Koshi Yomuti – Banking under the Tree. Client Stories about the social and economic impact of microfinance in the rural areas of Northern Namibia

Polzin, C. (2006)

Summary
This book presents the stories of 11 micro-entrepreneurs in Northern Namibia, the majority of them being women. Their stories witness the everyday struggle of poor people having an enormous sense of responsibility and courage, coping with a wide range of forms of vulnerability in a not always conducive environment.

These examples – ranging from a lady hairdresser working in her village to the initiator of a car-repair shop that started under a tree, but is now a formalized business and rapidly expanding -, clearly break with the common conviction that poor people are passive, waiting for assistance and unable to change their situation. They want to be considered as serious entrepreneurs, understanding market opportunities, combining resources and developing medium-term strategies. Their strategies are at least as sophisticated as those of SMEs in fi rst world countries, even if their economic level is lower and their exposure to risks higher.

These cases are representative of a large number of people in Namibia. They show, in an impressive way that poverty does not mean inability but lack of choice. The poorer people are, the less they have access to opportunities for income generation. Studies fi nanced by GTZ show that the lack of access to fi nancial services is a key constraint for self-reliance of low income groups in Northern Namibia.

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