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(Oral Bac 2014 G1-G2)

Ordinary people need financial services so that they can participate in the development, of Africa. Conventional Banks tend to neglect this target group as these clients can offer neither collateral nor polished business plans. In the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, which are among the poorest in the world, ordinary people such as small craftsmen or women market traders have little chance of obtaining loan from a normal bank. Banks specializing in microfinance, however, take care of the needs of these entrepreneurs. A typical customer is," for example, a woman selling textiles in the market, who would like to borrow $ 300 to set up a small warehouse. Then she would not need to spend time each day to acquire/her goods from a wholesaler and would achieve better purchase prices because she would be able to buy larger quantities at a time.

A German Pro-credit Group is pioneering sustainable microfinance around the world. It is also active in five African countries: Ghana, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Sierra Leone. Most of the loans granted by Pro-credit in Africa are below $ 1,000. As Andrea Kaufman, Pro-credit's press spokesperson, sees it, this shows that "the continent is in a position to save and that banks can mobilize sufficient local funds to finance their loans."

Ordinary people actually need more than loans. Many poor people save to pay for their children's education or for emergencies such as to pay for urgently needed medicines. To date, many of them have been denied a bank account, as conventional banks often ask for minimum deposits amounting to several times their average annual income. In some parts of Africa, small savers seven pay fees to informal deposit collectors to keep their money for them as it is unsafe to keep savings at home. By contrast, microfinance banks, such as Pro-credit, offer more than a safe place for their money and even pay them interest on it. For small consumers, other financial services such as bank transfers are also important if, for example, relatives living abroad want to send them money.

Adapted from Financing Development, May 2007

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