Microfinance institutions must not concentrate on profits but also empower their clients, Philip Appiah-Mensah, Chief Executive Officer of UDF Microfinance Limited, has advised.
He said any microfinance institutions interested in the businesses their clients do would help them to know and be actively involved in the day-to-day activities of people they assist.
“Give the money but follow up and be involved in their work,” he said.
Mr. Appiah-Mensah gave the advice in Accra on Wednesday when 24 business students from the Haworth College of Business, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, United States paid an educational visit to the UDFM to introduce the students to the business and cultural environment in Ghana.
The visit also formed part of the students’ engagement with the financial sector to particularly know the challenges of doing business in low-income market environment and the innovative approaches that both local and foreign companies are taking to thrive.
During a presentation session, Mr Appiah-Mensah mentioned financial literacy, condition of exclusion, price exclusion, market exclusion and self exclusion as some of the causes of financial exclusion in Ghana.
He however noted that about 70 per cent or more of the public did not have access to financial services.
Mr. Appiah-Mensah called for more financial access training and advice to clients on how to manage their businesses effectively.
“Doing this will help the public to develop interest in savings,” he said.
Professor Alhassan Mumuni, a professor of Marketing at Haworth College Business, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, and the head of the delegation said the visit had afforded companies that were at the forefront of innovative business practice in Ghana to share their experiences with the students.
“As a native of Ghana I know the important role that microfinance is playing in fuelling small businesses and the students will benefit immensely from this trip,” he said.
Some students who spoke to the Ghana News Agency lauded the school authorities for the laudable initiative that would help in their academics, business fields and businesses after school.
As part of activities making the visit, the UDFM team led by Kwame Donkor, the Executive Director and the CEO took the students on a tour to visit and have firsthand information about the businesses of some of their clients they had set up.
There was also a health talk in stress management for the students as well as clients in Kwabenya, a suburb of Accra and its environs.
UDFM is a community development finance institution that delivers financial solutions and advisory services to financially underserved in their operating communities with the goal of unleashing the entrepreneurial and economic power of their clients.