The School of economics in partnership with the Faculty of Social Sciences all in the University of Cape Coast, have held the 10th Microfinance Conference aimed at creating the platform for policy makers and researchers to interrogate issues affecting the micro finance sector in the country.
Available statistics indicates that there are about 2% of the global population into microfinance representing about a 139 million people. In Ghana the figure ranges from 3 million to 6 million people representing a quarter of the population. With the poverty level hitting up to 24%, there is an indication that the same people who are into the microfinance sector are largely represented in the poverty scale in the country. This has created a worrying situation as far as poverty alleviation in the country is concerned of which the 2 day conference seeks to address.
The theme for this year’s conference, MICROFINANCE AND THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS was carefully chosen to fit into the global agenda of alleviating poverty and again to open the leeway for discussions geared towards finding solutions to the recent misshaping in the Ghanaian banking sector.
At the end of the conference a communique is expected to be sent to relevant stakeholders for the needed attention.
Welcoming participant to the conference, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, Prof Joseph Ghartey Ampiah stressed on the need to query the role of microfinance in ensuring the achievements of the SDG’S saying, giving the needed attention to the sector has the potential to eradicate poverty. In a speech read on his behalf by the Pro Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Dora Edu Buandoh, Prof. Ghartey Ampiah indicated that there is the need “to question if micro- finance as a tool has successfully eradicated poverty everywhere or created problems everywhere. A lot of research have directed to mixed outcomes which has enjoined to interrogate the issue further. Attributing the decline in poverty for instance, micro finance intervention has been a major issue of contestation.”
Prof. Dora Edu Buandoh speaking on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah
The minister of Finance Mr. Ken Ofori Atta in a speech read on his behalf by the Honourable Central Regional Minister, Mr. Kwamena Duncan said, the finance Ministry over the years recognizing the important role of Microfinance, has initiated steps aimed at strengthening the sector and making it more viable for poverty alleviation.
“Since the launch of the global agenda of sustainable development goals in Ghana in 2016, most of our development policies function have been focused on micro-finance institutions for experts activities directly related to development and poverty reduction. This is because micro- finance has been the source of capital support and drive for sustainable development in the Ghanaian micro- economic sector.”
Central Regional Minister, Mr. Kwamena Duncan speaking on behalf of the Finance Minister at the Conference
Meanwhile Government Statistician Professor Samuel K. Anim, has expressed his doubt on the ability of the Bank of Ghana to manage and regulate microfinance institutions in the country.
According to him, microfinance institutions play very significant role in both financial and social lives of the Ghanaian populace hence, special capacity is demanded for effective regulation of these institutions.
Professor Samuel K. Anim
In an interview on the Atlantic Wave of ATL FM, Professor Anim explained that these institutions are the basic loan providers for unbanked citizens of the country in preparation for the mainstream financial sector however, bank of Ghana and policy makers at large have not provided appropriate policies for effective regulation of these institutions to ensure they thrive.
He also bemoaned the lack of confidence of Ghanaians in the financial sector and therefore called for a reorientation and education on the importance of these financial institutions so as to boost their confidence in the sector.
Source: KOJO DEI/ATL FM NEWS