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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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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A dedicated team to develop the Water and Microfinance Initiative
During 2012 first semester, PAMIGA hired Fouad ABDELMOUMNI as the Programme Manager for the "Water and Microfinance Initiative" (WMI) (more information below). Mr ABDELMOUMNI has worked in the microfinance sector for more than 20 years. He was, among other things, the first General Manager of Al Amana Association in Morocco, the largest microfinance institution in North Africa and Middle East. He will be assisted by Teddy EKOUE KOUVAHEY, who joined PAMIGA team in July 2012. Mr EKOUE will provide his field expertise, in new product development, acquired in institutions such as PADME, CARE International, Siom Conulting, Crema Consulting and Freedom from Hunger.
PAMIGA selected under ACP/EU Microfinance Programme
The objective of ACP/EU Microfinance is to contribute to the alleviation of poverty through economic growth facilitated by the development of inclusive financial systems adapted to the needs of the poor in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. A call for proposals was launched in 2011, for which the European Union received 224 projects. PAMIGA was one of the organizations selected, for its project called "Responsible and Sustainable Growth for Rural Microfinance". This project will be deployed in 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa until the end of 2014.
Establishment of PAMIGA Finance, June 2012
PAMIGA Finance, a financing and investment vehicle based in Luxembourg, provides to PAMIGA member MFIs, innovative financial resources, tailored to their needs, to finance their growth, to develop innovative projects, and to strengthen their capital base. The President of PAMIGA Finance is Ira LIEBERMAN, an expert in investment funds. Mathieu MERCERET, Investment Director, manages MFIs' refinancing under the WMI project.
The Water and Microfinance Initiative is launched
In 2011, PAMIGA conducted a market research with its partner MFIs in order to identify the need for funding for projects related to water in rural areas. The results of this study led PAMIGA to develop the "Water and Microfinance Initiative" (WMI), supported by SDC (Swiss Development Cooperation). Its objective is to assist technically and financially PAMIGA member MFIs in 4 countries in Western Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal andTogo), and to help them develop a new range of products and services for financing projects related to productive water (wells, boreholes, water pumps, drip irrigation systems...), which constituted the vast majority of the requests for funding expressed. During the first half of 2012, missions were carried out in two pilot MFIs : APFI in Burkina Faso and UIMCEC in Senegal. The "Water" business plans and refinancing contracts are currently being finalized for these MFIs. The first projects of the customers should be financed in the next months.
Confluence : development of a knowledge management Wiki toolkit for MFI transformation
The first mergers of microfinance institutions being currently finalized, PAMIGA is developing, in cooperation with Microfinance without Borders (BNP Paribas), a Wiki tool designed to capitalize PAMIGA's achievements in terms of MFIs' mergers and consolidations. This project, called Confluence, has the following objectives : to structure a generic approach based on the current local PAMIGA experience from on-going projects in Mali and Burkina Faso, to create a toolkit for facilitating and accelerating future transformation projects, and to improve knowledge management on transformation in PAMIGA's Network of MFIs.
Several prospecting missions were conducted in Benin, Senegal and Cameroon, by René AZOKLY, in order to establish a diagnosis of partner MFIs' needs in terms of merger, transformation and/or consolidation. The objective is to plan future activities related to this PAMIGA's strategic axis.
PAMIGA also continues its activities in Ethiopia under the MicroLead Expansion programme, in partnership with BASIX India and financed by UNCDF/Gates Foundation. A training of trainers was organized in Addis Ababa in February 2012, in cooperation with AEMFI. Claire OZANNE, together with a consultant from FNCE (French National Federation of Savings Banks), facilitated this training for more than 25 operations managers coming from 20 ethiopian MFIs. A training of trainers on financial education for clients was also organized within Wasasa Microfinance S.C. in July 2012.
African Livelihood Partnership : a South-South cooperation for poverty alleviation in Africa and India
The challenge facing the developing African countries is how to build the leadership and institutional capacity for addressing the key task of harnessing the youthful energy of their populations through livelihood promotion and job creation. PAMIGA, in cooperation with Indian, European and African actors, designed a project whose objective is to enhance livelihoods of the poor in a select number of African countries in a sustainable, scalable and innovative manner, based on practical experience of the different stakeholders. The experience of India in poverty reduction, and especially the knowledge and know-how gained by BASIX (a Social Enterprise Group supported by SDC since 1996) in promoting over two million livelihoods, combined with the experience and the capabilities of African and European partners with African contexts, can effectively support the enhancement of livelihoods of poor populations in Africa. The feasibility study of this South-North-South project is currently being finalized, with the conclusions of the workshop that was held in Nairobi (Kenya) in the beginning of July 2012 and that led to the creation of an African non-profit organization to host the African Livelihood Partnership (ALP). The first countries where ALP will be deployed are Cameroon, Tanzania and Mozambique.
Convergences 2015, the World Forum, September 2012
Over 3,000 professionals and experts will meet during 3 days on 19, 20 and 21 September 2012 in Paris (France) to build together tomorrow's answers to today's social and environmental challenges faced by developed and developing countries. The World Forum will bring together the leading operators from social entrepreneurship, social and solidarity economy, microfinance, and the international aid sector.PAMIGA, partner of Convergences 2015, will participate in the session "what types of partnerships to increase the impact of microfinance ?". Today, the social mission and the impact of microfinance on its clients are key issues for the sector, which aims to better meet the diversity of its clients’ needs by adapting its offer of services. In this context, this session will enable us to discover how microfinance institutions increasingly require establishing partnerships with other actors, in order to increase the impact of financial services by linking them with complementary services.
AFMIN's 11th Annual Conference and General Assembly
This year, the annual conference of the African Microfinance Network will be held on the shores of Lake Victoria, in Kampala (Uganda). The main theme will be " the state of practices of social performance management in Africa". PAMIGA was invited, and more particulalry René AZOKLY, who will be the moderator of the session on "Social Investors and Responsible Finance".
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Pamiga opens an office in Ethiopia, in cooperation with the MicroLead programme, september 2011
From the 19th until the 22nd of September, 2011, the Fifth African Microfinance Conference was held in Addis Abeba at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Key stakeholders from the microfinance industry gathered to discuss important issues related to the future of inclusive finance in Africa. During the conference, was also launched the UNCDF MicroLead Expansion Program, whose objective is to support leading financial and technical service providers with savings led methodologies to expand their operations to new markets which are underserved in Sub-Saharan Africa. More particularly, in Ethiopia, the Pamiga/Basics consortium will be in charge of a project aiming at strengthening the microfinance operations of Buusaa Gonofaa and Wasasa, and increasinig the outreach of these two Ethiopian MFIs on the rural poor market, particularly in terms of mobilization of savings.
ACTIVITIES IN SUPPORT TO MERGER, CONSOLIDATION AND TRANSFORMATION OF RURAL MFIs
In Burkina Faso...
Pamiga acts as a technical assistant in order to support the consolidation of Boucle du Mouhoun and Soum CVECA Networks. During the first semester 2011 and on funding from Monaco's Office of Intenrational Cooperation and Development, PRESEM and its own capital, Pamiga conducted a feasability study and recruited local consultants who developed policy and procedures documents for the new entity resulting from the merger. These activities enabled to organize, on June 7, 2011, the Constitutive General Assembly of the new company, named Association for the Promotion of Inclusive Finance in Burkina Faso (APFI-Burkina). The license application has already been forwarded to supervising authorities and the general management of the new entity is currently preparing the teams for the immediate starting of activities after license is obtained.
Pamiga continues to support technically the merger of the Kayes and OSK CVECA networks, after conducting a feasability which led to the development of a business plan during 2011 first semester. René Azokli, senior international expert in microfinance and Pamiga representative for Western Africa, was recently joined in the Bamako office by Claire Ozanne, who brings her expertise in institutional strengthening. They are currently working on policy and procedures manuals for the merged structure.These manuals are part of the application process for license which needs to be submitted to supervising authorities by June 2012. The next step will be the organization of the Constitutive General Assembly.
In Cameroon, institutional transformation of A3C CVECA Network, October 2011
The mission was conducted by Antoinette Guhl in order to plan a feasability study for the first semester of 2012 with the objective to study the options for a possible institutional transformation. Indeed, A3C, with its important commercial and financial development, needs to transform its organizational structure, particularly by internalizing its technical support service and professionalize some of volunteer activities in the village banks. The feasability study will enable the institution to find the most adapted organizational sturcture to face the MFI's current challenges.
Pamiga invited to present its 2012-2014 strategy during the "Agri-Knowledge" Share Fair, Roma, September 2011
"Agri-Knowledge" is a global fair on rural development knowledge organized by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Programme (WFP), and Biodiversity International. The participants to the conference were able to share their knowledge, experience and innovations on emerging trends relating to agriculture, food security, price volatility, climate change and other rural development related issues. Pamiga was invited by IFAD to present the strategic lines of its new business plan, and more particularly the merger, consolidation and transformation of MFIs thematic, and the environment and microfinance programme. On this second issue, the example of the water and microfinance initiative was underlined : this programme aims at supporting MFIs in the development of financial products that will finance equipment and infrastructure related to rural water projects in Burkina Faso, Mali, Benin and Senegal.
AFMIN (African Microfinance Network)10th, Burundi, October 2011
On the shores of Lake Tanganyika, from October 10 to 15, was organized AFMIN's 10th Annual Conference. The conference was dedicated to experiences and lessons learnt from Financial, Economic and Social Crisis by microfinance institutions from Africa. The overall objective was to bring together different stakeholders including microfinance practicioners, bank leaders, policy makers and development partners to share lessons from the world crisis and propose new innovative ideas for the development of Microfinance in Africa. During the session on the state of practice of financial education in Africa, Snezana Jovic, programme manager specialized in social performance management, presented her experience in terms of capacity building for microfinance insitutions and networks in financial education. She provided an overview of the key elements of sucess, the lessons learnt and good practices for the development of financial education programmes wiht strong impact in Africa.
Financial Education, Ethiopia, December 2011
After its successfu financial education programme in Western Africa and in Madagascar, supported by Monaco'Office for International Cooperation and Development, this season will focus on Eatern Africa. In late December 2011, a training of trainers will be organized in Addis Ababa in cooperation with AEMFI (Ethiopian Microfinance Asssociation), in order to train experienced loan officers to the principles of client protection and more particularly on financial education for clients, on the topics of savings and debt management. This training session will be followed by an advisory mission in Buusaa Gonofaa, aiming at implementing a financial education programme for the clients of this MFI. In Western Africa, the same type of advisory missions had led the beneficiary MFIs to train more than 3,000 clients per MFI during the 6-month period of deployment of the programme.
Study tour of Vola Mahasoa General Manager in the MFI Wakenya Pamoja Sacco (WPS), Kenya, July 2011
As part of the effort toward simproving the profitability of its operations, Vola Mahasoa is currently upgrading its MIS. This change is intended to allow to develop specific features such as PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), which will facilitate the implementation of mobile banking. In order to better understand the challenges of such an evolution, a fiel visit was recommended to share experience of an MFI already using this technology. WPS, who belongs to Pamiga Network, was chosen to host the study tour of Vola Mahasoa General Manager in July 2011, enabling the latter to better understand the mobile banking system, the steps to follow for its implementation, and the functionalities and solutions that a PDA can offer. A presentation of the relationship between an MFI and Mpesa was also provided.
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PAMIGA opens a regional representation office in Bamako (Mali)
Last April, PAMIGA recruited René Azokli, senior international microfinance expert, as an expatriate technical advisor. His mission will be, during 2 years, to support the process of consolidation and grouping of rural MFIs in Mali and Burkina Faso. For this, PAMIGA opened a regional representation office, for Western and Central Africa, in the business district of ACI 2000 in Bamako. It will allow PAMIGA to better understand the field issues of institutional transformation of microfinance institutions in Western Africa, as a consequence of the new regulatory framework in the WAMU region.
PAMIGA Network workshop in Mombasa (Kenya), June 20th -24th, 2011
End of June 2011, PAMIGA member MFIs met in Mombasa for an exchange workshop on the topic of change management. 13 MFI leaders from 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were given the opportunity to discuss issues underlying change management within their institution, in relation to the evolution of internal and external context of those strucutres. This work enabled to identify the challenges currently faced by MFIs, particularly in terms of institutional transformation, technology and environmental issues. It also helped define the oultline and terms of the support that PAMIGA and its redefined network can bring. During this workshop, Mr Ousmane Thiongane, General Manager of UIMCEC in Senegal, was also elected as a member of PAMIGA board of directors.
ACTIVITIES IN SUPPORT OF THE MERGER AND CONSOLIDATION OF RURAL MFIs
Since the end of 2010, PAMIGA has been accompanying several microfinance institutions' merger processes in Mali and Burkina Faso. These groupings should enable those MFIs to comply with the new legal framework developed by the BCEAO to regulate decentralized financial systems in WAMU member countries, in order to strengthen the performance of the microfinance sector.
In Mali : merger of Kayes and OSK Cveca Networks
This consolidation is part of a major restructuring program, funded by the MasterCard Foundation, and which will be held on Malian territory in the next 2 years. In January 2011, a feasability study was conducted in Mali for the grouping of two savings and credit self-managed village banks(Cveca), the networks of Kayes and OSK (Ouelessebougou-Siby-Kangaba). This study resulted in the development of a business plan and an action plan to finalize the merger. A partners' roundtable was held last June to introduce the merger to authorities and all stakeholders concerned in Malian microfinance. Currently, the professionalization of the institutions is in progress : recruitments of managers, cashiers, accountants, loan officers and itinerant officers are underway.
In Burkina Faso : grouping of the Boucle du Mouhoun and Soum Cveca Networks
These two networks were established respectively in 1990 and 2002 by CIDR, and institutionalized in 1999 for the Boucle du Mouhoun Network, and 2007 for the Soum Network. Their transformation is the logical continuation of their evolution on institutional, technical and financial plans. However, to go further in the devlopment of those two Cveca networks, a merger was necessary to enable the institutions to reach a critical size, to be more competitive, to diversify their products and services, to better manage risks, and lead the institutions with more specialized technical staff. Currently, the application for a license for the new institution is being filed by the supervising authorities.
This consolidation process is supported by Monaco's Office of International Cooperation and Development (OICD) and by UNCDF, through its program for the reinforcement of the microfinance sector (Presem).
3rd European Forum on Rural Development, March 29th-April 1st, 2011, Palencia (Spain)
The 3rd European Forum on Rural Development, under the theme "future agriculture and rural development to fight against hunger" was held with the main objective to bring together the common experiences regarding Rural Development, and to share the challenges and successes of the different participants, with a special emphasis on the promotion of practices that may be useful for the reduction of food and agriculture insecurity.
During the special session on rural financing, Renée Chao Beroff presented successful study cases about rural financing (insurance, microcredit, equity financing) programmes that benefit smallholder farmers, fishermen and pastoralists. The session also debated ways in which various rural financial needs can be addressed, including the capitalisation of agriculture and agribusiness.
Zipping finance and farming in Africa : harnessing the continent's potential was the objective of this conference which brought together the continent's leading agricultural and financial practicioners and policy makers, including governors of central banks, researchers, media representatives and development partners from all over Africa and other regions.
The major outcome was clear advice of these leading stakeholders on the best ways to strengthen business linkages between the financial and agricultural sectors, with guidance also on the policies that will contribute to the effective and efficient financing of agricultural value chains.
Renée Chao Beroff facilitated, during this conference, various workshops, particularly on financing agriculture in contrasting environments and policy support to agricultural finance in Africa.
Water and Microfinance Study
The lack of access to water and sanitation is the first cause of mortality in the world. In some regions, such as in sub-Saharan Africa, an important part of the population still lacks acess to safe drinking water. In oder to determine the needs in the financing of water in rural areas, a study is underway with 13 PAMIGA partner MFIs accross 10 African countries. The results of 6 MFIs from Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin have already enabled to identify a strong demand in rural areas for the financing of water-related business projects. 82% of surveyed clients have a water-related financing project for productive purposes ; they are mainly clients with agricultural and/or gardening activities.
The results of other countries should be published in September 2011 and should allow PAMIGA to develop a new range of products and services for the financing of water-related projects, be it projects for the supply of drinking water, wells, motor pumps or more ambitious hydraulic projects.
To be continued...
More than 9,000 clients trained through PMIGA global financial education program
Initiated late 2010, this program was designed to accompany high-performing African MFIs in the development of financial education programs for their clients, in order to improve their financial knowledge, skills and behaviours and fight against poverty in a sustainable way. To date, more than 9,000 clients in Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal and Madagascar have received training sessions on savings and debt management. Training sessions are still underway in Mali.
Development of PAMIGA business plan for 2012-2014
PAMIGA reaches the fifth year of its business plan in 2011. In agreement with its Board of Directors and its funders, the organization conducted an assessment of its performance during this period in order to draw the lessons for the development of the next strategic plan. Participatory reflection started during the Mombasa PAMIGA Network workshop with the participating MFIs. The development and drafting of the new business plan will continue during the summer in order to finalize a document for September 2011.
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A new manager for PAMIGA Network
This recruitment occurs in the context of increased activities due to the development of PAMIGA Network. Antoinette Guhl, senior expert from the banking and consulting sectors, will join, in early December 2010, the organization's office in Paris. She will be responsible for promoting, expanding, leading the Network, encouraging dialogue among member MFIs, and supporting their individual strategic development.
More information about PAMIGA Network and how to join...
The MasterCard Foundation partners with PAMIGA for its MFIs' consolidation project in Mali
The Foundation and PAMIGA have launched a one million dollar partnership over two years to consolidate and scale up rural MFIs in Mali. This program will concern nine PAMIGA partner-MFIs. The activities for the first grouping of MFIs are already underway on the field in Mali. To be continued...
National workshop and advisory mission on Financial Education for Clients in Madagascar, October 2010
PAMIGA, whose mission is to professionalize and improve the impact of microfinance in Africa, launches this year, with the support of Monaco's Office of International Cooperation and Development, a comprehensive program for clients' financial education. In each of the countries involved in this project, PAMIGA organizes a national training session for MFIs' operations managers, in order to raise their awareness to financial education and consumer protection issues, but also an advisory mission to assist a member MFI in the implemention of a financial education program for its clients, on savings and debt management issues. Last October, the first activities were finalized in Madagascar where nearly 25 MFI's managers met in Antananarivo for a national workshop on these topics. Vola Mahasoa, a PAMIGA Network member MFI, was proposed an advisory mission, which resulted in the establishment of an action plan for training 3,000 customers over a period of six months. For these two missions, PAMIGA partnered with the Malagasy Microfinance Professional Association (APIMF) and FIDEV (Finance and Development), a local consulting company.
Study for the institutional transformation of Cveca Networks in Burkina Faso, November 2010
The new law N°23/2009, laying reorganization of regulations for decentralized financial systems' (DFS) activities, was enacted in Burkina Faso, leaving a period of two years for all MFIs in the country to comply with. This law makes a reform of the legal forms authorized for DFS structures, involving many challenges for Cveca Networks in terms of legal status, governance, tax implications, etc. This study on institutional transformation of MFIs in Burkina Faso should enable Cveca Networks comply with the new law and seize the opportunities opened up by its application.
CURRENTLY ON THE FIELD
Financial Education of Clients in Burkina Faso, Senegal and Mali
In the course of development of its global financial education program, PAMIGA is organizing, at the end of this year, three advisory missions for its following partner MFIs : Boucle du Mouhoun Cveca Network,(Burkina Faso), UIMCEC (Senegal) and Kayes Cveca Network (Mali). The objective is to help those MFIs conceive and implement a financial education program on Savings and Debt Management, adapted to the profile of their clients, to their local environment and to the challenges they are facing. A national workshop has also been held in Dakar on the same topic.
Babyloan.org, the first French Website facilitating online micro-lending
This partnership should allow PAMIGA member MFIs have access to Babyloan.org financial services. Babyloan.org will in turn benefit from PAMIGA's expertise in rural microfinance in Africa.
This French website has been created to enable users to lend money online for free, for the benefit of micro-entrepreneurs carrying on business outside the European Community.
The "Microfinance Without Borders" project from the banking group BNP Paribas
Following two advisory missions in Madagascar and Burkina Faso delivered by experts from BNP Paribas, PAMIGA signed a partnership with "Microfinance Without Borders". This agreement aims to put at the disposal of PAMIGA volunteers that will deliver advisory missions to microfinance institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, member of PAMIGA Network.
Pamiga is recruiting a programme manager for its Advisory Services Department
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Vijay Mahajan, chairman of the Indian MFI Basix, in mission in Ethiopia and Rwanda
Last May, Vijay Mahajan, chairman of the microfinance institution Basix in India, and Renée Chao Beroff, conducted a mission in Ethiopia and Rwanda, for the development of Basix-PAMIGA joint programs for the strengthening of microfinance in these two countries. They visited PAMIGA MFI partners and other potential partners, professional associations and local authorities to make sure their contribution is relevant to the industry demand and current issues.
"Convergences 2015" Forum, May 2010 : PAMIGA and partner MFIs invited to discuss about the future of microfinance in Africa
What is the future for microfinance in Africa ? This was the question asked by Aude Flogny-Catrisse (French Agency for Development) to Renée Chao Beroff, during the "Convergences 2015" Forum, held on May 25 and 26 in Paris City Hall. Faced with this major issue, the General Manager of PAMIGA drew up the conclusions of 15 years of experience in microfinance development in Africa, explaining that one of the major lessons learnt has been the need for the MFIs to diversify on their market segments. According to her, the future developement opportunities in the sector in Africa will concern value-chain finance, financial products for youth clients, and a stronger consideration of environmental issues when developing new financial products.
More information... Listen to the interview of Renée Chao Beroff on the new trends in agricultural microfinance.
Two microfinance institutions, member of PAMIGA Network, were also invited to the Forum.
James Obama, CEO of Pride in Tanzania, discussed about the various initiatives developed within his institution in the area of value-chain finance. Alou Keita, General Manager of Camide in Mali, presented one of his projects : "Aliniha" ("a woman, a loan, a tree"), a program that combines microfinance, environment and capacity building for women. More...
Advisory mission for the improvement of the internal control system of Prodia in Burkina Faso
Securing operations is one of the MFIs' major challenge for their growth and sustainability. To achieve this, they have to implement an efficient monitoring tool, able to prevent, detect and correct errors, fraud and operational weaknesses. PAMIGA, in partnership with auditors and inspectors from the banking sector, has developed a methodology and an innovative internal control device for microfinance institutions. This methodology was used during the mission conducted in March 2010 within the institution Prodia in Burkina Faso, mission whose main objective was to establish a diagnosis to improve the institution's internal control system.
Advisory mission for the improvement of the management and information system (MIS) of Vola Mahasoa in Madagascar
In March 2010, a PAMIGA expert delivered an advisory mission for Vola Mahasoa, a microfinance institution operating in South-West Madagascar. The objective of the mission was to analyse the existing system, define a target MIS and develop a specification to identify the most appropriate software solutions for the institution. Through this advisory mission, PAMIGA intended to initiate an MIS improvement process for Vola Mahasoa, which is currently diversifiying and increasing the volume of its activities.
Meanwhile, the institution also benefited from technical assistance for the strengthening of its internal control system.
Market research on youth clients' needs in the microfinance sector in Mali
This study was undertaken in February 2010 in 5 microfinance institutions in Mali, partners of PAMIGA. The objective was to identify the general trends concerning the youth clients' (i.e. under 25 years old) needs in terms of financial products and services. This study showed that youth clients, that represent more than 25% of those institutions' clients, are more mobile geographically in their professional activities, and thus need to have access to financial products linked to new technologies, such as mobile banking, national and international remittances, withdrawal cards. PAMIGA intends to extend this study in 6 other countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal and Tanzania), in order to help PAMIGA accompany its partner MFIs in the development of new products geared to youth clients.
Workshops in Mali and Burkina Faso
The consolidation process of microfinance institutions in Mali and Bukina Faso continues. An exchange workshop was held in Ouagadougou in May 2010 : the objective was to present to the participating MFIs different growth options, and identify the institutions willing to join a process of consolidation or merger with other institutions.
In Mali, different grouping schemes have been identified and a first feasibility study is underway.
To be continued...
The MIL (Microfinance Initiative Liechtenstein) supports PAMIGA's programs for the strengthening of microfinance institutions' capacities in Subsaharian Africa
The Liechtenstein Development Service's (LED) recently oriented its global strategy towards development programs in Africa, and decided to award , through the MIL, a financial support to PAMIGA for the development and strengthening of capacities of rural microfinance institutions, that are member of PAMIGA Network. More...
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4 new microfinance institutions join PAMIGA Network
At the end of 2009, 4 MFIs showed their interest in becoming full members of PAMIGA Network : WPS in Kenya, Pride in Tanzania, Soro Yiriwaso in Mali and Prodia in Burkina Faso.
PAMIGA has now a total of 17 member MFIs in its Network, operating in 9 different countries : Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Senegal and Tanzania.
The total outreach in terms of number of clients equals 403,000. If we consider an average African family with 5 members, we can easily estimate that more than 2 million people lives are indirectly impacted by those MFIs' activities.
Microfinance Now : Renée Chao-Beroff's interview with the CGAP
In an interview with the CGAP, Renée Chao Beroff, PAMIGA General Manager, discusses her views of the global crisis and the future of commercial microfinance in West Africa, saying that poor people living in rural areas will be excluded if it's left only to the banks.
Listen to the interview...
Training session on commercial development and performance management in December 2009, in Cotonou (Benin)
This 4-day training session, led by 2 consultants from the National Federation of Savings Banks, enabled to gather the operations and branch managers, as well as loan officers from 6 beninese MFIs. Participants were trained on a specific commercial methodology used by the French Bank Caisse d'Epargne and they were given the tools for commercial performance management.
In the current context of increased competition between microfinance insitutions, this PAMIGA advisory service is aimed at enabling MFIs to make the difference by offering a quality service to their clients.
Participants as well as the Alafia Consortium microfinance professionnal association, partner of the training session, were extremely satisfied by the content, but also by the methodology used.
A first advisory mission for an MIS implementation in the MFI ACFB (Benin), December 2009
A consultant from Deloitte France visited, in December 2009, the ACFB microfinance institution in Benin. This on-field advisory mission was aimed at establishing a diagnosis of the existing management and information system in order to identify the needs and define a target MIS. The objective was also to draw up a benchmark of the different softwares adapted to the MFIs' needs.
To be followed in the next mssions...
Advisory missions in Burkina Faso and Madagascar in the context of the Microfinance Without Borders project of the French Bank BNP Paribas
Launched in 2006, the MFSF project (Microfinance Without Borders) consists in identifying in-employment or retired volunteers from BNP Paribas willing to deliver short-term advisory missions adapted to the needs of microfinance institutions in developing countries.
In this project context, in December 2009, PAMIGA organized 2 on-field missions for its member institutions. The first one was held in Madagascar and was aimed at bringing the Vola Mahasoa MFI a technical support for its budget follow-up and reporting. The second mission's objective was to handle the issue of credit procedures and credit risk management within the Boucle du Mouhoun Cveca Network in Burkina Faso.
PAMIGA signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Microfinance Group, Basix
Basix was created in India in 1996 with the objective to promote "livelihood finance", i.e. a comprehensive approach to promote sustainable livelihoods for the poor, which incudes traditional microfinance services but also agricultural, business and institutional development services. Nowadays, Basics has more than 1.5 million clients and a geopgraphical outreach including 22,400 Indian villages.
Through this partnership, PAMIGA and Basix wish to promote together "livelihood finance" in Eastern Africa, in the context of the MicroLead programme pomoted by UNCDF (United Nations Capital Development Fund) and financed by the Gates Foundation.
More on Basix and livelihood finance...
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