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Title: Access to credit, indebtedness and debt refinancing amongst microenterprises in Freetown, Sierra Leone : an institutional approach
Author: Mahdi, Ilara R. E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 9862
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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In Sub-Saharan Africa, expansion of access to formal credit services for microenterprise development has been promoted as a policy prescription for providing the jobs and incomes needed by the poor in this region. In Sierra Leone, historically and especially during the post-war period, there have been efforts by policy makers to improve access to finance for microenterprises in order to assist with job creation. There have been a number of problems associated with 'this cause' amongst which is overindebtedness amongst microloan clients. In Sierra Leone, one of the major contributing factors to over-indebtedness amongst micro loan clients are consequential debt management practices such as cross borrowing, multiple borrowing and debt-refinancing. This thesis makes the claim that institutional factors contribute to the widespread occurrence of these debt management practices which consequently plunges microenterprises into further over-indebtedness. This thesis hypothesises that increased access to credit is an institutional change that has implications for debt management and over-indebtedness amongst microenterprises. It fills a gap by using an institutional approach to analyse debt problems amongst microenterprises in Freetown, Sierra Leone. By utilising this approach, the thesis shows that microenterprises do not operate in isolation; they operate within institutional framework which impacts on their debt outcomes. Therefore, over-indebtedness that is experienced by clients stems from the operations of key institutions within the microfinance sector i.e. the regulatory body (and environment) and the microfinance institutions that provide credit to microenterprises. Qualitative research conducted in Freetown, Sierra Leone, finds that the institutional change that has emerged failed to produce the right incentives or provide the environment which allows for microenterprises to access credit without facing the challenge of over-indebtedness. The microfinance sector that currently exists has not resulted in a full transformation in the institutional forms of providing finance to microenterprises, nor the emergence of effective regulatory institutions and microfinance institutions, all of which has debt implications.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral