Bank of Sierra Leone launches financial inclusion strategy for MSMEs
The initiative will increase access to financial services for MSMEsThe Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) has launched the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion designed to increase availability, accessibility and affordability of finance for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Sierra Leone. The strategic initiative which was launched on 16th December by the Governor of BSL, Marah Kaifala is packaged as a 4-year initiative beginning from 2017. Marah said the central objective of the initiative is to increase access to formal financial services for businesses. "To make financial services available, accessible and affordable to all Sierra Leoneans and MSMEs, and support inclusive and resilient private-sector led growth. "Less than one million people or 12.6 percent of a population of 7.1million have bank accounts, 87 per cent of the market is yet to be captured, the project intends to bring those who have been excluded financially" he said. The government of Sierra Leone has been seeking ways to strengthen MSMEs growth in the country; in March 2016, the President announced that the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency would provide loans for small businesses at single digit interest rate. Access to finance has been a bottleneck to the growth of small businesses in Sierra Leone. However, the newly launched National Strategy for Financial Inclusion will ameliorate access to finance for small businesses.