Microfinance Programmes and the Poor: Whom Are They Reaching? Evidence from Ghana
A key objective of microfinance programmes is to provide financial services to poor people who are excluded from such services by the formal banking system. It is in this perspective that governments, development partners and donor agencies continue to provide support to such institutions, to enable them to deepen their outreach. This paper examines the type of poor people served by one of the leading microfinance institutions in Ghana. By comparing the living standards of clients of Sinapi Aba Trust (SAT) with those of non-clients, representing the general population in its operational areas, the paper concludes that the microfinance institution reaches disproportionately a smaller percentage of very poor people. The study notes that programme placement plays a key role in determining the type of clients reached by SAT, since almost all its branches are located in urban centres. It finds that the objective of financial sustainability being pursued by SAT has eventually caused it to shift the provision of financial services from very poor households to the less poor.
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