Since 2003, the Government of Sierra Leone is cooperating with stakeholders engaged in a 5-year programme on “Developing a Sustainable Pro-Poor Financial Sector in Sierra Leone” to increase sustainable access to financial services for poor and low-income people.
Despite the progress made, much more support is needed for the development of a pro-poor financial sector.
To facilitate these efforts, the Government of Sierra Leone, and stakeholders signed an amendment to the Project Document related to this programme recently, at the Bank of Sierra Leone in the Governor’s office.
The document which was signed by the German Ambassador, Rolf Saligmann, UNDP Country Director, Mr Bernard Mokam, and the Finance Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is a programme implemented by the Microfinance Investment and Technical Assistance Facility (MITAF).
The program focuses on the following four outputs: Potential leaders of the microfinance industry have reached sustainability and have considerably increased their outreach. Strategic partnerships are built with other donors in joint support of a sustainable pro-poor financial sector. A professional microfinance unit has been established in the Bank of Sierra Leone (BoSL) to ensure an optimal enabling environment for the development of the microfinance industry and its eventual integration into the financial system; and sound microfinance principles have been disseminated which are widely accepted and adopted.
Until the end of March 2008, the following main results have been achieved: An increase in microfinance loan clients from 21,473 to 60,491; increased geographic outreach; Improved staff capacity; Enhanced access to grants/credit; Access to relevant technology; Establishment of new MFIs and increased professional management of their operations;
The amended Project Document will be the basis for additional funds provided to the project by different donors. It includes a special focus on increasing outreach to rural areas by introducing innovative rural finance schemes as well as a reorganization of the MITAF structure. It will also facilitate the provision of additional funds for a variety of new project activities, such as the establishment of the Sierra Leonean Microfinance Association.