2017 Call for Papers

The financial sector of an economy plays a critical role in facilitating economic growth and development. An unregulated financial system may have effects on the economy such as exploitation of consumers and accumulations of non-performing loans, which have the potential of retarding growth, exacerbating poverty and affecting the credibility of the financial system. An unregulated financial system also has the potential of excluding households, SMEs and consumers from the formal and informal financial systems.
Regulating the banking and non-banking financial institutions is a pre-requisite for an efficient financial system. In the past decades the microfinance sector in most parts of Africa was not subjected to regulation due to its complex nature. Over the last two decades a number of African countries have subjected their microfinance sectors to different forms of regulation as part of the process to improve efficiency.
In Ghana, regulation of microfinance industries began in January, 2012. Since then the system has witnessed the collapse of some microfinance institutions and a number of them have had their licenses withdrawn. Four years on, it will be instructive to examine the intentions and the state of the art of regulation. Some of the issues are whether the current regulatory framework is achieving the desired objectives; the role of various apex bodies in assisting the BoG in making the current regulation more effective; and whether there is the need to re-examine the regulations making them tighter or loosening some of the rules.
Objectives of Conference
The general objective of the 2017 Conference is to deliberate on various dimensions of regulation in the microfinance industry. The specific objectives are to:
1. Examine the theoretical and empirical dimensions of regulating banking and non-banking financial institutions.
2. Explore the possible ways of making regulation work better for the survival of microfinance institutions.
3. Share cross-country evidence on how microfinance regulation has contributed to the development of microfinance sector.
4. Discuss the role and contribution of Apex bodies and specialized institutions in regulating microfinance
5. Provide the avenue for Bank of Ghana (BoG), Apex bodies, practitioners, clients and other stakeholders to share their experiencesSub-Themes

Sub-theme 1: Theoretical Issues of Regulation
This section seeks to explore the theoretical underpinnings of regulation in general for a better understanding and to appreciate the need for regulating institutions. Issues to be discussed include conceptualizing regulation, analysing the various theoretical reasons for regulation, regulation and public policy, regulation and consumer protection and examining the link between regulation and efficiency.

Sub-theme 2: Regulation and Efficient Financial system
The link between regulation and efficiency cannot be contested. Regulation brings institutions to a level playing grounds and ensures that all institutions comply with standard rules to improve ways of doing business. This section seeks to discuss theoretical and empirical issues that link regulation of banking and non-banking financial institutions to financial system efficiency.

Sub-theme 3: Regulating MFIs in Ghana for Survival: What is wrong?
The aim of regulating MFIs is to enable them operate on sustainable manner by adopting sound business practices. Unfortunately, the case in Ghana shows that MFIs have not been living up to expectation. What might be going wrong? Is it cause of MFIs themselves or regulatory authorities? Do we need different and special form of regulatory instruments for MFIs in Ghana?  What are the gaps in the regulatory system, if any? What are the lessons that can be learnt?

Sub-theme 4: The role of Apex Bodies and specialized institutions in Regulating MFIs
In some part of Africa regulating microfinance has not been the sole responsibility of Central Banks. Regulation of MFIs is done in tiers with Apex at the bottom. However, the current regulatory guidelines did not consider microfinance Apex bodies. Again due to the specialized and complex nature of MFI activities, some specialized institutions are involved in their regulation. For example in South Africa, Microfinance Regulatory Council (MFRC) is in charge of regulating MFIs. The Ministry of Social Solidarity is the regulator of MFIs that are non-governmental in Egypt. This section will seek to address the role MFI Apex bodies and other specialized institutions in regulating microfinance.

Sub-theme 5: Regulation and Inclusive Finance
Financial inclusion has become very critical in ensuring that the unbanked and those who do not have access to formal banking services are catered for. It is hypothesized that effective regulation of the microfinance sector will contribute to addressing the problems of financial inclusion and thereby reduce poverty. Papers for this section will address question such as: How can effective microfinance regulation ensure financial inclusion? What are the pathways through which regulating microfinance will lead to financial inclusion? How does the microfinance regulation guideline address the social dimensions objectives of microfinance?

Expected output
The Conference will identify areas which will need further consideration in the regulatory system and the relevant bodies which will need to take action(s) to ensure that the intentions are achieved. A report and declaration will be disseminated to the Regulator (Bank of Ghana), practitioners, sponsors, Apex Institutions and policy makers. A communiqué from the Eighth Annual Conference will be issued through press conference which will be organized by the Faculty of Social Sciences. In collaboration with the Bank of Ghana the Microfinance Unit will organize capacity building programme on microfinance regulation for interested institutions.

SUBMISSION OF ABSTRACTS                             30th August, 2016
NOTIFICATION OF ACCEPTANCE                         15th September, 2016
REGISTRATION OPENS                                        1st October, 2016
SUBMISSION OF FULL PAPERS                         31st December, 2016

1. Registration fee for the conference is GHC 250.00. This does not include accommodation. And participants will be required to make their own arrangements for accommodation.
2. To register for the programme, please download the registration form, fill it and send it as an attachment to the Co-ordinator. You can also fill the form in the advertisement and send it as an attachment or by post to the Co-ordinator at the address below.
3. Graduate students will be required to pay 50% (GHC 125) of the registration fee. Evidence of studentship will be required.
4. Payment of registration fees should be made into the account below:

Account Name: Microfinance Conference
Account Number: 100-10004343 -01                                                        
Bank: National Investment Bank
Branch: Cape Coast

Abstracts should be sent to the Co-ordinator at the following email address:  Website: (Click on announcements to the conference site). Further details about the conference can be obtained from the following: 0244718204/ 0322137720/0322135561