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PublicationMicrofinance Regulation : Lessons from Benin, Ghana and Tanzania(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2004-10) Steel, William F.This article identifies key issues and lessons about how the overall regulatory framework affects the ability of microfinance institutions (MFIs) to become more market-oriented and integrated with the financial system. It is based on a review undertaken by the World Bank of microfinance regulation in Benin, Ghana and Tanzania to better inform advice and project design regarding the appropriate balance between the objectives of promotion, performance, and prudential supervision. PublicationMicro and Rural Finance in Ghana : Evolving Industry and Approaches to Regulation(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2004-01) Steel, William F.; Andah, David O.The note reviews the structure and performance of Ghana's rural, and micro-finance institutions (RMFIs), through a financial system, namely comprising three main categories: formal, semi-formal, and informal systems. It then analyzes the liberalization of its financial policies (late 1980s) and the supervision regime, indicating that while Ghana's approach has yielded a wide range of RMFIs, and products - potentially outreaching the poor based on savings mobilization - it has also permitted the easy entry of institutions with weak management, and internal controls. This demonstrates the difficulty in striking the right balance between encouraging entry and innovation, and establishing adequate supervision capacity. PublicationGhana - Financial Services for Women Entrepreneurs in the Informal Sector(1999-06) World BankThe Ghana Microfinance Institution (MFI) action research network brings together organizations interested in providing financial services to the poor in Ghana. With World Bank support, the network carried out this study which provides brief descriptions of the innovations that informal, semi-formal, and formal MFIs have developed in providing financial services to female entrepreneurs in Ghana. It also makes recommendations on how such services can be strengthened and improved. PublicationTechnoServe in Ghana(Washington, DC, 1998-05) World BankTechnoServe (TNS) is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1968 and has programs in 14 countries in Africa, Latin America and Central Europe. The Ghana program was established in 1971. TechnoServe's mission is to establish sustainable community-based enterprises that increase productivity, income and employment. It opposes food relief, subsidized inputs and grants and promotes self-help and technical assistance to rural communities. This approach involves the provision of financial and business management training in order to help these communities make sound business decisions and create and operate their own enterprises. Although TNS believed that the key to financing these small community-based enterprises was savings, eventually it became convinced that credit was also necessary. TNS therefore evolved its own financial mediation strategy by developing innovative mechanisms for micro-enterprise financing. PublicationGhana - Promoting Growth, Reducing Poverty(World Bank, Washington, DC, 1995-11) Alam, AsadThe policy reforms since 1983 have reduced the fiscal deficit and inflation, helped improve infrastructure services, and shifted relative prices and incentives towards the tradable sector, in general, and towards exports, in particular. The key element of fiscal consolidation up to 1991 was the growth in government revenues, whose share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose from 6 percent in 1983 to 13 percent in 1986 and to 16 percent in 1991. Higher revenues made it possible to reduce the fiscal deficit and, at the same time, increase public investment in infrastructure which had virtually collapsed prior to 1983. Prudent monetary management also led to inflation falling from 123 percent in 1983 to 40 percent in 1986 and 18 percent in 1991. The resulting improvements in macroeconomic stability made it possible for farms and firms to respond to the shift in production incentives induced by the policy reforms. As a result of these reforms, the economy turned around. Although economic activity witnessed its biggest surge during the early years of the Economic Recovery Program (ERP) (5.3 percent annually during 1983-86), aggregate growth has averaged 4.7 percent per annum since 1987. The private sector has made a significant contribution to growth. However, this growth performance has not been uniform across sectors. Agriculture recorded an annual growth rate of only 1.9 percent since 1987 while services have grown at an average annual rate of 7.4 percent over the same period. Merchandise exports and imports have grown faster than GDP and with it, complementary wholesale and retail trade. The share of external trade in GDP increased from about 5 percent in 1983 to 32 percent in 1986, 35 percent in 1991, and 55 percent in 1994. PublicationGhana : Bringing Savers and Investors Together(World Bank, Washington, DC, 1995-04) Boehmer, Hans-Martin; Wetzel, Deborah; Gupta, ArvindAfter 10 years of successful adjustment, with real economic growth averaging 5 percent per year, Ghana's recorded savings and investment rates remain very low - even by sub-Saharan African standards. However, survey evidence suggests that actual savings and investment rates are much higher than recorded rates. National accounts statistics do not capture a large part of the underlying savings and investment activities of the household, rural, and informal sectors. Comparative financial indicators confirm that Ghana's financial system is not very deep and as a result not fully contributing to economic growth. Ghana's broad money holdings are small relative to GDP when compared to other countries with similar per capita income. Also, currency holdings are relatively large, suggesting that Ghanaians prefer cash to bank accounts. Meanwhile, the bulk of financial savings has financed public sector deficits, leaving little for private investment finance. There is considerable evidence that many household savings are invested in real assets yielding zero, or negative, returns. Widespread lack of trust in formal financial channels makes these nevertheless the preferred form of investment. Ghana can grow faster with existing savings by improving the efficiency of investments through enhanced finanical intermediation. PublicationSmall Enterprise Finance under Liberalization in Ghana(World Bank, Washington, DC, 1994-11) Aryeetey, Ernest; Baah-Nuakoh, Amoah; Duggleby, Tamara; Hettige, Hemamala; Steel, William F.This study investigates the apparent contradiction between the high propensity of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to identify finance as their primary constraint and the view of banks that SME lending remains low in part for lack of bankable demand. Surveys were conducted of relatively successful microenterprises and SMEs to assess demand and sources of finance, and formal and informal financial institutions were interviewed to analyze constraints on the supply side. The survey results show that credit for start-up is rare and that the smaller the enterprise, the greater the equity finance share of the initial investment. Many SMEs achieve substantial growth through reinvestment of profits, making it difficult to conclude that entry and growth of SMEs depends crucially on loans. Other forms of finance, such as customers' advances and supplier's credit are at least as important as bank credit. Nevertheless, the evidence suggests that exploitation of highly profitable opportunities by SMEs could be accelerated if they had greater access to external financing. Tight money, banks' efforts to improve portfolio performance, centralization of decision-making, and lack of competition explain why banks have shown little interest in developing SMEs as a market niche. The study suggests techniques that banks could adopt to overcome the problems of high transaction costs and risks in SME lending, drawing on the methods of informal financial agents.