The Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone Dr Kaifala Marah launched the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion on 16th December at the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) office in Freetown. The strategy is a 4-year project starting 2017 aimed at increasing access to finance for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The vision of the project is “to make financial services available, accessible and affordable to all Sierra Leoneans and MSMEs, and support inclusive and resilient private-sector led growth.”
Less than one million people or 12.6 percent of a population of 7.1 million have bank accounts.
“87 percent of the market is yet to be captured,” Governor Marah said. The objective is to increase the number of people who have bank accounts and can access finance to grow their businesses, he said. The project intends to bring those who have been excluded especially the rural people to be given the opportunity to get loans.
On 15th November the bank held a daylong workshop at the Bank Complex in Freetown to validate the National financial inclusion document. The Deputy Governor Dr Ibrahim Stevens is the national coordinator of the project and would oversee the implementation from 2017 2020. He emphasized at the November meeting that the backbone of successful economies like the United States and Asian nations is the private sector especially small and medium enterprises; and when they thrive, the economy thrives.
The project began in 2009 when Sierra Leone became a member of the global alliance committed to financial inclusion.
Dr Marah also said that the Bank is working towards building a National Switch to reduce the flow of cash in financial transactions. BSL is working in collaboration with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to address financial inclusion. Keyzom Massally UNCDF technical representative was present at the launching.
Monday December 19, 2016