It is contemporary knowledge that microfinance has the potential to lift poor families out of poverty, but I have been pleasantly surprised to find out that more and more commercial banks are supporting and teaming up with small microfinance organizations on the ground in order to increase access to financial services to the poor.
In Ghana Barclays- one of the world’s leading bank with its headquarters based in London- is collaborates with traditional Susu collectors like Mr. Offori (executive director of MFDCO) to provide and broaden the range of financial services available to the poor. After some research, I found out that the formal/ established partnership between Barclays and Ghanaians microfinance organizations exist since 2004.
What Barclays bring to the market (a market worth an estimated 75 million British pounds) are services such as deposit accounts for the collectors and capital for loans that the collectors can in turn lend to their clients. Thus, Barclays can be seen in this market as the middle man who comes in mainly with capital and expertise. So, a win-win deal for both parties isn't it?
Well, it is not that simple…
In fact believe it or not, Barclays has actually failed to bring on board some big MFIs in
There are currently about 4000 Susu collectors in
My time at the MFCO was shorter than what I would have liked, but I hope to have brought you some key insights into the challenges of opportunities that MFIs have to face in their day to day administration.
It was a real delight for me to see first hand how the lives of hundred people were changed through microfinance, I am grateful for MFDCO for allowing me to interact with its staff and clients and last but not least the staff at the Financial Access Initiative especially Lara for posting on my behalf when I had not means to access the internet while in Accra and now in Addis.
Have a great summer….
Posted on behalf of Grace Gabala