The initiative, which is part of the global community investment programme, aims to address the issue of financial exclusion by creating groups in which members pool their savings to make small loans available to fellow members.
At the end of an agreed period, the savings accumulated and interest earned on loans are shared out among group members.
The project is expected to benefit 63,000 people in 10 districts across the regions of Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Central, Volta and Greater Accra.
Benjamin Dabrah, Managing Director at Barclays Ghana, said: “Over the course of three years, the project here in Ghana will seek to create over 4,000 community savings and loans groups in the 10 districts.
“In so doing, we are hoping to increase financial literacy, improve the quality of life and enhance household income.
“Our aim is to create a sustainable solution to the issue of financial exclusion.”
Samuel Paulos, Country Director of Plan Ghana added: “Community-based financial services that are tailored to the needs of poor and vulnerable households are already having a measurable impact in reducing poverty and improving general well-being and empowerment, particularly when offered to women.”
Juvenal Afurika, Deputy Country Director of CARE Ghana, concluded: “I am delighted to be here for the launch of the Ghana project.
“Despite progress in reducing poverty in the developing world over recent decades, too many families still lack necessities such as food, water and healthcare.”
A Citizens Assessment Report published in 2005 by the Ghanaian government revealed that 78 per cent of rural households had no bank accounts or any form of relationship with formal or informal financial institutions.
As part of the project, the implementing charities – Plan UK and CARE International UK – will also create links between the savings and loans groups and local Barclays branches, enabling participants to access a wider range of financial products and services. This is aimed at helping them obtain further sources of credit which can be invested in necessities and income-generating activities.
The Banking on Change initiative is part of Banking on Brighter Futures, Barclays flagship community investment programme which focuses on improving entrepreneurial and work skills and enhancing financial inclusion in marginalised communities worldwide. It is being implemented in 11 countries across the world, including Kenya, Peru, Vietnam and Zambia.