Successes in expanding microfinance opportunities in rural Ethiopia: can the entrepreneurship challenge be overcome?

Getaneh Gobezie
African Review of Money Finance and Banking 2008, pp. 117-131

Microfinance opportunities have been successfully expanding in Ethiopia during the past fifteen years, including in remote villages, where the majority of people are engaged in smallscale agriculture, which is little supported by modern technology. Some of the key strategies for the success include: innovative adaptation of the group guarantee lending model, successfully customized to local Ethiopian realities; decentralization of operation, including a focus on using indigenous knowledge and resources in client screening and follow-up; appropriate strategies to deal with financing small scale (rain-fed) agriculture, often subject to season changes. However, much remains to be done. The outreach in micro-credit is estimated to have satisfied only a small proportion of the potential demand, while the growth of individual enterprises and the impact on clients' income remain low. It is becoming more and more challenging to further expand the micro-credit outreach, introduce inclusive finance to reach remote villages and very poor people, as well as ensure an impact on the lifestyle of clients. This is due, among other things, to poor infrastructure, particularly the road network and other communication channels, low level business support, as well as the 'entrepreneurship challenge'. This calls for a collaborative effort of all stakeholders in rural development. The present paper examines the opportunities and challenges faced while expanding access to microfinance to poor people in remote areas.

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Issue: 2008
Contributors: Gobezie, Getaneh   
Keywords: , , ,