The 10th edition of University of Cape Coast’s (UCC) Microfinance annual conference is underway in Cape Coast with a call on stakeholders to find practicable solutions to the challenges in the sector.
The two-day conference on the theme “Microfinance and Sustainable Development Goals” is being attended by researchers, policymakers, practitioners, clients and other stakeholders.
This year’s conference is taking place at a time Ghana’s financial sector is experiencing some turbulence, characterised by under-capitalisation, high non-performing loans as well as lapses in supervision, regulatory and governance.
The conference therefore seeks to provide the platform for participants to interrogate the shortcomings in the sector to improve performance of Microfinance institutions for the realisation of accelerated financial growth.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori Atta made the call in a speech read on his behalf by the Central Regional Minister, Mr Kwamena Duncan stressing that microfinance institutions were and continued to be a source of capital support and drive for the Ghanaian Micro economic sector.
It will in this regard continue to put in place policy initiatives to create a more formidable Microfinance institution base that would strengthen the micro economic sector, promote and facilitate public education and awareness on financial inclusion and literacy and build the capacity of regulatory bodies to better manage the sector.
Mr Ofori Atta noted that the challenges in the Ghanaian financial sector made the conference expedient as participants could brainstorm to come out with more practical measures to restore lost confidence in the sector.
He underscored the need to restore the integrity of the financial structure and development by examining the vulnerability affecting the financial structure and determining actions required to address them.
The Finance Minister was hopeful that the outcomes of the conference would go a long way to strengthen the Ghanaian micro economic sector for the attainment of the SDGS.
Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, Chairman of the Microfinance Committee of UCC said the University had over the years rolled-out number of interventions that had contributed to the development of policy frameworks to guide the operations of microfinance in the country.
He was worried about challenges in the financial sector that affected issues of trust and confidence and urged Ghanaians to reflect on the multiple objectives of microfinance, which was capable of ending poverty in any form.
Prof Annim noted that locality and financial product specific challenges were the bane of the sector, hence the need for an active engagement between key stakeholders to find lasting solution to them.
He reiterated calls for the campaign for financial inclusion to be repackaged to build the mind-set of Ghanaians in a positive way for them to appreciate the sector more and pledged that UCC remained resolute to sustain its interventions to realise the promise of microfinance paradigm.