Second Deputy of the Bank of Ghana, Elsie Awadzi-Addo, has said the Bank of Ghana (BoG) will help to de-risk lending to MSMEs and women-owned businesses in the country.
This, she noted, will be done by enhancing the critical credit market infrastructure such as the credit bureaux-based credit reporting system as well as the Bank’s collateral register.
Making the assertion at the First + Gender Finance Workshop organised by Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network (GHAMFIN) and CapPlus, the Second Deputy Governor noted that, this forms part of the many measures the BoG intends to do to promote access to an inclusive financial system and by extension, broad-based macroeconomic growth through its policy, regulatory and supervisory tools.
Adding that the Bank will help promote safety and soundness of financial institutions it regulates so that they are better able to provide finance to economic actors on a sustainable basis.
Access to finance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises remains a perennial challenge and most surveys including the Bank of Ghana business environment surveys confirm this. Women-owned MSMEs also face an even higher bar to accessing finance.
As of 2017, the World Bank’s Findex Report suggested that there was an 8% gender gap in access to finance in Ghana, and an average of 9% for Africa.
The Second Deputy Governor said the First + initiative is therefore timely and urgent, as part of efforts to help our economy recover from the pandemic and make it more resilient going forward.
“As this initiative focuses on the supply-side of access to finance by aiming to empower financial institutions to provide more products and services for MSMEs in a gender inclusive manner, it is important to understand what the constraints have been for our financial institutions beyond the sources of funding available to them, and how this initiative can address those constraints fully.”
“In addition, we need to also think about what the demand-side constraints have been, so that we can somehow address them to promote effective take-up of gender-inclusive MSME-focused products and services”, she noted.
MSMEs are the bedrock of the Ghanaian economy, and women entrepreneurs own a majority of MSMEs.
Data suggests that Ghana’s MSME sector accounts for about 92 percent of all businesses and contributes about 70 percent of Ghana’s GDP. Ghana’s private sector is dominated by women entrepreneurs, second only to Uganda, according to the 2019 MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs.