Thursday, February 3, 2011

Social Development Fund Striving For Betterment

NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB)- The government of The Gambia in its effort to strengthen the micro-finance sector has, under  its  poverty alleviation strategy, received a  from the African Development Bank (ADB), to implement Entrepreneurship Promotion and Micro-finance Development (EDMDP) in the Gambia, Social Development Fund (SDF) is tasked to execute the project in the country. 
The project was earliar on  launched in all the regions by the executing body, Social Development Fund (SDF.

EDMDP is designed to facilitate the orderly growth of the country’s micro-finance sector through training, Micro-Finance institutional development, policy development, regulation and coordination. 
Speaking recently  at a  validation workshop organised by SDF at the Paradise Suite Hotel, Mr. Seringe Cham, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry  of Finance, said the eradication of  poverty in the Gambia is enshrined in the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) which he said has been the main priority for government. 
 “Government recognises the pivotal role of the micro-finance in the country’s strategy for poverty alleviation in enabling the orderly growth of the informal sector and the increasing productivity especially within the MSE and the agricultural sectors of the economy,” he said. 
He added that the Social Development Fund as an established entity of the government has sought  funding from the ADB to make it serve as an umbrella funding mechanism and capacity building for poverty alleviation activities in the country adding that SDF.  To this end, it has since its inception in 1998, striven hard in meeting the expectation for it. 
He said the overall objective of SDF is to play its role more effectively and he noted that the cabinet has approved SDF’s transformation into a Fiduciary Financial Institution (FFI) to focus on financing the social services delivery of the government and private sectors. 
The aim, he continued, is to obtain an effective structural and operational system that will enable SDF “to play the role and services for non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, and micro-finance institutions as well as entrepreneurial development programs “he noted. 
Mr. Sonko Fofana SDF fund manager also stipulated that the orderly growth of the micro-finance sector is a priority to the government.  
The EDPMDP project, he added, will implement  activities in supporting the development of sustainable and self-sufficient financial intermediaries that will effectively increase the outreach to marginal groups and communities to facilitate their economic productivity. 
He added “the provision of an outreach and expansion grant qualified and experienced NBFIs to enable them extend their operations into the rural areas where financial service are not yet provided. This grant will be covering justifiable operating expense for the opening of new branches of existing NBFIs in regions with sufficient access to NBFIs”, he says.

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