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Promoting Financial Inclusion in Ghana

Project Development Objective (PDO)

The objective of this project is to promote a more inclusive financial sector in Ghana by helping the government adopt comprehensive financial inclusion policies and by strengthening the existing credit guarantee scheme to increase access to credit for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Background

In Ghana, financial inclusion is low, SMEs lack access to finance, and there is no coherent strategy to address this challenge and coordinate efforts. There are a number of initiatives in this area, ranging from providing credit guarantees to strengthening financial institutions; however, information on their effectiveness and additionality is limited. Details on the depth of financing, the provision of longer terms at more affordable interest rates, and the changes in collateral requirements are also lacking. 

Government authorities have requested help to review existing credit guarantee schemes, provide options for their improvement, and address their gaps. This effort will help develop a national financial sector strategy (FINSSP) for financial inclusion and implement corresponding action. 

Activities

The project will support the following technical activities:

1.    Financial inclusion strategy development
The project will support the government in developing a coordinated, well-sequenced strategy to increase access to financial services. The strategy will contain a time-bound, costed, and prioritized series of actions implemented by the cross-section of public, private, and international partners. It will also establish a clear monitoring and evaluation framework for measuring progress toward the strategy’s overall financial inclusion goals. A financial inclusion steering committee composed of government, Bank of Ghana, and private sector representatives and relevant civil society stakeholders will be responsible for day-to-day coordination and subsequent implementation of the strategy.

2.    Assessment of demand to introduce Islamic finance
The project will support a quick diagnostic and needs assessment for introducing Islamic finance in Ghana. This project will include (a) an assessment of market demand and the potential for Islamic finance in Ghana, (b) a review of the current regulatory and supervisory frameworks to identify gaps, and (c) the development of a roadmap to implement a comprehensive framework. 

3.    SME finance development
The project will review the current guarantee scheme and make recommendations to improve access to finance for SMEs, namely through the EximGuaranty Company. The project will also take stock of programs implanted by development financial institutions (DFIs). Furthermore, the project will provide options to improve the design of the credit guarantee scheme and a plan to improve its operational capacity. The project will also review existing DFIs and ad hoc schemes in Ghana and provide recommendations for rationalization and improvement.

Expected Outcomes

The main expected outcomes of the project are as follows:

1.  Comprehensive framework to set priorities, to coordinate actions, to mobilize resources, and to
     create time-bound reforms to expand financial inclusion 

2.  Roadmap to introduce Islamic finance regulatory framework

3.  Improved credit guarantee schemes