Household Economic Well-being: Response to Micro-Credit Access in Cameroon
Francis Menjo Baye
African Development Review, 2013, vol. 25, issue 4, 447–467
This paper evaluates the determinants of borrowing, effects of borrowing on economic well-being, and potential disparity in responses by sources of well-being, location and gender, while controlling for other correlates. The 2001 Cameroon household consumption survey and a range of survey-based econometric methods that purge parameter estimates of potential intra-cluster correlation, endogeneity and sample selection biases were used. Access to credit/borrowing is strongly associated with household economic well-being irrespective of source of well-being. Rural well-being is significally more contingent on credit access than urban well-being. Male-headed households rely more significantly on credit access to enhance well-being than their female counterparts. Higher levels of education associate more significantly with well-being enhancement than lower levels, more so for female-headed households than their male counterparts. To sustain the impact of credit on well-being, accompanying measures — availability of sufficient funds, quality services by lenders, physical infrastructures, healthcare and training — are required. These findings are useful in the context of economic recovery and poverty reduction under the current situation in Cameroon, where financial intermediation is limited and penetration is shallow. To better serve the needs of the economically active poor, a microfinance delivery model is proposed.
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