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Sierra Leone Business: Microfinance Institutions boasts of nearly Le168bn loan portfolio

The Chairman of the Sierra Leone Association of Microfinance Institutions (SLAMFI) Archibald Shodeke has said during a courtesy to the Central Bank Governor that his group have an estimated Le168 billion loan portfolio, serving 114,937 clients of whom 70% are women. Explaining the activities undertaken by SLAMFI, the Chairman said that they share sector data and annual report on the state of the microfinance sector in Sierra Leone. Other planned activities include the design of a code of conduct for SLAMFI members, conducting a national study on the state of the sector and training programs. He reported also that the ten institutions in SLAMFI have a total of 104 branches in 14 districts with 664 employees across the country. Over the years he said members have been able to develop several products meeting the needs of different market segment in the country ranging from small business loans to small and medium enterprises (SME) loans to agricultural businesses, asset backed finance, consumer loans and even mobile money transfer services.  Recently he said two Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) have transitioned into Deposit-Taking MFI’s thus increasing outreach in providing savings products.  SLAMFI members he disclosed have also participated in the fintech innovation programs with a member enrolled in the BSL sandbox program to test new FinTech products. “SLAMFI members will continue to participate in such programs as the sector evolves” he promised. The SLAMFI Chairman discussed their challenges which he said include multiple borrowing from clients, human resources challenge, access to funds to scale up operations, very high interest rates on debt funds from the international market and dwindled loan portfolio as a result of the Post Ebola Crisis and inflationary pressure. Governor Kallon pledged the Bank’s support to SLAMFI’s program as long as they are of mutual interest and also accepted the Association’s request for him to deliver the keynote address at its proposed summit on the theme ”Advancing financial inclusion – the role of Microfinance institutions”. SLAMFI is made up of Banks, Credit only Microfinance Institutions and specialised microfinance NGOs. It is a network of microfinance providers and practitioners who recognize the microfinance sectors need for an institutional framework through which common issues and concerns can be discussed and addressed.

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Monday April 01, 2019.

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