Sierra Leone - Rural Finance and Community Improvement Programme (RFCIP) - June 2022
Daniel Alaska Bangura - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) established the Rural Finance and Community Improvement Programme (RFCIP) in 2008 to help ensure that rural communities have access to the financial services they need. The programme now boasts of 76 Rural Financial Institutions (RFIs) located in rural towns and villages across the country.
Daniel is 34 years old. A graduate in accounting and with a master’s degree in finance, Daniel went to the capital, Freetown, to look for a job. However, it wasn’t easy to find a well-paying job there so he decided to return to his hometown, where he started working as a volunteer teacher. But he had bigger plans and started to pursue his idea for setting a business of his own. To get start-up capital, Daniel sold his own personal computer and other personal items and asked family for financial support. With the money he was able to collect – SLE 10,000 (US$700) – he went into business in 2015 selling mobile phones and cosmetic products from a table on the street. After one year, Daniel was able to rent a small shop and was ready to expand his business.
With a loan of SLE 10,000 from the Yoni Community Bank, Daniel was able to add 100 mobile phones to his shop’s inventory and began to attract more customers. By the end of his first loan cycle, he had increased his capital enough to be eligible for more – and bigger – bank loans. The bank continues to support him with incrementally increasing loan amounts and Daniel’s business is booming.
“I bought the shop where I sell phones and cosmetics and I have also built three houses with 14 rooms near the university that I rent out to students. I am my own boss and plan to shift my business model from retail to wholesale.”
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