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Sunday, June 16, 2024

‘Provide More Support, Education To Women Cooperatives’

Dr. Gad Asorwoe Akwensivie


A land governance expert and legal practitioner, Dr. Gad Asorwoe Akwensivie, has underscored the need for more support and education on the benefits of women entrepreneurs forming or joining cooperatives.

He is, therefore, making a strong case for both public and private support for women cooperatives in rural areas of the country.

Dr. Akwensivie was speaking on ‘Women, land ownership and access to credit – salient observations from rural Ghana’ at the technical session of the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) Working Week 2024 at the La Palm Beach Hotel, in Accra, last week.

He explained the dichotomy between gender, land ownership and access to credit and demonstrated how the requirements for accessing loans by most commercial banks and some rural banks in the country was contributing to improving or worsening the plight and livelihood of women.

Based on the findings and analysis of 15 women cooperatives between 2017 and 2022 in farming communities in the Northern, North East, Western, Ashanti and the Ahafo Regions which he classified as the bread basket of Ghana, Dr. Akwensivie found that women continue to face unusual challenges in their quest to access land not only for agriculture, but for development and from formal sources of credit to either start or expand their businesses.

He said the problem is partly due to the fact that land tends to be held largely by men or kingship groups controlled by men so that women can only access land through a male relation usually the father, their sons or through marriage.

He indicated that this limited access to land may be curtailed with the breakdown of the marriage relationship.

This trend of events, he said, has a direct effect on their ability to access credit because most banks and financial institutions tend to provide loans and credit to applicants who are able to provide some form of ownership to property, mainly land.

Dr. Akwensivie noted that, an efficient system for accessing credit has a big role to play in the betterment of lives of rural people since majority of the those who till the land or use the land are women.

Overall, the findings and results show that women in rural Ghana continue to face discriminatory practices in their effort to secure bank loans and facilities for their farming activities and trading businesses.

As a result of this, he indicated that the formation of cooperatives represent the best and surest way for women to access loans as it provides the banks and financial institutions some form of security.

He, therefore, made a strong case for education of women to understand the benefits of forming or joining cooperatives.

Dr. Akwensivie urged the GCB Bank which he described as the most decentralized local bank, the Opportunity International Savings and Loans and the Women’s World Banking to further decentralize their services to get closer to remote communities.

BY Gibril Abdul Razak

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