The lack of affordable financing opportunities poses a major constraint to investment and growth in Sierra Leone. Furthermore, access to banking services is very limited for the majority of the population and particularly so in rural areas. Only 15% of the adult population in Sierra Leone has a bank account with a recognised financial institution, as opposed to an average of 24% for sub-Saharan Africa and other low-income countries. Banks have an inadequate geographic coverage and are almost exclusively concentrated in major urban areas. With only 2.92 branches per 100,000 people, Sierra Leone ranks well below Sub Sahara Africa’s average.
Thus, entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized enterprises face serious challenges in acquiring credit. The majority of business lending goes to the construction and commercial/finance sectors.
In light of the above, Aurora decided to support entrepreneurs and small and medium sized companies (SME’s) in Sierra Leone by providing credit through local micro credit institutions.
One of the micro credit institutions that Aurora is working with is the Grassroot Gender Empowerment Movement (GGEM). With the funds provided by Aurora, GGEM will offer loans to individuals and SME’s.