By Alfred K. Dogbey
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Micro-Finance and Small Loans Center (MASLOC), has noted that the financial empowerment of Ghanaian women to make them independent, is pertinent towards the development of the nation.
According to Madam Sedina Attionu Tamakloe, Ghanaian women need to be educated and financially supported to grow businesses and improve upon their livelihood and their homes.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Herald last Saturday, to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day, Madam Tamakloe said, it was imperative to bridge the gap between women and financial institutions to enable them access funds to improve upon their lives, adding this is one of the surest ways to develop the country.
She, therefore, called on financial institutions to tailor their products and services to meet the needs of women.
The MASLOC boss stated that “women need to be educated to understand how they can go about their businesses and become investor-ready so that they know
how to talk to banks and have an opportunity to gain access to their services.”
Madam Tamakloe insisted “assisting women to be financially independent is vital”, and pledged her outfit’s readiness to support women, because naturally women have been the target of microfinance and financial establishments; a fact reflected by the missions and goals of many institutions in the world.
MASLOC, she mentioned, wants to stimulate a debate on building the knowledge-base of financial institutions on gender and what she called “financial inclusion” to help identify entry points to advance women’s roles in financial markets, especially in deprived areas of Ghana.
Madam Tamakloe, who is a trained pharmacist, disclosed that MASLOC was already preparing a toolkit aimed at educating women and also implement programmes to guarantee and enhance their financial inclusion in the country.
She noted that, MASLOC as a financial institution was also aiming at assisting women, predominantly those in the rural areas to have easy access to loans and expand their businesses to reduce financial burdens on their partners.
The MASLOC boss bemoaned the low-income situation of women in rural areas across the country particularly, those involved in agro-based businesses, thus making it difficult for them to access financial services, despite the importance of agriculture in this country and the dominance of women in the sector.
To rectify this, she again disclosed that her office is putting in place a specialized scheme to help those in the agric sector to buy farm equipment and implements at very subsidized prices to assist them increase their yields, adding “we are there to help women become financially independent”.
According to her, MASLOC has also identified the need for financial institutions to develop sound schemes that will reach women customers with affordable loan products, privacy, independence in the application process and effective but low-cost recovery channels.
She asked other financial institutions to focus on developing customer-driven microfinance services, based on gender dynamics, especially in poor rural households.