The Gambia Microfinance Network (GAMFINET) Wednesday held a daylong discussion on the need for the improvement of the Policy and Regulatory Framework of Microfinance Services in The Gambia.
The forum that was held at a local hotel in Kololi, was centred on the theme; "Improved Policy, Legal and Regulatory Framework is Key to Microfinance Development".
The meeting was meant to share experiences and build consensus on a better Tier Supervision System for the micro-finance subsector.
Speaking at the meeting, Baboucarr Jeng, the vice-chairman of GAMFINET, who also doubles as the general manager of NACCUG thanked the Gambia Growth and Competitiveness Project for their support in this important forum. He said the forum seeks to achieve an important element in today's development agenda, which is learning and sharing ideas.
The vice-chairman of GAMFINET described the meeting as important, because they have participants from all sectors, such as government and the advocacy aspect of all what is needed concerning their project.
This, Jeng noted, is to ensure a very supportive dignitary environment, an environment that supports goods, ensures safety and security of the funds they mobilised. "We allowed new entrance into the system, because that is the only way you can defend financial inclusion in the rural areas. We also want to have a deeper understanding of the issues affecting our regulatory environment, we are the players and here is the opportunity for all of us to share and learn from each other," he told the participants.
The vice-chairman of GAMFINET urged the participants to take this opportunity to develop and identify a way forward for a better regulatory environment in the country, particularly in the area of microfinance.
Jeng thanked all the participants for coming to share ideas for the way forward in the development of the project.
For her part, Ndella Faye-Colley, the executive director of GAMFINET said the forum is meant to review the policy and regulatory framework, as well as share experiences on microfinance regulation for the improvement of the regulatory framework in The Gambia.
"GAMFINET as the umbrella organisation of microfinance service providers and promoters in The Gambia is mandated to create such kind of forums to discuss pertinent issues affecting the development of the Microfinance sub-sector," she stated.
Faye-Colley informed the gathering that the network current membership stands at 17 members, including direct service-providers, promoters and technical service providers within the industry.
She further stated that the members currently serve over 250, 000 clients in both urban and rural areas, with a huge potential to grow if given the right policy and regulatory framework.
The executive director of GAMFINET pointed out that the forum, which included presentations from regulators, as well as discussions, was a learning process for better understanding of the policy and regulatory framework of the microfinance sub-sector.
Madam Faye-Colley expressed hope that at the end of the day, greater understanding will be acquired on the regulations from within and outside The Gambia with a good insight on Tier Supervision System for Apex institutions.
According to her, the forum was expected to mark the beginning of a process of engagement with the policy and regulatory institutions to improve the policy and legal framework guiding microfinance operations in The Gambia.
The GAMFINET executive director, on behalf of the Board of Directors and members of GAMFINET, expressed sincere appreciation and thanks to the Gambia Growth and Competitiveness Project and the Rural Finance Project for the support given to the Network in making the forum possible.