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The Practice of Project Management in New Product Development

Microfinance is the provision of credit/loans to poor individuals for the purpose of income generation. The Sub-Saharan African region which is among the poorest areas in the world is thought to be one of the regions where the microfinance industry is dynamic and growing in terms of acceptance and patronage.

Even though microfinance in the Sub-Saharan Africa region has received a lot of research attention, most have focused largely on the financial performance whilst there is no available information on project management practices in new product development.

Since project management is considered to be an effective means of managing new product development, the purpose of this work was to investigate the practice of project management in new product development in microfinance institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa and to assess which project management methods, and tools and techniques are used.

A case study was adopted and a semi-structured interview through telephone/Skype was conducted on eight senior management staff from different microfinance institutions.The respondents comprised five Non-governmental organizations, two Non-Bank financial institutions and one Commercial Bank, operating in Angola, Gambia, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia and Kenya.

The empirical findings were that six of the microfinance institutions are involved in new product development whilst two of the institutions which are Non-governmental organizations are not. The main product that is developed by these microfinance institutions is credits/loans. The reason for new products development was to meet clients’ needs even though competition and the need to be innovative was also a factor.
Source: Umeå University
Author: Ampomah, Monica

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