AN ASSESSMENT OF AFFORDABILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY OF MICROFINANCE INSTITUTIONS IN CAMEROON: CASE OF LITTORAL REGION, LESSONS FROM BANGLADESH AND INDIA
By: Soja Terence Fombutu, Antoinette Ntala Njang, Kemayou Sindjeu Daniella O. & Enow Orock Rizer | Department of Business and Management Studies | Accounting and Finance
This study was aimed at assessing the Affordability and Accessibility of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Cameroon; a case of littoral region, lessons learned from Bangladesh and India. Specifically, the work reviewed the accessibility and affordability of Microfinance Institutions in Bangladesh and India, examined the perception of beneficiaries on accessibility and affordability of MFIs in Cameroon, and assessed the challenges facing accessibility and affordability of MFIs in Cameroon. The study made use of a multi-stage sampling technique consisting of, purposive, simple random methods and convenient sampling. The study had a sample size of 700 clients from 10 different MFIs in the Wouri Division of the Littoral Region of Cameroon, and six interviews with six management staff of MFIs. Questionnaires and interview guides were the data collection instruments used. The collected data were analyzed using the simple descriptive tools for analysis such as tables with frequencies and percentages. Findings from data analysis revealed India and Bangladesh MFIs provide collateral free loan(100%),savings/loans procedures aresimplified, average duration of micro loan procession are (45mins-1hr &30-45mins),national outreach coverage (59.9%& 55.4%), micro loan for the empowerment of rural women (76%& 92%),rural population target (72% &86%) respectively. Microfinance Institutions in Cameroon demand for Loan security(36.8%), cost of loan is high(39.5%), cost of membership is high(38.3%), Loan repayment periods is long(30.2%),loan processing durations is long(45.2%), MFIs do not provide variety of services(25.1%), loan procedures are not easy(35.2%), and there is lack of proximity to MFI(31%). Poor management, lack of resources, skilled personnel, inadequate donor funding, insufficient support from governments, high taxes, inadequate infrastructural development and fund shortages are some of the challenges facing accessibility and affordability of MFIs in Cameroon. It was concluded that, MFIs in Cameroon should deceased from commercial bank practices, provide collateral free loan to low income earners, subsidies and customized technical assistance should be given to MFIs, and government should review the ownership of MFIs, to make these MFIs more affordable and accessible to low income earners. Thus, leading to the expansion of the socio-economic activities of developing countries like Cameroon. Finally, the work ended with the researchers suggesting possible areas for further studies.
Key Words: Affordability, Accessibility, Microfinance Institutions, Poverty and Society.