BRAC Liberia Microfinance Company Limited (BLMCL) on Wednesday, September 14, opened its 35th branch in the Boleyville Community, Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.
The expansion of the institution’s microfinance activities is aimed at providing financial services and reducing poverty for people, predominantly women, in several countries globally, including Liberia.
BRAC Liberia Chief Executive Officer, Khaled Morshed, disclosed that his institution started as far back as 1972 in Bangladesh as a relief and development organization, briefly after the war between Bangladesh and Pakistan.
According to Morshed, BRAC has expanded to over 11 countries globally, while microfinance activities are currently in six countries, including Liberia.
In Liberia, BRAC’s microfinance activities are currently taking place in nine counties, including Grand Gedeh County.
Morshed further noted that the essence of Wednesday's program was to officially open the 35th branch in Zwedru.
He said, "Over the years, it has grown to be the largest microfinance institution in the country with 51,000 borrowers, 97% of whom are women."
According to him, the company played an important role in keeping up the economic activity in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak and the COVID lockdown situation.
Morshed said BRAC Liberia microfinance company has disbursed over US$24.55 million as of August 2022 and over US$140 million in loans since its inception in the country.
BLMCL’s mission, he added, is to provide a range of financial services to people at the bottom of the pyramid, especially women living in poverty in rural and hard-to-reach areas, to create self-employment opportunities, build economic resilience, and promote women’s entrepreneurial spirit by empowering them economically.
He called on all initial clients to take advantage of the loans given, something that eventually led to the expansion of the project across the country.
Hans A. D. Anderson, speaking on behalf of the Central Bank of Liberia, praised BRAC for its initiatives to support women in the country, which he said are in line with the government's Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
He pledged the Central Bank's total support and collaboration to the work of BRAC Liberia in ensuring the successful implementation of microfinance activities in the country.
Hans further called on all clients to meaningfully and purposefully use the money received for the businesses intended.
“To get a loan is good; to pay it back is better,” Hans said.
According to him, it is by paying back the loan that will enhance continuity and expansion across the country.
Grand Gedeh County Inspector Paul T. Neeor, Sr. praised BRAC Liberia Microfinance Company Ltd. for extending to this part of Liberia. He cautioned the clients to ensure that the intended purpose of the loan is achieved.
According to Neeor, the proper use of money will further reduce or alleviate difficulties and poverty in their lives. He further called on the management of BRAC Liberia Microfinance Company Ltd. to consider expansion in other districts and communities outside Zwedru.
“Zwedru is not only Grand Gedeh County,” Neeor added. He further pledged the support of the county’s local authorities to the work of BRAC.
Speaking on behalf of the clients, Julie K. Boduo commended BRAC Liberia Microfinance Company Ltd for coming to their aid.
As a microfinance program participant, Boduo, called on her colleagues to make maximum use of the money received and ensure repayment accordingly.
At the end of the occasion, about 15 women from several communities in Zwedru received between L$15,000 and L$ 25,000 in loans.
Besides its microfinance activities under BLMCL, BRAC under the NGO BRAC Liberia has carried out social development programs since 2008 in agriculture and food security, health, education, empowerment and livelihood for adolescents, and ultra-poor graduation programs.
BRAC has also been working actively to support the government’s COVID-19 response since 2019.