Tour Around the World with Oikocredit: Ghana

Tour Around the World with Oikocredit: Ghana

November 15, 2011 at 6:05 PM - by Leah Gage - 0 comments

Ghana has also been rated as 2nd amongst countries with the quickest-growing GDP for 2011[ii]. However, the economic promise of oil doesn’t trickle down to those living at the “Bottom of the Pyramid”- the poorest of the poor in Ghana.The latest economic indicators show that almost 30% of the population lives on $1.25 a day[i]. Ghana’s export economy churns through a pool of poor day-laborers who mine gold and produce cocoa. This type of economic activity gives them little chance to develop businesses that contribute to reliable and consistent incomes.

Ghana has also been rated as 2nd amongst countries with the quickest-growing GDP for 2011. However, the economic promise of oil doesn’t trickle down to those living at the “Bottom of the Pyramid”- the poorest of the poor in Ghana.The latest economic indicators show that almost 30% of the population lives on $1.25 a day. Ghana’s export economy churns through a pool of poor day-laborers who mine gold and produce cocoa. This type of economic activity gives them little chance to develop businesses that contribute to reliable and consistent incomes. As an organization with an eye on reducing global poverty through microfinance, Oikocredit invests in Ghana in order to foster micro-enterprise and opportunities for those seeking access to better income-generating activities.

One of Oikocredit’s partners in Ghana is Opportunity International Savings and Loan Ghana, a divison of Opportuntiy International- a development organization whose goals are similar to those of Oikocredit.

Every Tuesday Grace Oppong begins setting up tables and benches underneath a tree in her village of Adankwame. Grace’s fellow villagers have elected her community chairperson of the Nyame Ne Boafo Trust, a solidarity group that uses mutual trust to ensure loan repayments.
 

Grace Oppong, 48 yrs. old
 

Grace is well-known for her business acumen and her clout amongst villagers- when she calls them to meetings, they follow! Over 10 years ago Grace started her solidarity group from scratch, mustering 20 new borrowers in a week’s time. It took a lot of courage and a lot of humility to ask for her first loan, but today she has grown from selling groceries to a business that supports two other employees.

Grace is one of many client success stories that illustrate the micro-changes that can be made with investments in development. Oikocredit believes the key is in “investing in people,” and Opportunity International Ghana provides the necessary support that can turn their business dreams into reality.

Opportunity International Ghana is carrying out Oikocredit’s commitment to social performance with extensive financial training before clients take out a loan. Local branches have also instituted an online client feedback system to answer inquiries and track complaints- this helps them to tailor their financial products to the needs of rural clients. The Susu Savings product has loan officers walking the “extra mile” to the doorstep of their clients’ businesses in order to collect deposits.

Opportunity International Ghana is also making investments with the right people: women. Eighty-four percent of their clients are women, with loan default rates of less than 2%. Leadership roles given to women and greater financial independence promote empowerment in the community and at home. As a result, other young women and girls will be encouraged to become economically active and contribute to the stability and growth of their own communities.

Clients of Opportunity International Ghana are passing it on to their daughters by sending them to college, “thus expanding their opportunities and transforming gender norms in future generations”.

Oikocredit partners like Opportunity International Ghana and fair trade cooperative Kuapa Kokoo are investing in this idea by investing in women. This week here in DC, Oikocredit will welcome two women farmers from Kuapa Kokoo who form part of this generation of young female leaders active in community enterpriseLearn more about the event here! A chain reaction caused by these young female leaders will help stabilize Ghana’s poorest communities and contribute to greater financial inclusion.


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