May 5, 2011, 3:24 PM
Gambia Women’s Finance Association (GAWFA), a membership-based organisation of over 49,000 people, Thursday introduced its new Mobile Banking Service at a presentation ceremony held at the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute’s (GTHI) restaurant.
Tony Lopez, Technical Manager of Towerplane, a Spanish software company, who are the developers of the Mobile Banking System for GAWFA, said the system was divided into 2 parts: an online part and an offline part.
He added that the idea behind the project was to have an offline unit to basically add all information without the need for having internet connection.
He described the impact of the new service as ‘quite high’, as prior to the service GAWFA used to spend many days and resources to receive and give money to members.
He said to complete the process it used to take a week or more but with this new system all requests could be done within a few minutes.
Kaddy Sanyang-Fofana, Operation Manager of GAWFA, said GAWFA was founded in 1987 by few individuals as a women association aimed at being a sustainable financial institution to alleviate poverty, especially among women in the rural area.
Their target is women, especially low-income women in the rural area, as 90 per cent of their portfolio is in the rural area.
“We think these women do not have access to finance and the only way we can get them involved in financial activities is by GAWFA going to them to offer them financial means and activities,” Madam Sanyang-Fofana stated.
She said that with the new system the woman does not have to go to the head office or to the branch office to carry out transactions, as the credit officers would now meet them with the system.
The transactions are transparent and less costly, she said.
The achievements of GAWFA include being the first microfinance institution licensed by the Central Bank of The Gambia as a non-bank financial institution.
“It is the first microfinance institution operating countrywide with 3 branches and 19 sub-stations in all regions,” she said.
She also said GAWFA’s doors are open to everyone who wants to help alleviate poverty in the country, as well as uplift the status of women.
They are also open to suggestions and advice on especially how they could all render the service better to succeed, she added.