Microfinance in Nigeria – part four
Microfinance institutions in Nigeria have been accused of neglecting the people they were set up to help: the country’s impoverished majority. Hughes Nneike investigates
The Grooming Centre CEO has also charged operators of microfinance institutions to come together to join existing associations both locally and internationally and, through this, to develop platforms for knowledge exchange. Nwabunka further states that the Grooming Centre recognises the paucity of knowledge in Nigeria and has taken it upon itself to mentor other MFBs or MFIs willing to improve their models of operations to serve the poorest of the poor. The mentoring includes the provision of professional guidance on staff recruitment, training, ethical standards, code of conducts, documentation, periodic monitoring, rating and funding support.
Nwabunka says that to date two of the banks being mentored have undergone international rating by Microrate in the US, one of the four internationally acclaimed accreditation companies, and they have been successful.
Overall, he argues that microfinance can make a big economic impact and further leverage Nigeria’s GDP if the practitioners see and accept it as a social business. Nwabunka also urges microfinance operators to benchmark their work against the four goals of microfinance as enumerated by the UN World Summit on Microfinance.
These goals, he says, revolve around addressing the needs of the poor, achieving a positive measurable impact on health and education and ensuring that progress can be maintained through MFI fiscal sustainability, as well as helping to reach and empower women.