First closing of the Facility for Water and Renewable Energy in Africa by Pamiga Finance S.A., PAMIGA's investment vehicle
The European Investment Bank, the U.S. government agency OPIC, and U.S. Calvert and Rockefeller foundations executed their first disbursement to Pamiga Finance S.A. Facility dedicated to water and renewable energy access in sub-Saharan Africa. They join the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency (SDC) and PAMIGA, who are the sponsors of this Facility providing member microfinance institutions with adapted financial and technical resources to fund the growth of their loan portfolio for access to water and renewable energy.
With this 13 million euros 7-year Facility, Pamiga Finance S.A. plans to underwrite investments worth 54 million euros of funding that will have a social, economic and environmental impact on the lives of 985,000 people living in the rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa.
The main solutions funded are irrigation, drinking water, solar energy for households, micro-businesses and villages. They contribute to the improvement of health, security and prosperity of the poor, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals for 2015-2030.
This first closing represent one third of the Facility, which has already set up three financings for Senegal and Benin.
ON THE FIELD
Digital finance as a tool for the sustainability of financial institutions and financial inclusion of rural populations in sub-Saharan Africa
Since June 2015, PAMIGA has started a digital finance project for its member MFIs, in cooperation with the consulting firm PHB Développement. The objective is to support financial institutions to develop viable innovative financial services and channels such as mobile banking, agent networks, POS terminals, etc. So far, market research and feasibility studies were conducted for 6 MFIs in Kenya, Senegal, Madagascar and Benin, in order to identify the digital finance options that are most adapted to the needs of each institution and its clients. Technical partners were selected and implementation of the identified solutions is currently ongoing for WPS in Kenya, Caurie and UIMCEC in Senegal. UIMCEC has chosen to implement agency banking and the use of tablets with the objective to increase savings mobilization. Caurie is well advanced in the pilot phase of its project of using tablets that will allow loan officers to capture quality client data during group meetings. And WPS is now in the process of selecting a new MIS system that has digital finance and agency banking modules. Other projects will be implemented in the next months for ACFB and RENACA in Benin, and CECAM in Madagascar.
Study for the creation of MIFED Energy Access, a Social Business with a strong environmental, social and economic impact
In Cameroon, nearly 9 million people (46% of the total population) have no acces to electricity. In rural areas, the percentage can go up to 83% of the population. These people mainly use fossil sources for lighting, which are expensive and harmful to health. The lack of access to electricity is one of the major obstacles to the improvement of living conditions and local economic development, particularly in rural areas.
MIFED Cameroon, Schneider Electric and PAMIGA decided to launch a study for the development of a partnership dedicated to promoting access to renewable energy for rural populations in Cameroon : the company MIFED Energy Access. The company would provide its products and services to rural households through lanterns and Solar Home Systems, to SMEs through mini-grids, and to rural villages and towns with a strong economic potential through mini-grids and solar power stations. The goal for MIFED Energy Access would be to become the main distributor, dedicated to this promising rural market, for key renewable energy suppliers in Cameroon. The objective is to achieve a triple-bottom-line impact, i.e. social (improvement of living conditions of rural populations), economic (job creation) and environmental (alternative for the use of fossil energy sources). The business plan of the future company is under development and the activities should be launched early 2017.
PAMIGA and Cerise train microfinance practitioners on the social performance assessment tool, SPI4
Several trainings were conducted jointly between PAMIGA and Cerise teams to train microfinance practitioners on how to use the SPI4 tool to assess social performance of financial institutions. More specifically, at the Social Performance Task Force Annual Meeting in June 2016, in Marrakesh (Morocco), more than 30 participants from 18 countries, coming from rating agencies, professional associations, financial institutions, were able to attend a 2-day workshop whose objective was to train future SPI4 certified auditors. In July 2016, PAMIGA and Cerise also trained in Lima (Peru), the management teams from a dozen of financial institutions (including Mi Banco, Adra, etc.), members of one of the most important Peruvian microfinance networks, COPEME, on how to use the SPI4 tool to improve their social performance management. COPEME also wants to use the SPI4 evaluations that will be conducted after the July training to establish a national report on the state of social performance in Peru. More information on SPI4 tool...
Release of the 2016 issue of the Microfinance Barometer
Since 2010, the Microfinance Barometer presents annually the main trends in the microfinance sector and gives more visibility to high social impact initiatives. For the 2016 issue, you will find on page 8 an article from Marion Allet, senior program officer on Environment & Microfinance in PAMIGA, on access to clean energy for rural populations in sub-Saharan Africa. The Barometer is the key publication of Convergences, currently holding its World Forum in Paris where Renée Chao Beroff, PAMIGA's General Manager, was invited to moderate a session on "fighting energy insecurity : investing in social entrepreneurs". This session was attended by a representative from ENGIE and the Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, in charge of Economy and Employment. The participants to the session were able to analyze the experiences of 2 social businesses, LivingStones in Belgium and Le Chênelet in France. Download the 2016 Microfinance Barometer...
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Impact Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa : PAMIGA Finance 2015 review
In 2015, Pamiga Finance S.A. (PFSA) structured two Impact Investment initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa, for a total 18 million euros : the I nitiative for Digital Finance, Rural Finance and Financial Inclusion, and the Initiative for Access to Water and Renewable Energy through Microfinance.
The main investors of PSFA are PAMIGA, the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency (SDC), US Government Agency OPIC, and US Calvert Foundation. In December 2015, a fifth top-notch institution has joined PFSA club of investors : the Rockefeller Foundation.
To date, these two initiatives have already signed eight financings to support the development of five member MFIs operating in Sub-Saharan Africa.
IN THE FIELD
Launching of solar loans in East Africa
The first Solar Loans have been disbursed in Kenya, in Kisii region, since July 2015. Thanks to the technical assistance of PAMIGA, the rural financial institution Wa kenya Pamoja Sacco (WPS) has been able to set up partnerships with quality solar solution providers and to develop adapted financial products (credit and savings). Following PAMIGA's partner MFIs in Cameroon and Ethiopia, who have already enabled over 3,100 rural households to invest in solar solutions, WPS has disbursed in less than six months over 445 Solar Loans dedicated to the purchase of solar solutions for lighting and mobile phone charging. In 2015, PAMIGA has also started a new partnership in Tanzania, with the rural financial institution Mwanga Community Bank (MCB). PAMIGA now assists the MFI in assessing the energy and financial needs of its clients and identifying adequate solar solutions and partners. The first Solar Loans are planned to be disbursed around mid-2016.
Financing of irrigation equipment for smallholder farmers of Pays Dogon, Mali
Thanks to the technical support of PAMIGA and a loan facility from PAMIGA Finance S.A. (PFSA), the CVECA Network of Pays Dogon launched, last year, a new financial product designed to facilitate access to irrigation equipment for smallholder farmers in Bankass and Bandiagara, Pays Dogon. Following a feasibility study and market research carried out during the first quarter of 2015, a kick-off workshop was organized in July to officially start the pilot-phase, while the first loans were disbursed later in September 2015. PAMIGA provided support in the screening and selection of two irrigation technology providers, and trained the management of the MFI on the characteristics and procedures of the new financial product. At the end of January 2016, more than 50 smallholder farmers have already received a loan to invest in a water pump unit and to finance their farm inputs.
In Madagascar : social performance, client-centricity and savings development
End of 2015, PAMIGA launched the first activities of a project, funded by the Municipality of Vaduz (Liechtenstein), whose objective is to empower women and smallholder farmers through the development of savings using a client-centric approach. Various missions were organized with the first beneficiary institution of the project, Vola Mahasoa in Madagascar. Those missions enabled to train the MFI's staff on product promotion, sales and commercial performance management, and financial education for clients. Two workshops were also held, one for the development of a marketing plan, and the other one for the identification of a mechanism for clients complaint resolution that is adapted to Vola Mahasoa target clients. Those activities were all conducted using a client-centric approach. Their implementation should allow the institution to educate its clients on how to use the new voluntary savings products for a maximum impact on the improvement of their livelihood, but also to grow the number of savers and the savings portfolio according to the growth targets set in the MFI's business plan.
CAURIE-MF in Senegal : on the way to digital finance !
PAMIGA has been providing technical assistance to the Senegalese MFI since September 2015 in the implementation of innovative delivery channels, in order to increase outreach and financial inclusion in remote areas, as well as to improve the operational efficiency of loan officers. Several missions have been organized, and enabled to conduct a market study, develop an entry strategy for digital finance, draft needs analysis and requirement specification for digital solutions, and select the provider. CAURIE-MF has chosen to contract with CAGECFI, and implementation is planned for February 2016.
PAMIGA also supports two other partner MFIs in developing digital finance : U-IMCEC in Senegal and WPS in Kenya.
Advocacy for Rural Impact Investing
In the fall of 2015, in the context of the UN agenda for the SDGs and the Paris COP 21 Climate Conference, many opportunities were given to present to large and diversified audiences the objectives and specificities of PAMIGA Finance S.A., and how its different facilities could invest in Financial Intermediaries to serve under-reached rural households and MSMEs in Africa.
Hence, Renée Chao-Beroff, General Manager of PAMIGA Finance S.A. (PFSA) and PAMIGA Association, gave a brief presentation on its triple bottom line investment approach, at the SEED (Promoting Entrepreneuship for Sustainable Development) Symposium last September in Nairobi. In the same month, she was also a panelist in the WAME (World Access to Modern Energy) conference and World Expo 2015 in Milan, where EIB's head of Renewable Energy has cited PAMIGA's initiative as a major one to reach the BoP in Sub-Saharan Africa. She was also a panelist in two sessions at the workshop organized by the Fondazione Giordano Dell Amore last October in Milan, where she was invited to present "partnership as a tool to financial inclusion of smallholder farmers" and "exploring opportunities in value chain financing". Finally, in November 2015 in Cape Town, Renée Chao-Beroff assisted to the MasterCard Foundation Symposium for financial inclusion through a client-centric approach and has made contributions on the "high tech/high touch" vision for the future of financial inclusion.
Best practices in governance for African MFIs
René Azokly, Institutional Strengthening Manager and West and Central Africa Representative for PAMIGA, was invited, for the second time in a row, to make a presentation during the second conference of the Africa Board Fellowship that was held in Cape Town from November 11 to 18, 2015. As a member of the steering committee of this program, René Azokly shared with the Presidents of Board of Directors and CEOs of major African microfinance institutions, his experience in crisis management in periods of growth and best practices in governance of microfinance institutions. Africa Board Fellowship is an initiative of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, whose objective is to reinforce the governance of major African financial institutions through peer learning and exchange. Watch the video of the Cape Town event...
Since last summer, PAMIGA's expertise in the field of energy and microfinance has been recognized by the Boulder Institute of Microfinance, who proposed to Marion Allet, senior officer in the environment and microfinance program, to present a specific course on this subject in the Rural Finance program newly launched by Boulder. More information...
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Launching of PAMIGA's new 2015-2019 business plan
As of July 1st, 2015, PAMIGA enters its third 2015-2019 business plan, whose main strategic areas are the following:
- Use of digital finance (PDAs, POS, mobile phones) to secure operations, reduce costs and increase outreach to new, poorer and previously unreached clients in rural areas.
-Development of products and services to finance access to water, clean energy and agricultural value-chains, with as main objective to enhance productivity in agriculture production while preserving the local environment.
- Improvement of responsible practices of member MFIs through a client-centric approach, and enhancement of their internal systems in order to mitigate their risks and improve their financial, social and environmental performance.
- Access to adapted funding for partner MFIs to invest in new delivery channels, capital strengthening, diversification and growth of portfolio.
- Expansion of PAMIGA and its networks of MFIs with the objective to influence positively on financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The main financial partners of this business plan will be the following:
The actions will also be conducted with the help of various technical partners and networks such as: BenevoLab (BNP Paribas), BipBop (Schneider Electric), CEREG, Cerise, Convergences, FNCE, RIM, SPTF, e-MFP.
As of today, PAMIGA supports a network of 16 member MFIs operating in 10 Sub-Saharan African countries, impacting on more than one million beneficiaries. By 2019, PAMIGA's objective is to reach more than 3 million clients through its network of MFIs.
PAMIGA Finance SA (PFSA) signed a loan agreement with OPIC and Calvert Foundation, spreading renewable resources access in rural Africa
According to the terms of this agreement, OPIC's 4.75 million USD senior debt will join 1.5 million USD from the Calvert Foundation. This capital is part a 14 million investment facility that is projected to issue nearly 100,000 microloans over seven years in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal, Tanzania and Togo. A financial support was also provided by SDC and European Investment Bank (EIB) for the establishment of the lending facility.
The facility will enable access to reliable power and water for businesses and farms by financing off-grid solar electricity kits and micro-irrigation systems. The establishment of this single lending portfolio is projected to directly improve the lives of almost 600,000 Africans.
Read the press release...
EIB mobilizes a TA unit to support the "Water and Renewable Energy through Microfinance" program
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has decided to support PAMIGA's "Water and Renewable Energy through Microfinance" program, which aims to assist 11 MFIs in 9 African countries in developing financial services for access to solar energy, irrigation and drinking water solutions for rural households, MSMEs and communities. EIB has assigned a technical assistance unit which includes in particular 4 engineers specialized in water and energy, and a Monitoring and Evaluation expert. The TA unit will be mobilized over 3 years (2015-2018), for over 1,000 men-days. This technical assistance support is provided in the context of EIB's investment in PFSA, the investment vehicle of PAMIGA, and more particularly, in the facility dedicated to financing the portfolio of PAMIGA's member MFIs in the sectors of renewable energy, drinking water and irrigation. The TA unit will support PAMIGA and its member MFIs in conducting technical needs assessment, selecting adapted energy and water technologies, developing user guides for selected technical solutions, and designing performance tracking systems. The first market scans have just been conducted in Benin, Burkina Faso, Kenya and Senegal in order to identify market opportunities related to clean energy, irrigation and drinking water in these 4 countries.
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A dedicated team for Environement and Microfinance
Since early 2013, PAMIGA has strengthened its Environment and Microfinance Department. Initially created to support the Water and Microfinance Initiative, it was later extended to the new Energy and Microfinance Programme. This department works to support PAMIGA member MFIs on the development of innovative products in microfinance that have a positive impact on environment. To implement these activities in support of the green economy sector, the team was reinforced this summer with the recruitment of Quentin Antoine, Director of the Department, and Kerman Wilberger, Senior Programme Officer.
PAMIGA Finance SA expands
The Board of Directors of PAMIGA's financial vehicle was recently extended with the introduction of two new members, Bruno Tassard, Director and Chairman of the Investment Committee, and Robin Mc Phail, Director in charge of Risk Management and Audit.
Early August 2014, PAMIGA Finance SA (PFSA) also increased its operational team with the recruitment of Charline Jan, Investment Officer, who will work alongside Mathieu Merceret, the Investment Director.
These changes should allow PFSA to support the continued development of its activity, the long-term financing of rural MFIs, particularly for improved access to water and renewable energy for rural populations, and the financial and technical strengthening of those same MFIs.
More information about PAMIGA's new team...
Study tour in India on livelihoods
In order to provide all partners engaged in the ALP programme in Cameroon with a practical exposure to the concept and practice of livelihoods, an exchange visit was organized in Hyderabad (India) by PAMIGA, from June 2-6, 2014. The visit was facilitated BASIX Academy for Livelilhoods and Microbanking Practice (B-A-LAMP), a division of BASIX Consulting and Training Services.
Eight participants took part in this exchange visit, representing seven partners and institutions in the ALP Cameroon programme: PAMIGA, MIFED, ICS, SWAVIB, UCAC, A3C and PADMIR. The exchange visit was designed to serve as a learning platform for the different partners. The purpose of the visit consisted of reflecting on how to enhance and improve livelihoods through the 3 ALP's thematic areas, namely "Inclusive Financial Services", "Agricultural and Rural Development" and "Youth Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment".
Exchange workshop in Cameroon for the Energy & Microfinance programme
In July 2014, PAMIGA held in Yaounde, Cameroon, an exchange workshop on Energy & Microfinance. The event was attended by twenty participants, coming from partner MFIs and suppliers of solar solutions in Cameroon, Tanzania and Ethiopia, the 3 countries where the programme is currently being implemented. Various exchanges, discussions and group works helped to share the different pilot experiences, identify lessons best practices and build on lessons learned.
ON THE FIELD
SPI4 evaluations in Ethiopia and Madagascar and implementation of the Universal Standards of Social Performance Management (USSPM)
During the month of July, two member MFIs, Vola Mahasoa in Madagascar and Wasasa in Ethiopia, conducted self-assessments of their social performance, with the support of PAMIGA's expert in this area. In Madagascar, 3 consultants from FIDEV participated to the evaluation, in order to train them on the new version of SPI, which is totally aligned on the Universal Standard for Social Performance Management, developed by the Social Performance Task Force as a result of a broad consultation of key actors in microfinance. These assessments allowed to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the 2 MFIs regarding their social performance, identify areas for improvement of their processes and systems, and provide recommendations and tools to enable them to fulfil their social mission in an efficient and sustainable manner. Other PAMIGA partner MFIs should also soon conduct such assessments.
HIGHLIGHT ON THE NETWORK
ACFB celebrates its10th anniversary
Founded in 2004 through an action research project on Grameen-type community banks, ACFB joined PAMIGA Network in 2007. As a result of considerable efforts to improve its performance, the MFI finally achieved its operational autonomy, and got its license to operate as a microfinance institution in compliance with the law n°2012-14 as of March 21st, 2012 that regulates the microfinance sector in Benin. ACFB took advantage of its Annual General Meeting held in Cotonou, in June 2014, to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Hundred of delegates coming from 35 towns participated to this event, during which prizes were rewarded to the MFI's best savings groups. Indeed, those savings groups were the basis on which ACFB accelerated the achievement of its operational autonomy, which is 105% at end 2013. Since its inception, the MFI multiplied by seven its savings outstanding savings (3.7 million Euros at the end of 2013) and by four its loan portfolio (4.2 million at end 2013). As of today, ACFB has more than 72,000 customers, including 90% of women.
Following an evaluation mission conducted in Benin by PAMIGA's Representative for West Africa, René Azokly, RENACA joined PAMIGA Network beginning of July 2014. This institution's mission is to offer sustainable and quality financial and non-financial services, for the self-satisfaction of the needs of vulnerable populations, particularly in rural areas. It operates in 6 out of 12 departments of the country and has more than 95,000 customers, mostly rural and, among whom nearly half are women.
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PAMIGA selected as a finalist in the "African Forum-100 innovations for sustainable development
PAMIGA's Energy and Microfinance Program was selected as a finalist, among more than 800 applications submitted, of the call for contributions for the "2013 African Forum: 100 innovations for sustainable development". This initiative, organized by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Agence Française de Développement (AFD), aims to promote innovations brought by Africans, and contributing to sustainable development, women entrepreneurship and inclusive growth. Thus, in December 2013, PAMIGA and its partner Schneider Electric, were invited to present their program to the Elysée Summit for Peace and Security.
Watch the video of the program presentation in Cameroon...
Recruitment of a Country Manager for the ALPs program in Cameroon
ALPs (African Livelihoods Partnership) is a joint initiative between PAMIGA and its Indian partner Basix, whose objective is to enhance the livelihood of the rural poor in a select number of African countries in a sustainable, scalable and innovative manner. More particularly, the project targets smallholder farmers, women and youth. The main thematic of the program are the development of inclusive financial services in Cameroon, agricultural and rural development through the promotion of structured value chains in Mozambique, and youth entrepreneurship and self-employment in Tanzania. In Cameroon, PAMIGA is in charge of the technical implementation and coordination of the program, which started effectively in December 2013 with the recruitment of Racine LY as a Country Program Manager. Since then, technical partnerships have been established with 4 MFIs in the North, Central and South-West regions, in order to help them develop innovative financial services for the target segments of the program. At the institutional level, beyond the strategic partnership with MIFED, a microfinance organization recognized in the country, the program is also being supported by partners like PADMIR (Rural Microfinance Development Project), or the Catholic University of Central Africa (UCAC).
Energy and Microfinance - Signature of a partnership with CleanStart
For the Energy and Microfinance Program, 2013 ended on a hopeful new phase, with the signature of the CleanStart partnership, a program implemented by UNCDF and UNDP. Initiated in 2011, this program aims to help lift at least 2.5 million poor households and micro-entrepreneurs out of energy poverty by 2017. To achieve this, CleanStart will develop and promote micro-financing models for clean energy that can be replicated and scaled up by others. At the "CleanStart Connect 2013" conference organized by UNCDF in Bangkok in November 2013, PAMIGA and its partner, Schneider Electric had the opportunity to present their model, that has been tested since last year in Cameroon and Tanzania. The CleanStart partnership should allow PAMIGA to deploy the program in Ethiopia, Senegal and Burkina Faso, and share the lessons learnt and best practices with the entire industry.
ON THE FIELD
Diagnostic mission on risk management, Caurie-MF, March 2014
Following a request of Caurie-MF to PAMIGA for a diagnostic of its risk management system, Claire Ozanne, senior officer in charge of risk management and institutional strengthening for PAMIGA, carried out a field mission in March 2014 in the institution's head office in Thiès in Senegal. She conducted a training for 9 Caurie-MF managers on the theoretical aspects of risk management, and ended with a workshop to identify all the risks the MFI is facing or may face in the future, to assess and to map them. Recommendations were provided and translated in an action plan that will allow Caurie-MF to cross new milestones in its risk management system.
Workshop on financial management, APFI-Burkina, January 2014
Within the framework of the merger process of the Boucle du Mouhoun and Soum CVECA networks and their transformation into a national institution, referred to as APFI-Burkina, the latter expressed to PAMIGA a technical assistance support and training on financial management, internal control, cash management, and the related IT tools. A mission involving the Merger and Transformation Director, the Chief Information Technology Advisory Officer, and the Director of Pamiga Finance, was therefore conducted in January 2014 to address this need. It enabled to identify the tools, organization, and methods to be implemented in APFI-Burkrina for effective cash and financial management, powerful internal control and efficient reporting. Coaching was also provided on negotiations with local banks and donors for the funding of the institution and its MIS.
Pamiga Finance S.A. raises 9 million euros for the Water and Renewable Energy Initiative (W&RE)
PAMIGA's W&RE initiative aims to promote access to rural populations in Sub-Saharan Africa to drinking water, irrigation systems, as well as solar energy solutions for SMEs and households. This will be done through the implementation of a dedicated technical support - particularly by developing industrial partnerships and creating adapted microcredit products - and the provision of tailored financing to the MFIs. With the support of long-term partners, Pamiga Finance S.A. (PFSA) will have in place a dedicated financing facility of 9 million euros with a 7-year term, with the objective to provide medium-term loans to PAMIGA member MFIs in local currency, and thus, enable those MFIs invest in their water and energy microcredit portfolio. This initiative has attracted the interest of other potential investors that PFSA accompanied for a Due Diligence mission on the field. The first financing contracts should be signed with partner MFIs in the second half of 2014.
HIGHLIGHT ON THE NETWORK
UIMCEC moves to the Rural and Agricultural Finance market
UIMCEC is a microfinance institution, member of PAMIGA, operating mainly among women and micro entrepreneurs in rural and peri-urban areas in Senegal. The institution has more than 100,000 clients for a loan portfolio equal to 15 million euros. For a few years, UIMCEC has been considering extending its strategic market positioning on rural and agricultural finance. Several studies were conducted to this purpose on agricultural segments, the financing needs of farmers, and processing companies. In December 2013, the results of these studies were presented to the governance and the MFI's main financial and technical partners. UIMCEC has been cooperating with PAMIGA on its productive water program in rural areas, and finds relevant to develop a strategic partnership in the context of the design and implementation of its Center for Agricultural Finance project (CFA) in Senegal. In this respect, a mission was organized in March 2014, attended by PAMIGA's General Manager and its West and Central Africa Representative. The mission enabled to initiate the first dialogues with the management team, the Board of Directors, the key technical and financial partners, in particular OIKOCREDIT Senegal and the PALPS (program funded by ACDI, UNCDF and UNDP). Field visits were also organized to meet local farmers, clients of UIMCEC.
Social Performance Task Force, Annual Meeting, June 2-6, 2014, Dakar, Senegal
This year, the focus will include the integration of social performance management (SPM) with digital financial services, and incorporating SPM into regulation of the microfinance sector. PAMIGA, which is a recognized actor in the responsible finance sector, will participate to this meeting that will be held in the King Fahd Palace hotel in Dakar, and more particularly to the workshop on the launching of the SPI4 social assessment tool. This latest version of SPI is totally aligned on the Universal Standards for Social Performance Management (USSPM), but also integrates the key industry initiatives, such as the Client Protection Principles of the Smart Campaign, MFTransparency and Mix Market reporting standards, social responsibility towards environment, etc. In June 2014, this tool will be tested by PAMIGA's expert on social performance, Snezana JOVIC, during a field mission with one of the member MFIs, Vola Mahasoa in Madagascar.
Read the full program of the event...
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Expert meeting on mergers and transformations of microfinance institutions, October 3rd, 2013, Dakar, Senegal
Around fifty experts attended the meeting, coming from the BCEAO (Central Bank of West African States) and the regulatory authorities, professional associations, main microfinance institutions in relevant countries in West Africa, the banking sector and donors. The objective of this expert meeting, organized by PAMIGA, was to share a rich and constructive analysis, using its experience on consolidation processes in the microfinance sector in WAEMU (West African Economic and Monetary Union). More particularly, PAMIGA provided technical assistance for two grouping processes, in Mali and Burkina Faso, through a three and a half year project, created in partnership by The MasterCard Foundation, IFAD and EU/ACP Microfinance. This meeting enabled the participants to benefit from PAMIGA's different experiences and the lessons learnt on the methodology used. The best practices were also disseminated, through a toolkit that can be used in a merger or transformation process.
Signature of a credit framework agreement between Wages and PAMIGA Finance, October 2013
Wages (Women and Associations for Gain both Economic and Social) is a microfinance institution based in Togo, with more than 180,000 members and a loan portfolio of around 24 million euros. The institution, which operates mainly with women in urban areas, has recently decided to diversify its target market and expand its activities in rural areas, particularly in the financing of farming and gardening activities. PAMIGA's Water and Microfinance Initiative, whose objective is to develop a new range of products and services for financing projects related to productive water (wells, boreholes, water pumps, drip irrigation systems...), appeared to be the most appropriate response to Wages rural development project. Following a due diligence conducted early 2013, PAMIGA Finance has granted, in October, a credit line worth one and a half million euros over three years, which will enable the MFI to finance this new development area.
More information about Wages...
ON THE FIELD
"Energy and Microfinance" - disbursement of the first "Lighting Loans" in Cameroon
In Cameroon, following an awareness campaign that reached more than 400 people, the first applications for "Lighting Loans" were soon received. As of today, more than 50 loans have been validated by the four partner MFIs (A3C, CEC, ICS and UCCGN), allowing the clients to invest in solar solutions for small lighting and mobile phone charging. During the few months before the launch of the campaign, PAMIGA supported partner MFIs in developing financial products, procedure manuals, financial projections, monitoring and assessment tools, marketing and awareness tools, such as the User Guide explaining to the clients the best practices related to the use of a solar kit.
Similar technical assistance was also conducted in PRIDE RfW in Tanzania, where more than 700 persons were sensitized on solar energy. The first applications for "Lighting Loans" ("Mwangaza Loan" in Swahili) are currently being analysed in the MFI.
HIGHLIGHT ON THE NETWORK
PAMIGA CEO meeting in Saint-Louis, Senegal, October 7-11, 2013
This year, the meeting was held in Senegal, where two out of the fourteen PAMIGA member MFIs, are operating : UIMCEC and Caurie Microfinance. As every year, CEOs of Network MFIs met during a week to make a review of their partnership with PAMIGA and exchange with their peers on process and methodology capitalization. A particular emphasis was put on "Energy and Microfinance" and "Technology". This meeting was also the opportunity for PAMIGA to offer the participants a high level training on management, whose thematic this year was delegation and relations to governance.
Information technology working group meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, July 2013
The meeting took place from July 29th til August 1st, 2013, at the Silver Springs Hotel, in Nairobi (Kenya), and was facilitated by Jacinta MAIYO, PAMIGA's Chief Information Technology Advisory Officer. The workshop was specially organized for IT managers of 10 member MFIs. The objective was to exchange ideas and knowledge, and share useful toolkits on developing IT strategy and project management. The meeting included plenary presentations and field visits, in order the participants to get a real exposure to best practices in mobile technology. The field visits included Craft Silicon (a Kenyan-based technology company), New Kenya Co-operative Creameries (a dairy processing factory who has implemented a mobile platform known as AgriLife), and MobiKash (a mobile banking solutions company).
European Microfinance Week, November 12-14, 2013 in Luxembourg
The theme of this 2013 edition will be : "the future of microfinance : invest in inclusive finance". Several PAMIGA representatives will be invited in different sessions : René Azokly, in the panel "First African Microfinance Week 2013. Regulation of the African microfinance sector : 20 years on from a practitioner's perspective" : Marion Allet in the working group "Microfinance and Environnement" ; and finally Claire Ozanne in the panel "New models and experiences for linking informal savings groups to formal financial services".
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Inauguration of PAMIGA's regional office for West and Central Africa
In March 2013, the opening ceremony of the Regional Office for West and Central Africa was held in Dakar Pullman hotel, and was attended by many guests including leading representatives of the microfinance sector in Senegal. Through this regional office, PAMIGA aims to work in closer relationship with its 9 member MFIs operating in the sub-region, and thus to increase the efficiency of its technical support.
See also press articles published in Enquête +, StarAfrica.com, Dakaractu, l'agence de presse sénégalaise, le soleil, rewmi.
Launch of the MicroLead expansion program in Cameroon, June 2013
Promoted by UNCDF and the MasterCard Foundation, this program will be developed in Cameroon by the BASIX/PAMIGA consortium. The two organizations will bring their technical assistance to A3C, UCCGN and CEC, in areas such as business strategy and planning, governance, risk management, product development (savings, micro-insurance), information technology & management information system, and social performance management. This should allow these three Cameroonian MFIs to strengthen their microfinance operations and increase their impact on poor rural clients, particularly in terms of mobilizing rural savings.
Start of African Livelihood Partnership (ALP) activities, Tanzania, April 2013
ALP is a South-North-South initiative from BASIX, SDC and PAMIGA, that proposes a holistic approach to livelihood promotion, surpassing the only microfinance, for a greater impact. The objective is that vulnerable segments of the population in three Sub-Saharan African countries, i.e. Tanzania, Cameroon and Mozambique, enhance their livelihoods in a sustainable manner by using financial services, agricultural extension services, vocational training and entrepreneurship support services.
ON THE FIELD
"Energy and Microfinance" in Cameroon and Tanzania
Access to energy is still difficult and expensive in many Sub-Saharan African countries, especially in rural areas. Faced with this situation, PAMIGA developed a "Renewable Energy and Microfinance" program, in partnership with Schneider Electric's BipBop program. Its objective is to facilitate access to renewable energy for rural households, MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises), and communities through the provision of adapted financial services, and to empower rural populations for an efficient and productive use of energy. The first activities started on the field in Cameroon and Tanzania in April. In both countries, partner MFIs have received technical training on solar energy. The first "lighting credits" for investing in small lighting and mobile phone charging, will be disbursed in July, whereas the medium-term loans, for the financing of more powerful solar solutions for MSMEs, will be launched in September.
Meeting of the two working groups on "Consolidation" and "Water and Microfinance" in Dakar, May 2013
For the two PAMIGA Program Directors of these strategic pillars on consolidation and environment, the objective was to share experiences among participating MFIs, identify best practices, and capitalize on the tools, processes and knowledge. For the working group on consolidation, this workshop is an important step in the preparation of the experts' meeting to be organized in October 2013 in Dakar on this same topic. A third workshop will be held in Nairobi in July for the working group on technology; field visits will be organized for the MFIs to understand the different possible applications of mobile banking in the microfinance sector.
HIGHLIGHT ON THE NETWORK
APFI-Burkina Faso : the case of two CVECA networks that go from a regional to a national scale
The CVECA networks of Soum and Boucle du Mouhoun were created in Burkina Faso respectively in 1990 and 2002, in order to deliver savings and credit products through village banks located in rural areas. As from 2009, following the evolution of the microfinance regulatory framework, the two MFIs thought that a transformation could enable them to evolve and sustain while complying with the Act. Since 2010, PAMIGA has been accompanying this process of institutional transformation, which has resulted in the creation of a new entity in June 2011: APFI-Burkina Faso (Association for the Promotion of Inclusive Finance). This institution is now a strong and credible player in the microfinance sector in Burkina Faso, which allowed PAMIGA to choose it as a pilot for its Water & Microfinance Initiative.
Annual meeting of the Social Performance Task Force (SPTF), Panama, June 2013
This meeting was an opportunity for major players of the responsible finance sector, that are SPTF members, to make an overall assessment of the implementation of the Universal Standards of Social Performance, a year after they were launched. PAMIGA is currently working with its partner MFIs to integrate these standards into their social performance management systems.
More about SPTF...
Like PAMIGA, participate to the 6th edition of the Convergences World Forum
On September 17, 18 and 19, 2013, more than 5,000 international professionals will meet in Paris to find solutions together to environmental and social challenges that affect Northern and Southern countries, and co-construct a sustainable and fair society. The key issues that will be discussed during this 2013 edition are the following : How institutional bodies, corporate organizations, civil society can foster towards a more sustainable society? How each actor can improve their professional practices? And how these actors can collaborate and be more efficient?
More information on the Forum and how to register...
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PAMIGA CEO meeting in Arusha (Tanzania), November 2012
PAMIGA's annual CEO meeting, gathering its 15 member MFIs, was held this year in Arusha, Tanzania, in the region of the legendary Mount Kilimanjaro. The theme of this high-level training was human resources management, with a special focus on the subjects of reporting to governance and how to improve management through efficient delegation. The meeting was also the opportunity to launch the MFIs' working groups on consolidation/merger, and environment and microfinance. These working groups should help PAMIGA improve its knowledge management, build processes and methodologies, through return of experiences of the MFIs involved in PAMIGA's various programmes.
PAMIGA invited to Brussels for a meeting with the grantees of ACP/EU Microfinance, January 2013
This information meeting took place in the framework of a 3-day seminar organized by ACP/EU for the beneficiaries of its call for proposals. The subject of the seminar was social performance management and procedures for reporting to the European Commission. The third day was the opportunity for the grantees to present their different actions from the perspective of four main themes : financial inclusion through credit unions, microfinance in frontier markets, rural microfinance, and environment and microfinance.
Signature of a memorandum of partnership between Schneider Electric and PAMIGA
The objective of this partnership is to give access to energy to individuals, small businesses and rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa through microfinance. PAMIGA and Schneider Electric (through its CSR programme named BipBop) aim to propose reliable, affordable and clean energy solutions for individual and collective needs in the regions where PAMIGA partner MFIs operate. The first countries targeted will be Cameroon, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. More specifically, Schneider Electric will bring its technical expertise, field experience, as well as products and solutions tailored to decentralized rural electrification challenges. PAMIGA will assist its member MFIs in defining and implementing the financial engineering required in order to offer a comprehensive solution to the clients.
More information on the BipBop project...
Feasibility study for reconfiguration of A3C CVECA Network in Cameroon
A3C has been operating since 1996 in the central region of Cameroon. Its mission is to provide financial services to rural populations. The institution runs operations through its 71 outlets, reaching 38,000 clients. As of end 2011, the loan portfolio was 2 million euros and savings balance 1.8 million euros. A feasibility study for reconfiguration was conducted in October 2012, following the need for building a sustainable growth and compliance to the new regulation and microfinance policy in Central Africa region. Interviews with key stakeholders were carried out, enabling to define the legal status and institutional form of the future structure. Rationalization of delivery channels and action plan to achieve reconfiguration were also discussed and set-up. Outcomes of reconfiguration will be strengthening of governance and a better efficiency in financial and operational management.
Evaluation of the management and information system (MIS) of ACFB in Benin, November 2012
Studies have shown that MFIs using technology in their operations are able to lower their overall operational costs, expand their client base and offer technology-based products. PAMIGA, through its IT office, aims to integrate technology systems and processes to build out a model for enabling MFIs to fully leverage the power of technology in their operations. In light of this, ACFB, an MFI operating in Benin, sought the support of PAMIGA in evaluating the MIS currently deployed on all its branches, and additionally provide advice on developing an IT master plan for the 2013-2015 period. This mission was held by PAMIGA's chief information technology officer and an expert from BNP Paribas in November 2012. It resulted in an IT strategic plan that will be continuously followed up by PAMIGA during next years until all goals are attained.
Water and Microfinance Initiative : disbursement of the first loans to the customers
Credit agreements have been signed by both pilot MFIs of the Water and Microfinance Initiative, APFI in Burkina Faso and UIMCEC in Senegal, allowing PAMIGA Finance to disburse the funds for the refinancing of those MFIs' field projects. Currently, the first loans are being granted to customers of both MFIs...
DEVELOPMENT OF TRAINING TOOLS
Financial education for women entrepreneurs in Senegal
The Senegalese-German PACC-PME/PMF programme, supported by GIZ and aiming to promote competitiveness and growth in the microfinance sector, launched in 2012 a call for proposals for the development of a financial education programme in Senegal. This project is divided into several themes, some of which required the development of new training materials. PAMIGA was selected to develop a financial education module for women entrepreneurs in Senegal. This module aims to meet the specific characteristics and constraints of women managers of microenterprises and SMEs. The training provided in this module should allow them to formalize their business practices and develop their activities sustainably. This module, as well as the other ones developed in the global financial education programme, will be provided in 2013 to the clients of Senegalese MFIs member of the microfinance professional association (APSFD).
Meetings of PAMIGA Network working groups
PAMIGA Network working groups will meet at the end of 2013 first semester ; they will be facilitated by the three PAMIGA Programme Directors. The technology group meeting will be held in Nairobi, Kenya. Both working groups on consolidation and environment will gather in Dakar, Senegal.
PAMIGA opens its two regional offices in East and West Africa. The openings are planned in February in Nairobi and in March 2013 in Dakar.
Marion ALLET will join PAMIGA team in February as a a programme officer on Energy and Microfinance. She will work closely in Fouad ABDELMOUMNI's team be in charge of developing the access-to-energy programme with PAMIGA member MFIs. The objective of this programme is to help MFIs develop financial products and services for financing projects linked to access to energy.
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