Conference On Finance Opens In Accra
A one-day conference, organised by the government of Ghana together with Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network, dubbed 'Making Finance Work For Ghana,” opened, yesterday, in Accra.
The conference, brought together over two hundred (200) Ghanaians and international financial sector champions from the public sectors as well as representatives from academia, non-governmental organisations and development partners, seeks to discuss the road to the second phase of the Financial Sector Strategic Plan and beyond.
The Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr� George Gyan Baffour, said government recognised that access to affordable finance was a very important pre-requisite for the development of the economy.
'The Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy II (2006-2009), one of the main pillars identified as an anchor for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, is the promotion of private sector competitiveness,” the Minister stressed.
According to Dr� Baffour Gyan, government had shown a strong and sustained commitment to financial sector reform in recent years, which was aimed at broadening and opening the financial sector, particularly, through the reforms of the regulatory and institutional environment.
He said the first round of reforms, revealed that Ghana's financial sector had already made great progress. He attributed� credit to the private sector as the percentage of GDP, had increased from 16.4 per cent in 2003 to 25.8 per cent in 2006.
The Minister however, said the key challenge for going forward was the importance of inclusiveness, access to affordable finance for the poor, medium term funds for small medium enterprises, particularly, small entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector.
He, therefore, called for reduction in lending risks and develop effective consumer education and financial literacy.
The Executive Director of the Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network, Dr David O Andam, called for branchless banking in the country to ameliorate the cost of traveling from a longer distance for financial business.
According to Dr� David Andam, there was the need for microfinance institutions to move from their present way of operating and ensure institutionalisation of financial banking.
The Director of Financial System at the World Bank, Madam, Consolate Rusagara, urged financial institutions in Ghana to ensure high sense of probity and governance so as� to achieve their goals.
Madam Consolate Rusagara said trust and confidence in financial institutions are very crucial in making financial sector more vibrant. She added that there was the need for Ghana's� financial institutions to be abreast with time and know the challenges on the international market.
Madam Margret Mwanakatwe, Managing Director of Barclays Bank, Ghana, was of the view that one of most important ways of making finance work for Ghana was inclusion across the broad spectrum of the customers.