By Lamin Jahateh, Staff Reporter
Banjul, The Gambia - The Chief Executive Officer of Gambia Women’s Finance Association, Oley Njie Mbye, shared the experience of her mum on how getting funds from financial institutions remains a herculean task for entrepreneurs, especially female petty traders who want to expand their small ventures to grease the economic engine and create, build and grow the economy.
Mrs Njie-Mbye said microfinance touches on almost everyone’s life. She gives an anecdote: “I grew up with humble beginnings with the most wonderful dad, we called him daddy cool .I saw my mother toiled and worked so hard, we called her JAMBARR. She was not only a household manger but also an entrepreneur who worked even harder than her male counterparts. Most of all she had a heavy load on her head as many household managers here in The Gambia and at the same time she had to make ends meet through petty trading.
“I remember growing up seeing her work tirelessly to expand her small venture into big dreams but this was challenging and almost impossible because she was not fortunate to have the tangible assets such as collateral for the loan needed to sustain her meager entrepreneurial venture.”
At that young and tender age, I thought about the concept of small loans without collateral for micro entrepreneurs but did not have the means or ability. But as I grew older , I became wiser and gain more wisdom, I learned about microfinance and since then I nurtured it and took up my mother’s energy and legacy, and my father’s spirits and prophecy that women are just as good as men if given the opportunity and access to funds.”