Building Financial Inclusion & Employment Opportunities: Yonna Microfinance opens two more branches in Farafenni and Wassu

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One of the newly built Yonna offices in Farafenni, North Bank Region

By Fatou Dahaba

Yonna Islamic Microfinance opened two new branches in Farafenni North Bank Region and Wassu in the Central River Region on Tuesday and Wednesday, January 24th, 2024, as it extends a significant quest to expand financial services and improve businesses through Islamic Microfinance.

These two new branches mark the 12th bureau roll-out undertaken by Yonna Microfinance, which is moving to establish a nationwide footprint and ease community access to its services.

The senior management and staff of the Yonna group, representatives of the local councils of the two regions, and residents of the communities attended both events. They commended Yonna for exceptionally contributing to the Gambia’s socio-economic development. It has over 400 staff across the country.

Microfinance is essential for developing countries like The Gambia as it provides much-needed financial services (savings and credit) to people experiencing poverty, allowing them to increase their income, become self-employed, and improve their economic situation.

Yonna microfinance enables consumers to obtain loans when needed and increase credit availability. Banks rarely give customers small loans, but Microfinance offers microloans that fill critical gaps. By raising the amount of funds accessible to people experiencing poverty, the scheme enables capital growth.

Yankuba Mamburay, Managing Director of Yonna Islamic Microfinance, said that opening two branches is part of their strategy to bring financial services to the doorstep of every Gambian, in line with the Central Bank of the Gambia’s desire for financial inclusion.

Yankuba Mamburay, Managing Director of Yonna Islamic Microfinance

“We envision that these new offices will help Yonna to connect with the community and attend to their needs for food items through Yonna Enterprise, send and receive money and get foreign exchange through Yonna Forex Burea, deposit, save, withdraw and access loans (financing facilities) through Yonna Islamic Microfinance, and insure properties to mitigate risks through Yonna Islamic insurance. As a group, we provide you with a wholesome package essential for economic development for the region and the country.”

DG Mamburay advised their customers to continue supporting the Yonna group, which significantly supports employment creation.
“Saving money with us also enables the creation of much-needed employment. The Yonna Group has about 400 employees working for us nationwide.”

He said Yonna Islamic Microfinance provides loans for various purposes at reasonable charges, in line with Islamic principles promoting reasonable and flexible repayment options.

Momodou Barrow, Managing Director of Yonna Forex Exchange Bureau, said they deem it necessary to expand their business because of the support from communities that l to open the new microfinance branches in Farafenni and Wassu so that they can solve various financial needs.

Momodou Barrow, Managing Director of Yonna Forex Exchange Bureau

He reaffirms the Yonna group’s commitment to assisting businesses and individuals.
“Because you appreciate our work for the ten years through Yonna Forex Bureau, today we have a new microfinance office for the people of Farafenni and Wassu to help you save money and give you loans to improve your businesses.”

Mohamadou Manjang, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said that the opening of the new branches signifies a beacon of hope, a gateway of opportunities for the communities they serve while adding the role Yonna played in enhancing the Gambia’s entrepreneurship industry.

Mohamadou Manjang, Chairman of the Board of Directors

“Yonna Microfinance deals with Islamic microfinance. We are not in the business to profit for ourselves; we’re in the business to fight poverty. Your growth is our growth; if you don’t grow, we don’t, and our growth collectively is the country’s growth. We, as testimony, are present in over 140 locations in the country and employ over 400 Gambians.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Kuntaur Area Council, Momodou Sambou, said Wassu Yonna microfinance cannot come at a better time than this when the people of CRR North are facing challenges as far as access to loans is concerned, noting the financial system within the commercial banks does not favor and that gives a barrier to the people of CRR North.

“Loans are related to agricultural development, and access to loans is a problem in this region. We thank the management and board of Yonna for coming to our aid. This microfinance will go a long way in breaching my people’s poverty gap.”

Malick Samba, Councilor of Farafenni Ward, expresses sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Yonna group for choosing to open a branch in his area and reflects on its positive impact on the local community. He encourages residents to open an account and start using the services provided.

Malick Samba, Councilor of Farafenni Ward

Lamin Camara, Head of Sharia and Compliance at Yonna Microfinance, highlights the wide range of savings accounts, such as child savings, Umrah accounts, and diaspora others.

Lamin Camara, Head of Sharia and Compliance at Yonna Microfinance

He told the gathering that Sharia banking differs from other banking systems.

After the inauguration of both branches, the staff will be actively involved in reaching out to the populace to open accounts for the safekeeping of their money and discussing many business opportunities to address the specific challenges and constraints they may face.

Village Elders at the event

These inaugurations signify YIM’s commitment to financial accessibility. They strive to break barriers and make financial services reachable to all. They believe in the transformative power of Islamic Microfinance in alleviating poverty, fostering economic empowerment, and building a resilient community.

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