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Microfinance accessibility, social cohesion and survival of women MSMEs in post-war communities in sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from Northern Uganda

George Okello Candiya Bongomin (FGSR, Makerere University Business School, Kampala, Uganda)
Atsede Woldie (Department of Business, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, UK)
Aziz Wakibi (Department of Marketing & Management, Makerere University Business School, Kampala, Uganda)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 30 June 2020

Issue publication date: 20 August 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

Globally, women have been recognized as key contributors toward livelihood and poverty eradication, especially in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This is due to their great involvement and participation in micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that create employment and ultimately economic growth and development. Thus, the main purpose of this study is to establish the mediating role of social cohesion in the relationship between microfinance accessibility and survival of women MSMEs in post-war communities in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in Northern Uganda where physical collateral were destroyed by war.

Design/methodology/approach

The data for this study were collected using a pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire from 395 women MSMEs who are clients of microfinance institutions in post-war communities in Northern Uganda, which suffered from the 20 years' Lord Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency. The Analysis of Moment Structures (AMOS) software was used to analyze the data and the measurement and structural equation models were constructed to test for the mediating role of social cohesion in the relationship between microfinance accessibility and survival of women MSMEs in post-war communities.

Findings

The results revealed that social cohesion significantly and positively mediate the relationship between microfinance accessibility and survival of women MSMEs in post-war communities in Northern Uganda. The results suggest that the presence of social cohesion as a social collateral promotes microfinance accessibility by 14.6% to boost survival of women MSMEs in post-war communities where physical collateral were destroyed by war amidst lack of property rights among women. Similarly, the results indicated that social cohesion has a significant influence on survival of women MSMEs in post-war communities in Northern Uganda. Moreover, when combined together, the effect of microfinance accessibility and social cohesion exhibit greater contribution towards survival of women MSMEs in post-war communities in Northern Uganda. Indeed, social cohesion provides the social safety net (social protection) through which women can access business loans from microfinance institutions for survival and growth of their businesses.

Research limitations/implications

This study concentrated mainly on women MSMEs located in post-war communities in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa with a specific focus on Northern Uganda. Women MSMEs located in other regions in Uganda were not sampled in this study. Besides, the study focused only on the microfinance industry as a major source of business finance. It ignored the other financial institutions like commercial banks that equally provide access to financial services to micro-entrepreneurs.

Practical implications

The governments in developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where there have been wars should waive-off the registration and licensing fees for grass-root associations because such social associations may act as social protection tools through which women can borrow from financial institutions like the microfinance institutions. The social groups can provide social collateral to women to replace physical collateral required by microfinance institutions in lending. Similarly, the governments, development agencies, and advocates of post-war reconstruction programs in developing countries where there have been wars, especially in sub-Saharan Africa should initiate the provision of group business loans through the existing social women associations. This may offer social protection in terms of social collateral in the absence of physical collateral required by the microfinance institutions in lending. This may be achieved through partnership with the existing microfinance institutions operating in rural areas in post-war communities in developing countries. Additionally, advocates of post-war recovery programs should work with the existing microfinance institutions to design financial products that suit the economic conditions and situations of the women MSMEs in post-war communities. The financial products should meet the business needs of the women MSMEs taking into consideration their ability to fulfil the terms and conditions of use.

Originality/value

This study revisits the role of microfinance accessibility in stimulating survival of women MSMEs as an engine for economic growth in the presence of social cohesion, especially in post-war communities in sub-Saharan Africa where physical collateral were destroyed by war. It reveals the significant role of social cohesion as a social protection tool and safety net, which contributes to economic outcomes in the absence of physical collateral and property rights among women MSMEs borrowers, especially in post-war communities.

Keywords

Citation

Bongomin, G.O.C., Woldie, A. and Wakibi, A. (2020), "Microfinance accessibility, social cohesion and survival of women MSMEs in post-war communities in sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from Northern Uganda", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 749-774. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSBED-12-2018-0383

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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