The University of Cape Coast has held its 10th Microfinance Conference at its Medical School Auditorium on its campus at Cape Coast in the Central Region.
Themed “Microfinance and the Sustainable Development Goals, the Conference, organized by the College of Humanities and Legal Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences and School of Economics, University of Cape Coast brought together hundreds of academia, stakeholders, policy makers, key players, students and representatives of institutions in the Ghanaian Micro economic sector.
Professor Samuel Annim, Chairman for the Microfinance Committee of the University of Cape Coast, threw light on the purpose of gathering for the two-day conference. He noted that the theme “Microfinance and the Sustainable Development Goals” was chosen with the intent of making impact on goal one of the global agenda “no poverty”.
He elucidated further that in spite of the global war declared on poverty and various efforts geared towards its achievement, there are still pockets of severe poverty in some parts of Ghana. This according to Professor Annim can be resolved through government’s positive action on communique mapped out from conferences such as the Microfinance Conference.
The Provost, for the College of Humanities and Legal Studies, Professor Eric Amuquandor gave the welcome Address. In his address, he divulged that, the Sustainable Development Goals have been identified as a vital tool in poverty reduction, if well administrated and managed. Microfinance, he emphasized is very relevant in this context.
Prof. Dora Francisca Edu-Buandoh, Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Cape Coast, in her special message delivered on behalf of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast appreciated organizers of the Microfinance Conference.
She explained that the comprehensive nature of the SDGs provides an opportunity to engage a wide spectrum of multi-sectorial development interventions that can potentially help achieve the set goals and targets. Prof. Edu-Buandoh accentuated that one of these interventions explicitly cited in the attainment of Agenda 2030 is Microfinance.
“This Conference, 10th in the series, is envisaged to provide the platform where the academia, clients, practitioners, government and other relevant stakeholders would assemble to unearth pathways through which microfinance can be used as an effective and efficient conduit to achieve the SDGs”.
Central Regional Minister, Hon. Kwamina Duncan, presented the keynote address on behalf the Deputy Minister of Finance. He underscored the pragmatic steps and policies the Ministry of Finance has put in place to enhance Ghana’s micro economy through improved efficient microfinance operations. He was optimistic that by the end of the two- day conference many decisions that will improve microfinance in Ghana will come about that will lead to sustainable development.
Fraternal messages were presented by representatives of ARB Apex Bank Limited, the Ghana Co-operative Credit Unions Association (CUA) Limited and GHAMFIN bringing the opening ceremony to the 10th Microfinance conference to a successful end.
Mr. Roderick Ayeh, representative of the ARB Apex Bank Limited gave a fraternal message on behalf of the Apex Bank.
The main sessions for day one of the conference started with the presentation of papers from resource persons and researchers on various themes relating to Microfinance and the SDGs. The first paper was presented by Mr. Anthony Kofi Osei-Fosu on the subject, “Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) as means of microfinance for livelihoods development of rural women and poverty reduction.
Mrs. Christine Avortri, presented financial services of microfinance institutions and social performance: A Quantile regression analysis. Clement Oteng presented a paper on mobile money, productivity and welfare, among stakeholder farmers in Ghana while “the Role of Crowd Funding in Promoting Innovation in Microenterprises in Africa was presented by Faisal Iddris.
A sensitive topic, the Criminality in the Microfinance Sector: A Symptom of a Broken Window was presented by Edgar Takyi Akornor. Gloria Essilfie handled the role of micro-credit in enhancing food security and health status in Ghana, cash transfers, educational outcomes and child labour; the case of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme in Ghana, which was followed by an open forum for clarification and contribution ending day one of the conference.
Karen Walsh, Current MEDA country Program Manager of the Canadian Government, made a presentation on “Microfinance and Gender Equality. Female Representation on Boards of Microfinance Institutions by Barbara Tetteh, Lecturer at University of Professional Studies Accra followed by an open forum section chaired by Professor Rosemond Boahen of the University of Cape Coast and Mr. Ishmael Otchere presented the “Benefits of VSLA on microfinance”.
A Round Table Discussion on the topic “Sustaining Microfinance for Sustainable Development chaired by Mr. Kofi Awusabo Asare which was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Obu Andah (Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network), Alexander Dadzie(Yaalex Microfinance Limited) and Roderick Ayeh(ARB Apex Bank).
Professor Annim chaired an open forum discussion moderated by Professor Kwabena Barima Antwi while Dr. Emmanuel Asmah issued a communique and the closing remarks to end the two-day conference.
by Afia Nyarko Asare