Newsletter – December 2023

MAIN publication on “Green Products” (Only in French)

MAIN is pleased to announce the publication of the very first Green Products manual dedicated to MFIs in Africa entitled “Approaches and methodologies for the design and marketing of ecological financial products and services by microfinance institutions”

This manual lays the way for positive change in climate and inclusive finance in Africa. It gives microfinance institutions concrete guidelines to develop green products that actively integrate strengthening the sustainability and resilience of vulnerable communities. This will help address issues such as energy deficit and declining soil yields in the critical situation caused by climate change and loss of biodiversity, which hamper social and economic development and heavily affect poor households and micro-enterprises in urban and rural areas.

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This pioneering manual was developed by compiling lessons learned and experiences from over 15 years of developing and piloting green products in Africa and around the world. Designed as part of the Green Index 3.0 of the European Microfinance Platform’s Climate Smart Finance Action Group, this book provides a valuable resource for African financial institutions seeking to develop and grow their portfolio of green products and to support the transition to a more sustainable economy through rural communities.

It’s time to get involved and help reduce climate vulnerability, improve community income stability and foster a healthier relationship with our ecosystems! If you would like to get this this book, please contact main@mainetwork.org

Reopening of the certified course in Microfinance for loan officer and branch manager

As part of the agreement signed between MAIN and Ecole Supérieure de Banque, MAIN has resumed microfinance certified courses. In 2023, three professional associations, namely APSFD of Senegal, APROCEC and ANIMF of the DRC, took part in this first session of training.

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Participants in training room

The “Loan officer” training aims to develop their general and specific knowledge for rigorous and professional exercise of their profession. The branch Manager Training dedicated to Managers aims to develop their skills in branch management, organization techniques and also to develop skills in human resources management using methods and tools of communication and management by taking into account the behavioral dimension linked to this profession.

Following delivery of the courses on the different training modules, the exams took place respectively on December 6 and 7, 2023 in the different countries. A total of one hundred and thirty-four (134) participants took part in the exams marking the end of the various training courses. Out of the total participants, thirty-seven (37) applied for the professional certified course on “Loan officer” and ninety-seven (97) for the professional certified course on “branch manager”.

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Photo of participants in the examination room

Overall, the courses and exams went very well, as demonstrated by some participants.

Overall the training went very well, the timing was respected throughout the training. As for the exam papers, they were affordable given that similar cases had been dealt with during the course period and everything relates to what we were taught during the 13 days of training.

Mr. DAOUDA Mané, Loan manager, Kaolack agency, Caurie- Microfinance, Candidate for the professional certified course on loan officer.

More fear than harm. The exam subjects correspond well to the lessons received. The training itself responds well to the concerns or challenges that we encounter on a daily basis and also provides us with a new management approach that we must have for the viability and sustainability of our institutions. I would strongly recommend this training to other branch manager who have not yet had the opportunity to participate to register to enhance their skills as branch manager in an MFI.

Ms. MBOMBO NGALAMULUME, Advans Congo agency head, Kinshasa, Candidate for the professional certified course branch manager.

For this reopening of the different training courses, MAIN has introduced a transversal course on the Ecological and Social Transition (EST). In a context where the entire world is bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change, financial inclusion players are not remaining on the sidelines of this development. The ecological and social transition is gaining importance and becoming a subject of major concern. The World Bank has stressed that climate disruption could reduce agricultural production, particularly in regions of the world that already suffer from food insecurity.

Many countries have intensified their efforts to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions, promote renewable energies and fight climate change. The effects of climate change have become increasingly visible and have prompted governments to undertake mitigation efforts. These developments have led to an acceleration of the ecological and social transition in the world.

The program will continue in 2024 with other professional associations.

Development of a training module on gender and the Ecological and Social Transition (EST)

As part of the project “Inclusive finance in Africa facing the challenges of ecological and social transition: challenges and capacity building of African actors through an innovative and adapted training offer” MAIN has developed a training module on gender and ecological and social transition. Currently, the approach to ecological transition and that of gender with a view to achieving gender equality, can be considered as transversal components, to be taken into account in all policies, programs and projects, as well as the functioning of organizations. These two approaches reinforce each other and can enable developments towards greater social justice, while offering new possibilities for economic activities.

Most development institutions and donors consider taking into account gender and the ecological and climate transition as prerequisites for all projects. It is in this dynamic that this module was born. This “Gender and ecological and social transition” training module aims to explain what the gender perspective consists of (which can also be defined as an “integrated approach to equality between women and men”) and how to apply it to the ecological and social transition, placed in the context of environmental issues and the fight against global warming. This module is intended for all financial inclusion stakeholders who would like to understand the link between EST, gender and microfinance. It is divided into several sequences as follows:

Sequence #1

What is the concept of gender? What is the gender approach?

Sequence #2

Gender analysis and methodological tools

Sequence #3

The gender approach in the field of ecological and social transition

Sequence #4

Gender, microfinance and ecological and social transition

Sequence #5

Stakeholders, debates and news around gender issues & ecological and social transition

Following the development of this training material, MAIN organized between October and November 2023, a series of three webinars. The various sessions saw strong participation from members and non-members. We can conclude from this series of webinars that the theme interests members and that the deployment from 2024 will meet with strong support from them.

 

Press Release

General Assemblies of MAIN members

Lomé Hôtel 2 Février, Octobre 20th, 2023

Press Release

From October 16 to 20, 2023, the sixth edition of the African Microfinance Week (AMW) was held in Lomé, under the theme « Towards inclusive and sustainable finance ».

The financial sectors in Africa have been highly exposed in recent years to the risks linked to climate change. Financial sectors must play a key role in financing climate change mitigation and adaptation. Climate change and the energy transition represent notable risks for the activity of African banks. Other financial institutions, notably in microfinance, private equity and insurance, are also filling market gaps in green finance, while policymakers support these developments through regulatory interventions, technical support and financing, with initiatives at national, regional and international levels. However, Africa’s green finance sectors remain less developed than those in other regions, and more can be done to ensure that the continent’s financial sectors take into account climate risks and seize financing opportunities of climate action. These efforts have become particularly urgent in the context of the post-COVID-19 economic recovery. International organizations can play an important role in working with financial institutions to finance the climate transition and helping to bridge the knowledge and capacity gap so that sustainable financial products can be offered.

In this context of post COVID 19 recovery and the adverse effects of climate change, the digital transformation of African financial sectors presents enormous potential to stimulate development and growth, although the associated risks must be managed appropriately. For digital transformation to deliver the expected benefits in terms of inclusive growth, significant investments will be required. Digital financial solutions and providers in Africa are already attracting strong interest from investors, but the tightening of financing conditions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic risks slowing their development. Investments in digital infrastructure, technical assistance and training for financial institutions, regulators and users of financial services will also be necessary to enable the digital transformation of financial sectors to realize its full development potential.

To this end, AMW 2023 proved to be timely, since it offered the various players in the sector the appropriate consultation framework to assess, on the one hand, the resilience capacity of institutions active in inclusive finance and, on the other hand, the sector’s contribution to the resilience of populations in the face of shocks.

AMW is an international conference dedicated to the development of financial inclusion in Africa. It is open to all microfinance practitioners and is co-organized by the Ministry of Financial Inclusion and responsible for the Informal Sector of Togo, the MAIN network (Microfinance African Institutions Network), and ADA, a Luxembourg NGO specializing in finance inclusive approach supported by the Department of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Action of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

The conference took place at the International Conference Center of Lomé and brought together more than 1,000 participants (including 112 from MAIN) from 58 countries, including 40 from Africa. African Microfinance Week is a major event dedicated to the development of financial inclusion in Africa which takes place every two years in an African country. The main ambition of the SAM is to offer a unified African platform for discussion on the issues of inclusive finance on the African continent by bringing together all professionals in the sector: investors, MFIs, researchers, banks, networks, innovators and governments, among others. Several key events marked this 6th edition of the AMW, namely: the innovators’ village, the investors’ fair, training and workshops, and the MAIN mixed general assembly.

During this AMW and more precisely on October 20, 2023, MAIN held its 11th general assembly of members which took place at the Hôtel 2 Février 2023. The General Assembly brought together 95 members from Togo, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Guinea, Benin, Uganda, Burundi, Morocco, Mali, Mauritania, South Sudan, France, Cameroon, DRC, Italy, Kenya, Senegal, and Congo Brazzaville.

The ordinary general assembly was an occasion for the member to renew the board. After election, the new board is composed of :

  1. ODANOU Yombo, Chairman (CECA, Togo)
  2. MUTUA Kimanthi, Vice-chairman (K-Rep, Kenya)
  3. Mme ADOUKOUNOU V. Huguette, Treasurer (AFRICA Finances, Benin)
  4. PENCHE Joan, deputy treasurer (SIDI, France)
  5. Mme MUTABARUKA Nadine, member (WISE, Burundi)
  6. Mme SAHIL Naima, member (CMS, Maroc)
  7. Prof DDUMBA- SSENTAMU John, member (CENTENARY, Ouganda)

During this general assembly, all the different items on the agenda were examined. Following the presentation of the various reports presented to the members, they were approved and resolutions were voted. Recommendations were given to executive management for the implementation of these resolutions.

After the ordinary general assemly the extraordinary meeting of members allowed the modification of the statutes and internal regulations of MAIN. Several articles have been reviewed and others added to meet the current needs of the network. The members were strongly mobilized to the success of the meetings.

About MAIN

MAIN (Microfinance African Institutions Network) is an international non-profit association (created in 1995 in Abidjan) based in Lomé (Togo). As at September 30th, 2023, MAIN had 128 members in 25 countries in Africa and Europe.

MAIN brings together MFIs, national networks, NGOs working in microfinance, cooperatives, farmers’ organizations, banks, and “resource” organizations (universities, social investors, etc.). MAIN member institutions reach more than 15.32 million beneficiaries through their financial and non-financial services.

For more information, please contact the Executive Management at the following address:

POBOX: 1646 Lomé, Togo
Tel: +228 22 214757/99 35 50 60
Email: main@mainnetwork.org

Download
the Press Release

Newsletter – August 2023

AFRICA CELEBRATES MICROFINANCE IN TOGO

The African Microfinance Week is a major event dedicated to the development of financial inclusion in Africa and which takes place every two years in an African country. It is organized by ADA (Appui au Développement Autonome), MAIN and the host country of the event with the support of the Luxembourg government. After the first edition in Arusha in 2013, the second edition in 2015 in Dakar, the third edition in 2017 in Addis Ababa, the fourth edition in 2019 in Ouagadougou and the fifth edition in 2021 in Kigali, the sixth edition will take place from October 16 – 20, 2023 in Lomé, Togo. This year’s theme is “towards sustainable inclusive finance”.

This year’s conference aims to provide a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas on how Financial Service Providers (FSPs) can help fight climate change and promote sustainable development through their product and services. In addition, the conference should also encourage Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and other FSPs to adopt environmentally friendly practices. The conference is structured around plenary sessions, parallel sessions, an investor fair, an innovators’ village, training and workshops, the organization of general assemblies, etc.

Conference attendees can expect to gain insight into the latest trends and innovations in green financial inclusion, as well as the role of technology in promoting it. The conference should be interactive, allowing participants to share their experiences and ideas on how to promote green and inclusive finance.

We look forward to seeing you at this major meeting of financial inclusion players. You can register using the discount codes that you can get from the MAIN secretariat.

GUIDE TO FINANCIAL CONSUMER PROTECTION IN THE DIGITAL ERA

Financial services are evolving rapidly, with a growing array of new technologies, unconventional providers and innovative combinations of financial and non-financial services. While this evolution can help enhance financial inclusion for women, low-income and vulnerable consumers, it also brings greater risks.  

There is evidencethat digital finance consumer risks, such as data misuse and fraud have increased in several markets over the last few years. Crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbate these risks,as vulnerable groups are more fragile due to economic hardship. 

Consumer protection is considered a basic regulatory enabler for digital financial inclusion. By better protecting consumers, this may also enhance their trust and increase their usage of formal financial services. Several emerging markets have taken important steps on consumer protection, including in digital financial services. Financial regulators and supervisors have adopted consumer protection regulatory and supervisory measures, and some global and national industry associations have developed codes of conduct. 

But the growing and evolving nature of consumer risks in digital finance demands more effective, and holistic consumer protection actions. Several industry players have already begun developing various solutions that can help address financial consumer risks, with CGAP paving the way towards a responsible digital finance ecosystem approach. This approach requires all ecosystem actors to play key roles in securing a responsible financial system by putting thecustomer at the center and collaborating in ways that protect and ensure positive outcomes for digital finance users.  

This FinDev Guide consists of a selection of resources that offer insights on good practices, solutions and tools that regulators, supervisors and providers can adopt to ensure that consumers achieve positive outcomes in their financial journey.  

https://www.findevgateway.org/guide/2023/07/guide-to-financial-consumer-protection-in-digital-era

MAINTAINING MOMENTUM OF FINANCIAL INCLUSION THROUGH DIGITAL ADOPTION IN THE WEST AFRICAN ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION (WAEMU)

West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) countries have seen increased financial account ownership since 2014, with mobile money accounts driving adoption and usage.

On average, 41% of adults in the WAEMU have an account with a bank or similar institution or with a mobile money service. Senegal has the highest account ownership rate at 56%, but it still falls 15 percentage points below the developing economy average. However, there is room for growth in financial inclusion, and the Global Findex data suggests opportunities to accelerate ownership and usage through digital financial enablement.

Nearly 75% of account owners in WAEMU own a mobile money account.  

In 2014, WAEMU countries had low account ownership rates, except for Côte d’Ivoire. Banks and similar institutions held most of these accounts. However, between 2014 and 2021, mobile money accounts boosted account ownership rates across most countries.

https://blogs.worldbank.org/fr/allaboutfinance/maintenir-la-dynamique-de-linclusion-financiere-par-ladoption-du-numerique-dans

African Microfinance Week (SAM) – Togo

MAIN is pleased to announce the Sixth edition of the African Microfinance Week which is the initiative of networks which are MAIN (Microfinance African Institutions Network), with the support of ADA, an organization supported by the Luxembourg Cooperation.

The partnership provides to the parties an opportunity, and advantage to expand the space for joint venture and collaboration, for rational utilization of scarce resources and avoid duplication of efforts, thus reinforcing the agenda of cooperation, and unity among development actors.

This year, the conference theme will be on «Towards sustainable inclusive finance ».

You are invited to come and share your story and experiences with the participants of the 6th edition of the African Microfinance Week which will take place in Lomé in Togo from October 16-20th, 2023.

MAIN is pleased to inform its members that a sponsorship is available for them. MAIN will reimburse ticket for members up to 500 € per institution. MAIN will also cover three (03) nights per member institution. Only members who have settled their annual contribution will benefit from this sponsorship.

Only one member is supported per institution. However, on member request, MAIN can book the room at the preferential rate negotiated for your second participant if you have an extract participant.

On the sidelines of this conference, MAIN will hold its Ordinary and Extra ordinary General Assemblies on Friday, October 20th, 2023. For members who will not be able to attend these meetings, they have the possibility of giving a proxy to another member who can represent them at these meetings.

We kindly ask you to complete this attached form for your participation to these meetings and send them back to us not later than September, 20th 2023.

MAIN members will pay a preferential rate for the registration fees for the event. For this reason, please contact the executive direction to get your promotional code which will allow you to pay a preferential rate:  https://sam.mediactive-events.com/index.php?langue_id=2   before September 15th, 2023.

MAIN will book the hotel directly for its members who have registered for SAM. To do this, please let us know your arrival and departure dates as soon as possible so that we can book your rooms for you in accordance with your flight details.

We look forward to seeing you all in Lomé.

NB: For any question related to this event, please contact the secretariat of MAIN at main@mainnetwork.org  with copy to m.attanda@mainnetwork.org

SAM 2023

SAM: Semaine africaine de la microfinance

The SAM is a biennial 5-day event dedicated to the development of financial inclusion in Africa. It is the not-to-be-missed event for inclusive finance professionals!

Certificate in Microfinance Management

Certificate in Microfinance Management

 

MAIN is pleased to announce the launch of the Certificate in Microfinance Management. It is a certificate programme that provides a broad based, practical exploration of the key ideas, techniques and skills needed to be a microfinance manager in 21st century.

 

The certificate is ideally suited to the needs and aspirations of both those already holding management positions within MFIs, as well as those staff who are being prepared to take up management positions. 

 

It is a self-study programme that consists of six modular courses, (see below for details). It is flexible and allows students to fit their studies around their work and social commitments. Students can enroll for the programme at any time of the year. The programme can be completed within three months. 

 

Admission Requirements

The Certificate in Microfinance Management is open to anyone who is interested in advancing their career within the microfinance sector.  However, the content of the programme requires students to possess:

  • Sound educational background
  • Strong familiarity with microfinance operations
  • Good written English skills. 

Fees

The total fee for the certificate programme in Microfinance Management is 200 USD  

 

This includes:

  • Registration fee
  • Detailed study guides and workbooks, to accompany each of the six modular courses
  • e-copy of The New Handbook of Microfinance by Joanna Ledgerwood (World Bank)
  • Online support
  • Assessment of course work

The Certificate in Microfinance Management covers the following areas and topics:

 

MODULE 1: MANAGEMENT & MFIS

MODULE 2: OPERATIONAL CHALLENGES AND MFIS

MODULE 3: MARKETING AND MICROFINANCE 

MODULE 4: CLIENT SERVICES MANAGEMENT 

MODULE 5: HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT & MFIs  

MODULE 6: STRENGTHENING MICROFINANCE INSTITUTIONS 

 

Prof. Martin O’Reilly, PhD. will lead this programme.  

 

For more information about this online programme, please contact the secretariat of MAIN. 

Download Admision form

Newsletter – December 2022

CAPITALIZATION WORKSHOP OF THE INCUBATOR PROJECT IN ECOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL TRANSITION (EST)

Scheduled for a period of 18 months, the pilot phase of the project ends on December 31, 2022.

In order to learn lessons from these 18 months’ pilot project implementations and sharing experiences with other MAIN network members, a capitalization workshop was organized online on Thursday, December 8, 2022. 

 

Alternately, Very Small Enterprises (VSEs) (Green Industry Plast Togo (GIP-TOGO) Sarl-U, a company specializing in collection, sorting and recycling of plastic waste, RUCHE/SETRAPAL whose main activity is drying and processing of organic food products, in particular drying of pineapples and fresh mangoes and their marketing, EGENT TOGO, an Electrical Engineering and New Technologies and AgroSolutions and Development (ASD), a company that produces and markets organic soybean meal and oil, floating granules for Tilapia and catfish, complete and complementary feeds for poultry , ruminants and monogastrics) presented within the framework of internal environment on improvements, difficulties, new risks, changes that have occurred in the following areas during the 18 months of the project : 

  • Management of their institution
  • Decision method
  • Organization
  • Production
  • Products
  • Services
  • Marketing / sales
  • Logistics
  • Human ressources
  • Accounting
  • Financial ressources
  • Material resources
  • Follow up
  • Control

Regarding the external environment, Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and Very Small Enterprises (VSEs) have looked at improvements, difficulties, new risks, changes in the following areas:

  • Competitors / competitive position
  • Customer base

The capitalization workshop ended with exchanges between project actors’ which are MAIN, the Consultant, the MFIs and the VSEs.

MFIs and VSEs have expressed their wishes for the second phase of the project in order to make the theme well anchored in the financial sector.

 

As a conclusion of the capitalization workshop, recommendations were made.

Regarding lessons learned:

  • Let the internal environment be adaptable to the challenges of EST but requiring significant provisions for adaptation
  • May the external environment be evolving, encouraging actors to anticipate in order to be effective and efficient

On the wishes of MAIN / SME partners:

  •  There should be more follow-up (longer duration > 1 year) with the SMEs to improve the process and better integrate the theme of EST
  • May experience be lead to accelerator funding to broaden the impact of their mission
  • communication be made on a large scale to create the beginning of change in the sectors targeted by the EST

As for the wishes of partners of MAIN / MFI Accelerators of SMEs

  • there is more line of financing to support the activities of SMEs
  • there are more Human Resources to follow up (reinforcement of National Financial Inclusion Strategies)
  • more training on human resources and customer level to better integrate EST

 

GREEN MICROFINANCE: A SIMPLE IDEA WITH HUGE POTENTIAL

On December 14, 2022, a webinar was organized by Microfinance African Institutions Network (MAIN) on the theme: Green Microfinance: A Simple Idea, with great Potential. Led by three eminent experts in green microfinance, Davide FORCELLA, Charlot RAZAKAHARIVELO and Abdou Rasmane OUEDRAOGO under the moderation of Professor Frédéric KALALA.

For one hour and forty-seven minutes, these three experts on Ecological and Social Transition (EST) issues shared techniques for designing green products and services, and lessons learned on how to use green microfinance as a catalyst for growth financial inclusion, while preventing the associated risks. Panelists also looked at the different types of green technologies an institution could fund and support, their multiple benefits, and in particular what products and services (financial and non-financial) an institution could develop. They presented existing products with concrete examples and field experiences.

What do we learn from the different presentations? To succeed in Green Microfinance it is important to establish bridges and partnerships at all institutional and macroeconomic levels while keeping in view the vulnerability at the level of the clients and the institution and the negative impact also called ecological footprint of institution and clients on their environment. The relevance of the index insurance product, which is agricultural and therefore environmental insurance, should also be taken into account by any institution wishing to engage in green microfinance. It is also necessary to implement a managerial organization for the supply of green products, an organization that involves diversification of green products, adoption of a partnership model based on the complementarity of each other and limitation of the number of interlocutors to avoid the loss of customers. To do this, it is wise to scientifically develop a “Gains/Environmental Impact” matrix, with the possibility of identifying the profitability for each product, service, practice and technology.

For more information, consult the presentation links at the following address: https://youtu.be/INg36oCNc8A

 

WHEN IS INTEROPERABILITY RIGHT FOR MICROFINANCE?

Instant Payment Systems (IPS), the infrastructure systems enabling real-time, interoperable payments, continue to gain traction around the world. Solutions like Pix in Brazil, Raast in Pakistan and QRIS in Indonesia are changing the way users transact and expanding the horizon for what’s possible when it comes to payments.  

Policymakers are increasingly looking toward these systems to help advance financial inclusion goals. Often, this means a universal vision that sees the smallest microfinance organization or savings collective connected to the largest bank. For account holding institutions, this typically means allowing customers to make payments to other providers. For non-account holding institutions (e.g., MFIs), this means enabling digital disbursement and repayment from existing stores of value.  

Either way, the argument is simple: all institutions should benefit from the gains presented by real-time, digital payments. In other words, leave no institution behind. But is this the right strategy? New evidence from CGAP interviews with more than 40 small financial institutions (microfinance and rural) suggests a more complex picture.  

Not surprisingly, small institutions face the biggest capacity constraints. And while they often serve the poorest and most vulnerable customers, they also typically lack the financial and technical capacity to easily join instant systems. More importantly, the strategic alignment of joining a real-time payments infrastructure can vary greatly by institution. 

CGAP research suggests that small financial institutions typically fall into three categories related to their strategic and operational readiness for interoperability. 

Source : cgap.org

Newsletter – September 2022

MAIN ACTIVITIES OVER THE PERIOD

 

EDITORIAL

Dear Members,

The resume of work after the summer is always a busy time for MAIN Network. Thanks to our various summer training sessions, we continue to support the work of our partners and members of our network.

MAIN promotes the capacity building of Microfinance Institutions as much as it promotes the experiences sharing so that all together, we, actors of inclusive finance, can respond to the challenges of the sector collectively.

This newsletter is an opportunity for us to come back to the various training activities of the last months and to discuss topics of capital importance for the sector such as: ecological and social transition, Islamic finance, staff motivation mechanisms in MFIs, efficient management of MFIs, etc. Some participants who attended the training gave us their testimony and we thank them for their contribution.

Microfinance is at a crossroads and players must adapt to its ecosystem with new emerging paradigms. We are the agents of change of tomorrow’s microfinance. This newsletter highlights the changes in the sector which give it a new breath on the one hand with a focus on the different activities of MAIN on the other hand.

Capacity building for professionals in the microfinance sector remains our main concern and we hope to welcome many of you during our next training sessions.

Enjoy your reading

Mohamed ATTANDA

Executive Director

THE ACTIVITIES OF MAIN NETWORK DURING THE PERIOD JUNE-AUGUST 2022 ARE RELATED TO EST (ECOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL TRANSITION) INCUBATORS PROJECT, THEMATIC TRAININGS AND THE MASTER’S TRAINING IN MICROFINANCE.

 

EST Incubators Project: a model of collaboration between MFIs, MAIN and MSMEs (Medium and Small Micro Enterprises)

 

As part of the project entitled ” Inclusive finance in Africa facing the challenges of ecological and social transition: challenges and capacity building of African actors through an innovative and adapted training offer “, MAIN is experimenting an incubator model with two members institutions, namely Mutual ASJD and WAGES. The establishment of incubators allows MAIN to develop new skills for the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises wishing to engage in activities that contribute to EST: renewable energies, energy efficiency, waste recycling, etc.

The companies selected for this pilot are: Green Industry Plast Togo (GIP-TOGO) LLC, a company specializing in collecting, sorting and recycling of plastic waste, RUCHE/SETRAPAL, whose main activity is the drying and processing of organic food products, in particular the drying of pineapples and fresh mangoes and their marketing, EGENT TOGO, an Electrical Engineering and New Technologies company that supports companies, communities and individuals to have access to sustainable energy at an affordable cost and AgroSolutions and Development (ASD), a company that produces and markets organic soybean meal and oil, floating pellets for Tilapia and catfish, complete and complementary feed for poultry, ruminants and monogastrics.

The diagnosis of each MSME made it possible to identify the axes of intervention on which MAIN could support them and strengthen their organizational skills. Among others we can note:

  • Building a Business Plan
  • Analytical operating accounting
  • Digital Marketing and TES

Testimonial from a EST Incubator project company

We are a company specializing in the collection, sorting and recycling of plastic waste. The collaboration with MAIN network with the support of an Expert on Ecological and Social Transition (EST) issues has helped us a lot to improve our organization, particularly in  structuring our  business plan. This allowed us to highlight key indicators relating to EST. We had in-depth training on the business plan of a structure that is in EST and which takes into account his  parameters . We also had training on cost accounting. I admit that it is a tool for strategic decisions that I did not know at all. I did not know that apart from general accounting there is an accounting called analytical. But with this training and this technical assistance that we got from  MAIN , we came to know the meaning of cost accounting that we are putting in place in our structure. We are  able to identify the costs   associated with our products to know if they are profitable or not. The training really edified us and brought a lot to our institution. From this moment we will improve our way of doing things. We hope to continue benefiting from assistance from   MAIN  to allow us to become sustainable and competitive .

Mr Bemah GADO

Managing Director Green Industry Plast Togo

In addition to the classic themes that suit them, they must set up or diversify their businesses in the innovative theme of “Ecological and Social Transition”

For the project’s partner, it is an opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills in the design, creation and financing of products and services of an ecological nature. The micro-entrepreneurs will come out very tough from this experiment and will be able during the capitalization workshop to share their experiences, the lessons learned and the challenges encountered.

image

 

Cost accounting practice session at EGENT Togo

 

Strengthening the capacities of financial inclusion actors through appropriate training

Five thematic training sessions were carried out during the period respectively in Togo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia and Rwanda. These are three training sessions on Ecological and Social Transition (Togo, DRC and Rwanda), one training session on Motivation (Togo) and one training session on Islamic Finance (Ethiopia).

The trainings on Ecological and Social Transition were for the participants and their institutions an opportunity to understand that the major challenge for African MFIs is to offer new financial and non-financial services that allow microfinance to play its role in the context of the fight against the effects of climate change and in achieving the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). And to achieve this, MFIs must, with a forward-looking vision, professionalism and experience, be able not only to offer accessible products and services that meet the needs of their customers, but to do so under sustainable conditions of institutional viability, economic and environmental in order to meet both social and environmental challenges. Climatic variations and the difficulty of predicting them jeopardize the livelihoods of microfinance borrowers and threaten the future ability of MFIs to operate in rural areas. The challenge for MFIs is therefore to strengthen the resilience of rural economies through financial service strategies that are better suited to their members/customers.

Presentations, experiences’ sharing, group work were the basis of these training sessions which were very practical and participatory. The participants, at the end of the training, were equipped to:

  • Understand the concepts related to Ecological and Social Transition (EST) and be able to develop their first personal concept on EST.
  • Know why EST is relevant for their clients and for their institutions;
  • Know the main elements of EST and some existing projects and experiences;
  • Understand how to integrate EST into the operating mechanism of their MFIs.

Testimonial from a participant of the EST workshop in Rwanda

The training held in Kigali, Rwanda was an excellent training. The training was practical and the questionnaire designed by the facilitator is thorough and requires a lot of time for reflection and verification. Immediately after the training, we organized a meeting with our 32 agencies and also a meeting with the management. Our mission is to serve entrepreneurs and economically active people by providing environmentally friendly, innovative, sustainable, women-centered and quality financial and non-financial services to improve the livelihoods of society by filling the financial inclusion gap. “We are currently working on the revision of our business plan. Smart climate change is one of the major pillars of our new strategic plan. We are working on the triple bottom line by encompassing profit and people and contributing to the well-being of the planet (The Three Ps) Participating in this training helped us to revise and update our mission which takes into account the triple mission of MFIs.

Mr Tezera K. Bekele

Managing Director, Peace Microfinance S.C.

Ethiopia

Regarding the training workshop organized by MAIN on the theme: ” From work to performance: the motivation and commitment of executives to work in microfinance institutions apart from remuneration” , it enabled participants to understand that beyond the issue of salary which is of the greatest concern to the leaders of Microfinance Institutions when it is already an asset for the staff, they must strive to understand the human person as a whole and allow him to reconcile his private life and his professional life. The leader must know how to inspire trust to motivate by being the credible person that employees choose to follow with both character and competence. Leaders must have the ability to bring employees together around the common strategy of the organization and achieve results with and through others using disciplined processes and coach employees as needed to unleash the abilities of each member of the team, to improve their performance, solve problems and develop their careers.

Testimony of a participant in the Lomé workshop on motivation

I would first like to thank the organizer of this training ,  (MAIN) , the participants and especially the consultant. It is true that before arriving and I even expressed it from the first day that I am waiting to the end and   see  how  we can motivate without the salary. We are indeed at the end of the training and I understood that apart from the salary, there are other elements that must be taken into account in Human Resources Management.

Mrs. Huguette Valentine ADOUKONOU

Managing Director Africa Finances

As for the training on Islamic finance that took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it is part of the promulgation by the National Bank of Ethiopia (Central Bank) of the ‘Banking Proclamation No. 592/2008 which enabled conventional banks and MFIs wishing to do Islamic banking and open interest-free banking windows from 2011. In addition, Islamic banking has become a rapidly growing universal phenomenon in Muslim and non-Muslim countries alike.   Following an assessment needs of members in Ethiopia, it emerged that there was a need for training on this subject. It is in this context that MAIN has decided to organize this training to train and develop its members who have started interest-free banking or plan to do so in the near future to better manage the challenges of adopting interest-free microfinance.

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Group picture training on Islamic finance, Addis Ababa, Etiopia

 

The training allowed in a participatory approach, participants to acquire notions on the piloting, launching and supply of Islamic financial products, including its mechanisms, scope, new product development processes, delivery methodologies and its durability. They are now also able to explain and integrate organizational, operational, governance and regulatory factors in the development of Islamic microfinance products and services and identify appropriate sources of funding and build strategic partnerships with partners, development and promoters of Islamic Microfinance.

With a better understanding of its environment, its governance, its regulations, its supervision, the executives and managers of the microfinance institutions who participated in this training workshop are equipped to identify the main opportunities and challenges of the conversion or diversification towards Islamic microfinance.

The various evaluations of the trainings have revealed that, in view of the positive assessment which stems from the testimonies of satisfaction of the various participants, it can be deduced that the objectives of the training has been achieved.

 

Strengthen inclusive finance actors through universities programs

 

As part of its capacity building program, MAIN organized from August 07 to 28, 2022 the residential session of its Master’s program in Microfinance in Yaoundé. This program, which is jointly organized by MAIN in collaboration with UCAC, brought together for the 2022 edition, 35 participants from several countries (Togo, Benin, Cameroon, Mali, Guinea, DRC, Burundi, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Burkina -Faso, etc.).

 

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Group picture UCAC 2022

It was a real occasion of experiences sharing between inclusive finance players as shown in the testimony below

The training allowed me to acquire so much knowledge in various fields to better manage my organization that I have to prioritize the reorganizations that I will bring   and remain pragmatic so that the added value is very quickly visible.

The mix of professionals of  the field with university lecture  from UCAC gave a special touch to this training session rich in experiences and good practices sharing between participants andfacilitators.

I would like to thank MAIN for having set up a special program of this kind, thanks  to UCAC and to its trainers  who gave the best of themselves during the session. Thanks  to the organizers for this great initiative. I encourage MFIs who are still reluctant to join MAIN to do so because MAIN training is very enriching and practical. This is truly an opportunity to seize for the growth of our respective MFIs.

NDEMIGN Ngaradoum Akominassi

Executive Director of WAKILI SA, Social MFI in GUINEA

 

This training allows MFI executives to manage their institutions effectively and soundly and better equips them in several areas such as: management , financial analysis, governance, social performance management, strategic planning, internal control , management of information systems, etc. so that they can better meet the demands of a sector that is constantly developing and evolving.

During this session, 19 participants in Master 2 defended their preliminary dissertation project in front of a jury made up of professors from the university. Instructions have been given to each student for what he has to do with the dissertation itself. In terms of training logistics, significant improvements have been made for the 2022 session.

The participants left very satisfied with the organization of this training and the lessons learned during the session.

It should be recalled that this training, intended for managers of French-speaking MFIs, is  certified by a Master’s degree in management of MFIs. It has been organized since 2016 in collaboration with the Catholic University of Central Africa It  meant for managers and board members  of French-speaking MFIs, members or non-members of MAIN. Lasting 2 years, this master involves both academics and professionals from the sector. The training includes three weeks of classes per year on the premises of the UCAC face-to-face. Between the different sessions, the participants work on the platform on which they drop their work and interact with the teachers.

Newsletter – May 2021

SAVINGS AND CLIMATE RESILIENCE

A review of successes and challenges in current programming

Development programs are increasingly aiming to support populations already affected by the impacts of climate change through a variety of interventions that aim to strengthen climate resilience. Programs focused on inclusive finance are also designing interventions to reach development outcomes, and within those programs, there are considerable discussions on how savings can contribute to resilience more broadly.

This knowledge review provides insights from across the current literature and shares illustrative examples of programs and activities that are designed to increase climate resilience through the use of savings components. The review focuses particularly on successes and challenges in building up climate resilience, across three dimensions: disaster preparedness, response, and adaptation to climate change.

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CATALYZING WOMEN’S BANK ACCOUNT USE THROUGH COVID-19 RELIEF

Lessons from India on leveraging government transfers to drive women’s financial inclusion

In March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread worldwide, the Indian government undertook one of its largest relief initiatives to date. From April to June 2020, women customers in the government’s financial inclusion program, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), received a cash transfer of INR 500 (~ $6.85) per month. The initiative sought to mitigate potential loss of income as a result of the pandemic and bolster the overall financial security of women and their households.

Direct government transfers to women beneficiaries can contribute significantly to women’s financial inclusion by increasing access and usage of financial services. To see if this was happening in India, Women’s World Banking partnered with a leading public sector bank in India to assess the effect of COVID-19 relief payments on the account activity of approximately 318,000 women customers during lockdown. In this blog, we reflect upon key findings from our study and propose solutions which could help build women customers’ financial resilience amidst a global pandemic.

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MICROFINANCE IN EAST AFRICA SCHEMES-FOR-WOMEN-IN-THE-COFFEE-SECTOR

The coffee sector has a huge potential to contribute to poverty alleviation in East Africa, but the sector’s development is hampered by a lack of savings and credit facilities. Moreover, women’s access to financial services is even more restricted than that of men, and most women in rural areas continue to save in secret hiding places, and borrow from shops, agricultural input wholesalers or agro-vets. Microfinance in East Africa – Schemes for Women in the Coffee Sector aims to give an overview of the savings and credit landscape relevant to women engaged in the production and processing of coffee, particularly in Uganda and Kenya. It explains reasons for the limited microfinance coverage of women engaged in the sector, and provides suggestions to increase it. It also offers an easy overview of who-is-who in microfinance in East Africa with services targeted at women and the coffee sector.

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