The Impact of Microfinance on the Empowerment of Rural Women: A Case Study of Asuogyaman District in the Eastern Region

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The main objective of microfinance scheme or programme is to provide opportunity for the poor to access financial services in order to engage in income generating activities. This as it were, would lead to economic empowerment of the poor women who are deprived of the paid jobs. However, there has been a debate in recent times on whether these MFIs really provide the opportunity for women who forms majority of the poor all over the world to assess financial services thereby improving their welfare. The study therefore sought to assess whether products of MFIs have really contributed to the growth or otherwise of women entrepreneurs thereby empowering them economically. Simple random sampling techniques were employed in selecting the sample. The main research instruments used in the study were structured questionnaire and interview. The study revealed that even though MFIs have to some extent empowered rural women economically, its full benefit is yet to be realized by these women due to its high interest rate, inflexible payment schedule, group formation etc. It is therefore recommended that the interest rate should be reduced and be made known to the customers. And to make repayment flexible it is recommended that repayment be made in such a way that trusted members are given a payment per month instead of the two weeks payment. Again MFIs should continue to organize training programme for the women entrepreneurs. They should also embark on educational programmes on microfinance product. This would offer the client the opportunity to be familiar with the operations of MFIs.
A Thesis submitted to the Institute of Distance Learning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Commonwealth Executive Master of Business Administration,