2013 Annual Conference and General Assembly
from 15/10/2013 to 18/10/2013
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The Africa Microfinance Network (AFMIN) will organize its 12th Annual Conference and General Assembly at African Union Conference Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on...
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Interview with Bennet Bagonza Jasson, Principal Economist in TanzaniaJanuary 26, 2012
Jasson Bennet Bagonza has been working for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs of Tanzania since 2000. From Senior Planning Officer, Senior Economist to Principal Economist,
he now holds the position of Principal Economist in the Financial Sector Development section of the Policy Analysis department. As such, ACP/EU MICROFINANCE awarded him
with a scholarship to the Boulder microfinance training programme* in July 2011.
Tanzanian microfinance is rather young (mid-1990’s) and the National Microfinance Policy was implemented in 2001 only. What did the financial sector look like before that time?
J.J.B. - Before 2001, the financial sector in Tanzania was mainly serving urban areas as it was only considering the segment of customers with collaterals. The financial infrastructure was not supportive to the growth of microfinance, there were no financial literacy strategies put in place and no consideration for customer protection mechanisms.
Has this situation led to the late emergence of a modern, dynamic and innovative sector from 2001 on?
J.J.B. - The late emergence of microfinance delayed the development of the financial sector, stagnated the business activities of customers and in actual fact contributed to poverty among the people. On the other hand, the sector recent development allows the incorporation of the latest development.
What were the major changes in the Tanzanian microfinance sector?
J.J.B. - The major positive change that we can clearly document is the increasing number of financial service providersand consumers. Savings and Credit and Cooperative Organisations (SACCOS),
and mobile banking facilities are proliferating.
A Rural Financial Services Strategy was adopted and the Microfinance Policy was reviewed in order to respond to the needs of modern society in Tanzania.Such positive changes in the microfinance subsector are the result of Tanzania
embarking on the Second Generation of Financial Sector Reforms, but also of the creation of a special Unit called “Financial Sector Development section of the Policy Analysis department”
at the Ministry of Finance. The formation of the Tanzania Association Microfinance Institutions (TAMFI) also shows the dynamism of the sector.
Your responsibilities include the promotion and monitoring of microfinance in Tanzania. What are the main on-going projects or recent achievements in that area?
J.J.B. - Two main projects are currently ongoing: the Rural Financial Services Programme, co-funded by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development
(IFAD), is being implemented in seven regions (21 districts) and plays a great deal in promoting microfinance in Tanzania ; the Housing Microfinance Programme, implemented with the World Bank, has so far led to an increased awareness on financial services and growing entrepreneurship skills among the small and medium projects in rural areas. In addition, the financial services infrastructure has expanded tremendousily.
What do you see as the major priority to work on in order to reach financial inclusion and a sound financial sector in your country?
J.J.B. - The major priority of my country in order to reach financial inclusion is the full operationalisation of the recently adopted Rural Financial Services Strategy (RFSS).
* Each year, in the framework of its partnership with the International Training Center of the International Labour Organisation (ITC ILO), ACP/EU MICROFINANCE grants tuition scholarsips to ACP policymakers.
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