The Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network (GHAMFIN) and SPEED Ghana have teamed up to launch a consumer education and protection (CEP) campaign that specifically targets customers of the country’s microfinance sector. The campaign, a global initiative promoted by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and the Small Enterprise and Education Promotion Network (SEEP), seeks to ensure that clients are treated fairly and with respect by financial institutions.
GHAMFIN is an informal network of institutions and individuals operating in the Ghanaian microfinance industry which evolved from a research program sponsored by the World Bank. The network’s objectives include establishing performance indicators to enable self-regulation of the industry, developing an information base in the country, promoting best practices among members, enhancing integration between the formal and informal sectors and collaborating with the government, donors and other networks to source research and development.
SPEED Ghana is a networking institution and support program for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). SPEED Ghana also supports intermediaries such as business development and microfinance service providers to deliver market-oriented technical and financial services.
Executive secretary of GHAMFIN, Dr. David Andah, explained that the initiative will teach financial literacy and how to acquire the right information from financial institutions at various stages of the borrowing and investment cycle. It will educate them about their rights and responsibilities as consumers. The goal is to enable clients to responsibly handle matters relating to their financial well-being.
The campaign will utilize communication methods such as drama, posters, stickers and road shows in order to disseminate information.
Parallel to client education, the campaign will also promote client-oriented practices among financial institutions. The program will cover such topics as quality of service, respectful treatment of clients, accuracy and transparency of information and appropriate pricing.
Currently, seven Ghanaian microfinance providers report to the Microfinance Information eXchange (MIX). These institutions report a total gross loan portfolio of USD 53.5 million and roughly 146,000 borrowers.
However, according to a paper produced at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 2004, the number of potential clients of formal microfinance institutions in Ghana is estimated to be 3 million (pg 5). The same paper reported that there were 117 rural banks, 10 savings and loan providers, 253 credit unions, 50 NGOs and over 4,000 informal traders and money lenders in the country serving 2.8 million clients (pg 8) with various financial services.
Daily Guide: “Consumer Protection Campaign Introduced.”
GHAMFIN: “Mission Statement.”
“Ghana: Microfinance Investment Environment Profile.” By Amit Jha, Neeraj Negi and Rekha Warriar.