This training report was developed by the SMEDA team of participants for the Agricultural Value Chain Development and Market Linkages Training, through the Up-skill Development Institute in Kenya.
The contents of this report are the sole responsibility of the participants, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the trainer or SMEDA.
The informal sector comprising mostly of small and medium scale trading and artisanal activities constitute the second largest sector of the Sierra Leone economy after the agriculture sector. In urban areas, over 60% of the labour force is engaged in the informal sector activities whilst over 20% in rural areas depend on non-farm activities for livelihoods. Limited access to finance remains the main barrier to the growth and development of the informal sector. Savings and capital from families and friends are the main sources of financing for small businesses. In recent years, a few Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs) are engaged in supporting small businesses. Commercial banks hardly finance Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) largely as result of the perceived high risk. In a few cases, the terms of loans in terms of interest rates and payment periods are not conducive for the SMEs. Besides, some banks require collateral which SMEs cannot afford.