CBN, UNDP Rejuvenate Microfinancing

Friday, November 4, 2005

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have commenced a reinvigorated campaign to jump-start the micro-finance sub-sector of the economy.

Working in collaboration with other stakeholders such as the CitiGroup Foundation and Nigerian commercial banks the CBN and UNDP held the first edition of the Nigerian Edition of the Global Microenterpreneurship Award, in Abuja, on Tuesday, to mark this year’s International Year of Micro-credit (IYMC) where outstanding Nigerian entrepreneurs, as well as, micro finance opportunities were showcased.

According to the Deputy Governor, Financial Sector Surveillance, Mr. Tunde Lemo, who is also the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) said the GMA programme recognised the global contributions microenterpreneurs have made to families, communities and national economies.

“The unique feature of the GMA is that it places microenterpreneurs on the centre stage and seeks to practically demonstrate how microfinance empowers the entrepreneurial spirits that exist among small-scale entrepreneurs worldwide as they strive to earn a befitting livelihood for themselves and their families.

“It is indeed, a step towards strengthening micro enterprises and encouraging best practices among operators of the microfinance sub-sector”, he said.

According to Mr. Lemo, the IYMC was also to signify a practical step to enhance the impact of microfinance to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations in its efforts to reduce global poverty by at least half by 2015.

He added that the award ceremony was only a prelude to several other activities lined up to mark the IYMC in Nigeria. Other activities include the launching of National Microfinance Policy and Regulatory Framework for Nigeria, a National Seminar, an International Conference, Road Shows and Grassroots Mobilisation.

In his address, the National Coordinator of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), Dr. Magnus Kpakol commended the UNDP, Citigroup Foundation, the UNCDF and the CBN for taking the initiative to assist the poor in their efforts to access investment funds.

The initiative, he said was in line with the objectives of NAPEP and particlartly its renewed strategy to involve private sector operators in facilitating access to funds by the poor in the society, saying that access to capital was actually the greatest problem of the poor.

According to him, his organisation had embarked upon the mass mobilisation, particularly at the grassroots with a view to providing poor Nigerians with the various opportunities that abounded in terms of how to source capital for viable projects.

In his remarks, the Mr. Betrand Egwuatu of the UNDP expressed the willingness of his organisation to ensure the success of the microfinance sub-sector in Nigeria, adding that more experts had been deployed to the country to work with the CBN to ensure the success of the initiative.

Mr. Egwuatu urged the Nigerian partners to take advantage of the readiness of the international community to work with them to raise the profile of microenterpreneurship among the low income earners in the country.

Some of the awardees included: Mrs. Esther Usman who emerged Millennium Development Goals Compliant Microenterpreneur; Hajia Rabi Mudi, Most Marketable Product; Mrs Mary Onu and Mrs. Veronica Adegoke ,Best Rural Microenterpreneur; Mr. Olusola Saraki, Micro Business Model; while a corporate organisation, Women Development Initiative, won the Best Microfinance Institution award.

The GMA was initiated by the Citigroup Foundation, the United Nations Capital Development Fund and a number of volunteers in the United States of America, last year and has been adopted by the UN General Assembly to fast-track world development.

The initiative which is being celebrated in 30 countries is committed to fostering investment in microfinance from donors, national governments and the private sector, in recognition of the invaluable roles of of the sub-sector to national economic growth as exemplified by the South East Asian nations.

Source: Vanguard, Emma Ujah (link opens in a new window)