, NAIROBI, Kenya, April 9 – Citibank Managing Director Ade Ayeyemi has said that there is need to increase access to micro-credit financing across the country.
He said this would effectively deal with poverty as access to credit by the poor can economically uplift them.
Speaking at the Africa-Middle East Regional Micro-Credit Summit, he noted that the micro-finance sector in Kenya has brought a number of people previously un-banked to the formal financial segments.
Citi Foundation Director in charge of Corporate Citizenship Pam Flaherty further outlined the advantages of micro-finance institutions.
“Incorporating everybody in the society into the financial system is critically important,” she said. “If you are an entrepreneur or a consumer, you need financial services; you need savings, you need credit and insurance to be successful.”
While opening the conference on Wednesday, President Mwai Kibaki challenged micro-finance providers to increase the range of financial services they offer in order to address the economic needs of the underprivileged members of the society.
President Kibaki had asserted that a vibrant micro-finance sector considerably contributed towards a country\’s equitable development because of making financial support available to under-served and marginalised members of the society.
The President noted that due to the central role the micro-finance sector plays in national development, several challenges that stand in the way of achieving universal access to financial services among the poor need to be fully addressed.
The Head of State called for reduced cost of providing financial services to the poor as well as the establishment of credit rating systems and credit referencing bureaus as panacea to the real challenges facing the micro-finance facilities.
The microfinance, a sector and practice embraced by Kenya, has managed to reach most unbanked Kenyans and has an estimated membership base of 6.5 million people in the country.