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We have managed to pursue this goal by pioneering many types of savings and microfinance loan products, with which we have supported various micro enterprise activities such as food vending, fish mongering, groceries, mitumbas (sale of second hand clothes), small scale diary cattle keeping, retail and distribution, tailoring, carpentry, masonry works, internet cafes, stationery shops, secretarial services, barber shops, hair salons, and small scale agriculture etc etc. We must emphasize that at AKIBA we believe that a loan is not a means to an end. Our customers get more than loans.
Right at the outset when they are just starting out, we offer them training in basic record keeping, entrepreneurship, business management, leadership and simple concepts of marketing. Besides this, we organize regular trade fairs where we also bring in various non-financial service providers to network with our customers. We do this because we know that business is not only about money, but our customers also need to know where to go when they require for example, an energy saving "jiko" (stove), city council license, free or affordable legal service from the NGOs' who target the poor, other training providers like SIDO, trainers on matters of hygiene, health (in particular HIV and AIDS), environmental issues, etc, etc.
Our competitive advantage lies in our ability to leverage our micro and SME clients with a variety of tailor- made products, services and expertise in banking operations, markets and consumer banking. We have led the way in developing the financial sector by transferring best practices and introducing innovative products such as microfinance loan products each tailor-made to suit every type of our customer. In broad terms, the features revolve around both the traditional group and individual loan methodologies. Besides these, and by virtue of being a fullfiedged commercial bank, we are also able to offer consumer lending, and corporate loans and overdrafts.
Our Strategy for further growth will build upon three key elements: (1) We will continue to introduce tailor- made products into the local market (2) We will deepen our involvement in the largest sectors of the economy, including Agriculture, Mining, Manufacturing, Trading and the SME sector. (3) We will seek to expand our distribution network to gain greater access to customers across Tanzania.
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