BRAC launches microfinance institution in Ghana to empower women
BRAC has been granted a savings and loans license in Ghana, marking their sixth microfinance institution on the African continent.
ACCRA, GHANA – BRAC, with over 50 years of experience in responsible financial services, is launching BRAC Ghana Savings and Loans Ltd (BGSL), to promote financial inclusion and economic empowerment, particularly for women, in Ghana’s rural and hard-to-reach areas.
BRAC hosted an opening ceremony to mark the official launch of the new institution on 5 February, at Movenpick Hotel, Accra. Among the invited guests were officials from the Bank of Ghana, dignitaries from the government, clients of BGSL, and partners from the financial inclusion sector. Earlier in November, BRAC organized a ceremonial event in their office premises with staff, clients and members from the local community, to celebrate the start of BRAC’s journey in Ghana.
BRAC has been a pioneer of microfinance empowering more than 10 million clients across eight countries, 90% of whom are women. BGSL is the sixth microfinance institution of BRAC in the African continent.
The launch of BGSL in Ghana also marks the beginning of BRAC’s expanded presence in Africa, aiming to offer holistic development interventions, particularly targeting women and the youth population.
BGSL’s mission is to responsibly provide a range of financial services to those at the bottom of the pyramid. The new entity will particularly focus on women living in poverty in rural and hard-to-reach areas, aiming to create self-employment opportunities, build financial resilience, and harness their entrepreneurial spirit by empowering them economically.
BGSL obtained its full operating license from the Bank of Ghana in August 2023. Since starting operations in November, it has been serving close to 1,000 clients, 99% of whom are women, through its sole branch in Kasoa. BRAC’s collateral-free microloans are being provided to women engaged in petty trades, such as road-side sellers and small shops, who often do not qualify to access finance from mainstream providers.
One such client, Christiana Asiedua, a petty trader from Nyanyano said, “With my first loan from BRAC, I stocked my shop with things which I know will sell fast. I am also saving 200 cedis with BRAC every month for my family’s future.’’ Another client, Patience Mensah, who sells plastic wares and knives in Kokrobite said, “This loan will support me in many ways. To start with, I’ll be able to pay for my children’s school fees and ensure they keep learning. I will also be able to grow my business.”
In his remarks, the guest of honor, Osei Gyasi, Director, Banking Supervision Department, Bank of Ghana said, “If women are given access to capital, if women are trained, if they are taught to keep proper records, I think we will move very far. This is what BRAC is bringing on board. I’m sure with this start they will help us move the savings and loan sector forward.”
The CEO of BGSL, Kojo Baffoe-Eghan, conveyed his gratitude to the Bank of Ghana for their support and expressed BRAC’s commitment to forging a strong partnership to advance the government’s vision of fostering economic empowerment and financial inclusion. In his vision for BRAC in Ghana he said, “We project to serve more than 200,000 clients in the next five years, over 95% will be women.”
In her remarks, Bridget Dougherty, Managing Director of BRAC International Microfinance recognized the dedication of staff in Ghana who have been working closely with communities to understand their needs and forging a partnership that fosters resilience and prosperity. “BRAC believes that investing in women is synonymous with investing in the economic and social development of the country. We will not only address the needs of the population previously excluded from access to financial services, we are celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit of Ghanaian women, and supporting them to unlock their potential,” she added.
Shameran Abed, Executive Director of BRAC International said, “Alongside microfinance services, we are in the process of setting up NGO operations in Ghana to expand the scope of our work, focusing on creating sustainable livelihood opportunities for thousands of vulnerable girls and young women, complementing the financial services offered by BGSL. In Ghana and across the region, we are committed to growing and deepening our presence to deliver impactful solutions for the poorest and most vulnerable.”
About BRAC Ghana Savings and Loans Ltd
Financial inclusion in Ghana: A key focus
Despite the growth in Ghana’s financial sector, significant portions of the population, especially women and people living in rural areas remain excluded from formal financial services. According to the Financial Inclusion Index of 2021 by the World Bank, only 32% of women in Ghana have access to formal financial services compared to 47% of men. Only 27% of people living in rural areas have access to formal financial services. BGSL’s entry into Ghana addresses these gaps with an aim to offer accessible, inclusive financial solutions and expand the umbrella of financial inclusion for women and people living in poverty.
Financial services tailored to local needs
Understanding the local community’s needs, BGSL will offer inclusive, accessible, and convenient loan and savings products. Our core offerings include collateral-free group-based microloans exclusively for women and small enterprise loans for entrepreneurs. Embracing financial technology, we have digitized field operations and have adopted alternative delivery channels such as mobile money to offer greater value to our clients.
Complementing financial services with financial literacy programs
Understanding the importance of financial education, BGSL will offer complementary services such as financial literacy and pre-disbursement orientations. The training covers a vast range of topics on responsible borrowing, business and management, digital literacy, social and health awareness to empower clients, especially women, to make informed financial decisions.
Commitment to staff empowerment
BGSL is deeply committed to making a significant contribution to the economy of Ghana. Central to this commitment is our dedication to employing local staff, with a particular focus on empowering women. In the next five years, BGSL aims to employ 635 staff in its workforce, 98% of whom will be women.
BGSL recognizes the importance of continuous skill development and is dedicated to providing comprehensive training programmes for all employees. These initiatives are not only designed to enhance their professional skills but also to ensure their personal growth and job satisfaction.
Notes to the editor
BRAC is a global leader in developing and implementing cost-effective, evidence-based programs to empower the most marginalized people in extremely poor, conflict-prone, and post-disaster settings. Founded in Bangladesh in 1972, BRAC now touches the lives of more than 100 million people across 11 countries in Asia and Africa. BRAC takes a holistic approach to alleviating poverty, running programs in education, health care, financial inclusion, youth empowerment, agriculture, and more. In 2022, it was ranked the top NGO in the world by NGO Advisor for the seventh consecutive time.
About BRAC USA
Based in New York, BRAC USA is the North American affiliate of BRAC. BRAC USA provides comprehensive support to BRAC around the world by raising awareness about its work to empower people living in poverty and mobilizing resources to support its programs. BRAC USA also works closely with its international counterparts to design and implement cost-effective and evidence-based poverty innovations worldwide. BRAC USA is an independent 501(c)(3) organization.
Sarah Allen, Communications Manager