The rural poor face a major challenge in accessing financial services provided by the formal banking system. They are excluded from the system because of the requirements imposed on them by the banking sector. The promise of microfinance is to ensure that the excluded have access to financial products. It offers financial intermediation through microcredit, micro-transfers, micro-saving, and micro-insurance services that have gained popularity in the developing countries of the world over the last 30 years. For these countries, the question is to determine the potential role of microfinance in reducing poverty and in strengthening economic growth.
While a considerable amount of research has been undertaken in other parts of the world on these issues, there is a dearth of empirical knowledge in the Central African countries. La microfinance en Afrique centrale : Le défi des exclus presents the results of empirical research concerning microfinance institutions in Central Africa. The book draws information from a project that was supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in the context of the Centre’s globalization, growth, and poverty programme initiative.
The project examined issues related to the market for microfinance, institutional considerations, efficiency and behaviour of key actors, and the impact of microfinance. The studies within the project were undertaken by teams of researchers and doctoral students, all mainly economists and jurists, in four countries in Central Africa, namely: Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Gabon. The book should serve as a reference guide on the application of microfinance experience in this region for the scientific community, policymakers, and other development practitioners.
Elias T. Ayuk is director of the Institute for Natural Resources in Africa at the United Nations University in Accra, Ghana. Previously, he was a senior program specialist with the International Development Research Centre.