Sierra Leone | On the Road Again

Two and half months ago, Kweku Fraser was a newly-minted Somali man. He'd just arrived in Jigjiga, a city in eastern Ethiopia and the capital of the Somali region of the country.

"When I moved to Kenya in 1990, I got a job as project manager of a United Nations Development Program (UNDP)/International Labor Organization (ILO) project to sensitize Kenyan bankers towards providing financial services to micro and small enterprises."

Since then, Fraser has spent 20 years in a number of other African countries working as a financial inclusion-microfinance consultant. "My profession is banking and finance," he explains.

"Basically, it is to advice governments, development partners, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), banks and various stakeholders involved in financial services provision to poor people, on how best to do so. The objective is for poverty alleviation/wealth creation. I design and implement projects, deliver training, provide technical assistance etc.

"Working in post-conflict areas can be worrying, but best is seeing my work make a difference to poor segments of the society. Least is seeing how very poor some people/communities are.

"It is a field which requires largely reading and practice as well as participating in as many short courses as possible. Obtaining field experience is the best way. The good thing is that there are several opportunities in this field because there are now so many different ways to provide finance apart from the traditional savings and credit instruments. These include through mobile telephones, micro-insurance, housing finance for the poor etc.

Fraser wrapped up his mission in Jigjiga this week. "I go to Tanzania in September for three months to close out a project for which I am team leader."

What's next?

"Professionally, it is to continue learning more about how to help poorer segments of society overcome poverty and being involved in that. Also, to do more in my own country, Sierra Leone, as most of my work to date has been largely in other African countries."


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