We are glad to see that the Gambia
hosts the ongoing sub-regional workshop of the West Africa English-speaking
countries of the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA).
Established in 1977 as a continental network, AFRACA is "an association of
financial institutions involved in promoting and providing financial services
to rural population in Africa.
The AFRACA membership stands at 90 institutions comprising central banks,
commercial banks, agricultural and development bank, micro-finance institutions
and their networks.
According to the secretary general of AFRACA Ms Mbita Mary
Nandazi, after all the four regional workshops have been held, a technical
workshop will be held in Tanzania
in November this year. To be held alongside AFRACA General Assembly, the
technical workshop is to show case ideas that are truly innovative as well as
putting together all the recommendations from other forums held in the last two
years in order to come up with a continental standpoint.
And what is this "continental standpoint"? It is in the
theme in the recurring theme of the sub-regional meetings: "Innovations in
addressing rural finance challenges in Africa".And this is in line with AFRACA's mission "to
improve the rural finance environment through the promotion of appropriate
policy framework and to support member institutions to provide sustainable
quality financial services to the rural population".
The whole idea is to tackle the perennial plague of poverty
to an appreciable degree. And as the Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia
said, "Poor people do not want charity; all they want is access and
opportunities. It has been proven that poor people not only repay their loans
on time, but they also invest their increased incomes in their families."
So what AFRACA is in search of is more proactive innovations
that can help them "promote improved access to finance by rural households by
supporting financial institutions to find and share approaches that provide
solutions on how to deepen and better reach entrepreneurs and farm families in
We wish AFRACA success in their quest for the innovation
that will help to address poverty, especially among the rural populations of Africa.