Monday, October 4, 2010

A Trip to Accra, Ghana...

From Spetember 27th to October 1st, I made a tripl to Accra, Ghana. I attended a conference for OI Africa CFOs. UOB's CFO was on a maternity leave so I ended up attending it on her behalf. I could have sent someone else, but the conference dealt with many imporant issues and I opted to attend it myself.

As Opportunity International has expanded over the past few decades in various ways, its core banking and accounting applications have not been optimally standardized, thus resulting in certain operating inefficiency.
The OI Network global CFO has initiated a standarization project on these applications. This 2-year project is expected to streamline the operating processes and enhance the efficiency significantly. Various issues were discussed and the 5-day conference was very informative.
On the last day, I had an opportunity to visit the OI's Ghana implementing partner, called OI Savings and Loans. OISL operates through 18 branches with almost 600 staff who are reaching out to villages through a system unique to Ghana, called "Susu." Under Susu, OISL staff visit its clients in the villages to collect savings and to deliver cash.
Ghana is the gateway to West Africa. It is one of only three West African countries that are using English. It is a peaceful country with political stability and its people are very friendly.
Experiencing different cultures and microfinance practices is always refreshing and informative. In a group, we also visited the central market, called "Makalo Market" where you can literally find anything and everthing that you need. It was very lively and dynamic. - Jeffrey

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