Socio-economic Determinants of the Performance of Informal Women Co-operatives in Enugu state, Nigeria

Socio-Economic Determinants of the Performance of Informal Women’s Cooperative Microfinance Societies in Enugu State, Nigeria P. I. OPATA AND N.J. NWEZE Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, E-mail The problem of lack of access to credit to rural women is symptomatic of deep rooted structural inequalities, which not only curtail access to microfinance services but also the capacity to participate in other aspects of social life. Given such limitations, rural women organize their own forms of microfinance institutions (MFIs) which are peculiar to their own needs. The study was guided by the key null hypothesis that informal women’s groups have not significantly increased the volumes of savings and that informal women’s cooperatives have not significantly increased the volume of credit available to their clients. Six women groups were purposively selected from each LGA, making a total of 36 groups. A total of 216 clients were selected randomly from the groups. Data were collected from both primary and secondary sources. The results portrayed the respondents in the light of economic operators who depended on agriculture and allied activities for their sustenance. Their operations were characterized by poor resource situations resulting from lack of access to credit which obviously necessitated their involvement in informal women co-operatives. Their organizational structure, operational procedure and leadership allowed for optimization of efficient management and use of funds. However, informal women’s cooperatives are still highly dependent on the NGOs for their operations. Quantitative analysis showed that: credit repaid was statistically significant and positively related to the amount of credit disbursed and repayment was related to total savings generated. So, the first, second, third and fourth null hypotheses were rejected.

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25 double spaced
Paper to be presented for International Conference of Women in Africa and African Diaspora (WAAD) at Yaradua Conference Centre Abuja, August 3-11, 2009

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