectors to make sure that they do their credit risk correctly and any training needs they may need".

It is gratifying to note that the Government of Ghana has adopted microfinance as one of the important strategies for poverty reduction and wealth creation. Recognizing the role various institutions and individuals can play to ensure the achievement of this national vision of achieving the MDGs and also becoming a middle income country by the year 2015, there is the need to quicken the pace of reforms in the microfinance sector in order to unleash its full potential for accelerated growth and poverty reduction.

Finally, while Ghana has a reasonably diversified and supervised regulatory framework for formal financial institutions licensed by BoG, there is concern that appropriate regulation needs to be extended to other institutions operating in the microfinance sub-sector (for example the legal framework for credit unions) in order to improve the outreach, sustainability and efficiency of savings, facilitate credit delivery, and institutional arrangements.

The specific challenges facing the industry are discussed into more detail below.

6.1 Institutional Arrangements
The stakeholders in the sub-sector play various roles which are expected to be complementary. Due to the lack of defined areas of operation, the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders currently overlap in some cases. The overlap is also due partly to the fact that organizational and institutional hierarchy and reporting relationships among all the stakeholders are not clearly defined. Commercial banks could play an increasing role. There is the need therefore to clearly define relationships and roles to enhance effective implementation and delivery of services.

6.2 Capacity Building and Funding for the Sector
In order to promote the sub-sector, the various stakeholders organize training programmes and activities with the view to upgrading the human capital in the industry. Nevertheless, the staffing and competency level being achieved with these training programmes is still below what is desired. Thus, the human capacity of some key stakeholders and institutions including MASLOC, GHAMFIN, MFIs, relevant Ministries, and technical service providers etc needs to be enhanced for microfinance operations. The random and incoherent nature of training programmes has also probably hampered the achievements of the projected gains for the sub-sector, as the flaw in the human capacity of all the stakeholders may have had a rippling effect on the governance and structure of the industry. Furthermore, the current microfinance Apex bodies lack an adequate cadre of in-house trainers and/or facilitators as well as in-house monitoring and evaluation units to continually measure progress of their activities consistently over time. Infrastructural capacity in the sub-sector is yet to be developed around an integrated and holistic logistical support and internal operating systems. Funding for the sub-sector has been from three sources: the institutions themselves, government, and development partners. Firstly, available funds have not fully 'met the needs for developing and expanding the sub-sector; and, secondly, the varying sources come with their conditions, and distort the market in some cases. There is considered to be a need for a central microfinance fund to which MFIs can apply for on-lending and/or capacity building support, building on experience such as the Training Fund under the Rural Financial Services Project.

6.3 Credit Delivery and Management
The current strategies for credit delivery are not adequately diversified or efficient, and therefore are unable to fully meet the varying demands of the market and different categories of end-users. There is no framework for categorizing and upgrading some of the emerging microfinance institutions in the semi-formal and informal sub-sectors in accordance with their operational capacities and capabilities. The objective of microfinance is to provide resources for the poor. Nonetheless, there is yet to be adequate, reliable and acceptable methods for classifying various poverty levels to enhance the categorization of potential and actual MFI clients and other forms of support that may be more appropriate for some groups.

6.4 Targeting the Vulnerable and the Marginalized
People with disabilities and impairments do not have products and services designed to meet their needs and also are not adequately served by existing microfinance funds and services. This target group in particular could benefit from complementary skills training programmes. The existing skills training and funding arrangements for women do not seem to be market-driven. Thus, specific services and products that target women for entrepreneurship development to enable them engage in economic activities and become more self-reliant need to be more coherent. Young people aged 15-24 years account for about a third of the population of Ghana and constitute over half of the unemployed population. There is a need for special microfinance, grant and training programmes that target the youth for entrepreneurial development

6.5 Data/Information Gathering and Dissemination
Generally, there is paucity of information on microfinance institutions, their operations and clients in the country. Approaches to and methodology for data and information gathering at the national level are not uniform, making it difficult to centrally monitor progress of the sub-sector. The current attempt to develop a national data bank on microfinance is yet to be fully realized. There is a lack of well defined reporting system by both the government and development partners with regards to their interventions. The outcome is inadequate data base for decision-making and planning. At the institutional level, data/information gathering and dissemination are weak within and between institutions. The lack of common benchmarks, methods for measuring and information sharing further inhibits the performance of the sub-sector. Lack of adequate and reliable information on outreach in terms of its depth and breadth remains one of the most daunting in the sub-sector. This lack of information has affected targeting of clients and ultimate poverty reduction.


6.6 Regulation and Supervision
There is a need for dialogue on the formulation, implementation and review of regulatory and supervisory policies and procedures to ensure consistency and cost-effective approaches to regulation across different types of microfinance institutions and products. There is a need to balance permitting continued evolution of a variety of institutions providing microfinance products and services with the need to protect depositors' funds, provide adequate information and protection to consumers, and coordinate expansion and regulation of different segments of the market. Microfinance institutions in this category face rigid regulatory and supervisory systems that present some challenges for product innovativeness, outreach and ultimately the performance of the institutions. There is a lack of well specified guidelines for operations among apex bodies namely, CUA, GCSCA, ASSFIN and Cooperative Council. This leads to uncoordinated activities and invariably hampers the performance and outreach of their member institutions.

6.7 Collaboration and Coordination
There is no national body which is responsible for coordinating all activities associated with microfinance, nor is there a forum for dialogue among stakeholders on policy and programme issues. As a result there is lack of coherent approach, fragmentation, duplication and inadequate collaboration between and among MDAs, MMDAs, development partners, service providers, practitioners and end users.

In this regard, the role of GHAMFIN as an umbrella body for microfinance apex institutions, as well as their member institutions, needs to be strengthened to ensure the transfer of best practices and setting of standards for the industry. The existing institutional structure does not include all practitioners and service providers, and needs to be addressed.


7. Conclusion

In all, the potential economic benefits of sustainable microfinance in Ghana are compelling, and its potential effects on the development process cannot be understated. This calls for a holistic approach, as discussed to facilitate the development of the microfinance sub sector and thereby unleash its potential for accelerated growth and development.

GLOSSARY

Poverty
People/households with an income below a certain threshold level irrespective of their standard of living. overty is defined to include low level of income, the absence of medical care, poor sanitation, the absence of good drinking water, illiteracy, the inability to participate effectively in decisions that affect an individual's life directly; and the lack of security and protection from crime.

Microcredit
Microcredit is the provision of cash and in kind loans in smaller amounts to micro, small entrepreneurs meant to improve their business operations.

Microfinance
Microfinance consists primarily of providing financial services including, savings, micro-credit, micro insurance, micro leasing and transfers in relatively small transactions designed to be accessible to micro-enterprises and to low-income households. Microfinance may be complemented by non-financial services, especially training, to improve the ability of clients to utilize the facilities effectively.

Formal Financial Sector
The formal financial sector in Ghana includes the Traditional Commercial Banks, Rural and Community Banks and other financial institutions such as the Savings and Loans Companies whose operations are registered, licensed and regulated by the Bank of Ghana.

Semi-Formal Financial Sector
The sector comprises of informal institutions that are formally registered but not licensed/regulated by Bank of Ghana such as the Credit Unions of Ghana, Ghana Cooperatives Susu Collectors Association, Ghana Cooperative Council and Association of Financial Non-Governmental Organizations. They constitute the key stakeholders of the Microfinance Sub-sector in Ghana.

Informal Financial Sector
The informal financial sector is the components of the financial sector whose service providers are usually not registered and unregulated by the Bank of Ghana and rarely involve legal documentation. The segment includes Money lenders, Susu clubs, Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs).

ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS

ADRA - Adventist Relief Agency
ARB/Apex - Association of Rural Banks Apex Bank
ASCAs Accumulating Savings and Credit Associations
ASSFIN - Association of Financial Non-Governmental Organizations
ASSIP - Agricultural Services Investment Project
BoG - Bank of Ghana
CBRDP - Community Based Rural Development Programme
CUA - Credit Unions Association
ERP - Economic Recovery Programme
ESRP - Emergency Social Relief Programme
FINSSP - Financial Sector Strategic Plan
FNGO - Financial Non-Governmental Organizations
GCSCA - - Ghana Cooperative Susu Collectors Association
GDP - Gross Domestic Product
GHAMFIN - Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network
GHAMP - Ghana Microfinance Policy
GOG - Government of Ghana
GPRS - Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy
IFAD - International Fund for Agricultural Development
MASLOC - Microfinance and Small Loans Centre
MDGs - Millennium Development Goals
MDA - Ministries Departments and Agencies
MFI - Microfinance Institutions
MMDA - - Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies
MOFEP - Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning
MOWAC - Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs
MSE - Micro and Small Enterprises
NGOs - Non-Governmental Organizations
NSF - National Strategic Framework
PAF - Poverty Alleviation Fund
PAMSCAD - Programme of Action to Mitigate the Social Cost of Adjustment
RCBs - Rural and Community Banks
REP - Rural Enterprise Project
RFSP - Rural Financial Services Project
RMFIs - - Rural Microfinance Institutions
ROSCAs - Rotating Savings and Credit Associations
SIF - Social Investment Fund
TSPs - Technical Service Providers
UNDP - - United Nations Development Programme
VIP - Village Infrastructure Project

BIBLIOGRAPHY

World Bank, Rural and Micro Finance Regulation in Ghana: Implications for Development of the Industry, World Bank, New York (2004)

Impact Assessment of MSME Programs . Study conducted by Ernst & Young and ISSER for the Bank of Ghana


World Bank-Africa Region, Studies in Rural and Micro Finance: Financial Services for Women Entrepreneurs in the Informal Sector of Ghana. World Bank, New York, (1999)


Littlefield, E., Murduch, J. & Hashemi, S. (2003). Is Microfinance an Effective Strategy to Reach the Millennium Development Goals?, Focus Note Series no. 24. Washington: CGAP -Consultative Group to Assist the Poor.

Hulme, D and Mosley, P (1996) Finance Against Poverty, volumes 1 and 2, London: Routledge

Simanowitz and Brody .2004. Realising the potential of microfinance, id21 insights, December, Issue -51

United Nations, Concept Paper: Building Inclusive Financial Sectors to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (International Year of Microcredit, United Nations, 2005)

United Nations, Microfinance and Poverty Eradication: Strengthening Africa's Microfinance Institutions (New York, United Nations, 2000)

Rosenberg, M. 2004. "Never the twain shall meet", English Teaching Professional 11(35): 36-37.


NOTES

[1] The authors can be contacted at johnson.asiama@bog.gov.gh or jasiama1@yahoo.com. An earlier version of this paper has been included in the Bank of Ghana publications.
[2] Work on an amendment of this Act is however underway.
[3]United Nations, Concept Paper: Building Inclusive Financial Sectors to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (International Year of Microcredit, United Nations, 2005)
[4] United Nations, Microfinance and Poverty Eradication: Strengthening Africa's Microfinance Institutions (New York, United Nations, 2000)
[5] World Bank-Africa Region, Studies in Rural and Micro Finance: Financial Services for Women Entrepreneurs in the Informal Sector of Ghana. World Bank, New York, (1999)
[6] FStudy conducted by Ernst & Young and ISSER for the Bank of Ghana
[7] World Bank, Rural and Micro Finance Regulation in Ghana: Implications for Development of the Industry, World Bank, New York (2004)
[8] Susu Collectors in Ghana are recognizable for their distinctive, many pocketed coats. Traditionally, they service a set area or group of families with whom they have developed a long relationship.

 
 
 
 
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