Monday, May 6, 2013

Microfinance: Gov’t poised to improve grassroots financial services

Thinking up ways to reinforce the capacity of the micro banking sector to ensure lasting financial services, boost job creation and trim poverty nibbling away the lives of  a growing number of micro entrepreneurs was the core of a one-day workshop in Yaoundé recently.
The workshop that brought together stakeholders in the micro finance sector also sought to educate the public on the National Micro Finance Strategy.
The minister Finance Alamine Ousmane Mey said at the opening of the workshop that microfinance institutions would significantly cut poverty if they are well harnessed.
Micro finance establishments make it possible for those who are unable to get financial services through conventional banks to meet their needs, reason why a national strategy to check credible operations in the sector is essential, he added.
The Minister of Finance said based on the strategy, “we will be able to define each action in the different domains concerning this activity.
“Micro finance establishments are an extension of the banking sector which is not available in rural areas for instance, and we want to make sure our financial system is an inclusive one,” the minister said adding that all Cameroonians would have access to financial services wherever they are.
In view of moving on with the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper adopted in 2009, Cameroon is poised to improve grass root financial services.
“We have to make sure that the people who are in charge of the operation are professionals and that they have the necessary equipment, sound organization, sound regulation and the financial assistance they need to deliver” minister Ousmane Mey said.
Experts say the economic progress in sub Saharan Africa for the past decades has been closely associated with their small scale savings and investments.
The development of the national strategy for microfinance with the inclusion of mainstream banking is championed by the Ministry of Finance in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) through the Rural Micro Finance Support Development Project (PADMIR).  The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is throwing its weight behind the initiative by providing technical assistance.
Cameroon is home to over 500 micro finance establishments which serve more than 1.5million people.

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