PROFIRA Vacancies Announcement

The Government of Uganda (GOU), represented by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED), with the support of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have jointly designed the Project for Financial Inclusion in Rural Areas – PROFIRA. This is a seven years project funded through a loan extended to Government by IFAD. The overall goal of PROFIRA is to contribute to Governments effort to increase incomes, improve food security and reduce vulnerability in rural areas. The development objective is to substantially increase access to, and usage of financial services by the rural poor population. PROFIRA aims to achieve its goal and objective through the implementation of three components: (a) SACCO Strengthening and Sustainability (b) Community Based Financial Services CSCGs and (c) Support toward the establishment of Policy and Institutional Support.

The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) hereby invites suitable candidates to fill the following available positions under PROFIRA.

PROFIRA-Vacancies-Announcement

Vacancy Announcement for Rural Finance Officer – AFRACA

Africa Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA) located in Kenya and a regional non-governmental organization established through a country Headquarters agreement signed with the Government of Kenya is recruiting a Rural Finance Officer for its Rural Finance Knowledge Management Partnership III (KMP III) project. KMP is rural finance knowledge management IFAD-funded grant programme that started operations in 2003. KMP targets IFAD programmes in East and Southern Africa (ESA). In collaboration with other partners’, KMP phase III has three components mainly: (i) Programme support & learning which provides capacity building and knowledge management support to IFAD-supported rural finance initiatives. (ii) Action-based research partnership which is pursued a partnership, African Economic Research Consortium (AERC). (iii) Knowledge and Information Partnership which aims to develop a virtual website for the increasingly commercialized agricultural sector and the needs of the financial institutions in Africa.

Applications are invited from suitably qualified and interested persons on this fulltime position of Rural Finance Officer to be based at the KMP office at the Shelter Afrique Building Mamlaka Road, Nairobi.

Vacancy Announcement for Rural Finance Officer – AFRACA

Vacancy Announcement Project Manager – PICO KN

PICO Knowledge Net Limited (PICO K-NET), a Kenyan company limited by liability wishes to recruit a Project Manager to manager its IFAD funded knowledge management (KM) initiative, IFADAfrica. IFADAfrica is an IFAD grant funded project which aims at strengthening knowledge management and learning at project and country programme levels in Eastern and Southern Africa Division. The overall purpose is to improve project management processes by fully integrating knowledge management into all aspects of project management, including M&E, financial management, supervision and reporting.
Applications are invited from suitably qualified and interested persons on this fulltime position of Project Manager to be based at the IFADAfrica office at the Shelter Afrique Building Mamlaka Road, Nairobi.

Vacancy Announcement Project Manager – PICO KN

Seven Guidelines for Measuring Impact Investing

The impact investing space is growing and benefitting an increasingly diverse array of areas including financial services, agriculture, healthcare, housing, energy, and more. Expanding too is the number of impact investing organizations incorporating impact measurement as part of their investment activities. As more players enter and the industry matures it’s even more important that the industry embraces the capture of impact data and assessment of progress against stated goals. This information validates the industry, helps investors manage investee companies, and improves investor and investee strategic decision-making. It also positions the industry to convince funders, especially new ones, to mobilize additional capital.

Last year the G8 created the Impact Measurement Working Group as part of its Social Impact Investing Taskforce. A few weeks ago the group released its “Measuring Impact” report, which includes seven guidelines for impact measurement and five case studies of how investing organizations have put the guidelines to good use. The initiative by the G8 reflects an elevated priority and the development of the industry.

The seven guidelines are adaptable across contexts and align with industry best practices, such as the European Standard for Social Impact Measurement. The report, guidelines, and case studies were developed through a six month research and consultative process which included a review of 60 industry publications and interviews with 45 experts and practitioners in impact measurement. Here are the guidelines with supporting information from the case studies.

Set Goals: Articulate the difference you seek to make. Clear, measurable goals define investor intent, guide action, and create a reference point for judging progress. Goals should link closely to the investor’s investment thesis or theory of value creation.

Bridges Ventures, a fund manager investing in education, transport, and health in the U.K. and U.S. co-develops impact goals with its investees. Bridge has four outcome themes (education and skills, health and well-being, sustainable living, and underserved markets), and each of its funds is designed to achieve specific impact objectives that align with one or more of them. These objectives help determine which impact indicators are employed. Bridge works with investees, including via collaborative workshops, to develop impact goals, and incorporate related indicators.

Develop Framework & Select Metrics: Determine what metrics you will be holding yourself accountable against. Crafting an effective framework with corresponding metrics will outline which data will be collected. Frameworks should include the logic of how data will be applied to the portfolio and should consider the needs of all stakeholders involved.

In 2013, the New York State government launched a Social Impact Bond to improve employment and reduce recidivism among high-risk, formerly incarcerated men. The metrics, developed with assistance from the law firm Jones Day and the Harvard Kennedy School, measured progress against: the average number of days incarcerated per person during the observation period; income in the fourth quarter following release from prison; and the number who started a transitional job during the observation period. The impact of the intervention is calculated using a randomly controlled trial (RCT).

Collect & Store Data: Collect and store the data you need to determine your progress. Best practices in data collection and management lead to improved data integrity, the ability to measure progress, and low reporting burdens. Planning data collection and management requires considerations for all parts of the data ecosystem – information technology, tools, resources, human capital, methods used to obtain and keep track of data, etc.

Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) invests in SMEs in 14 countries across Africa. I&P works with investees to put in place “sound ESG and impact data management procedures,” with an emphasis on reliable data collection and storage. Investees report impact data on an annual basis.

Validate Data: Validate that the data you collected is of sufficient quality. Data should be presented in such a comprehensive and digestible way that calculations can be checked and processes reviewed.

Oikocredit, based in the Netherlands and investing in microfinance globally, validates impact data at multiple levels. Regional managers validate country data before it is sent to the global office, which then validates the data again before it is approved for analysis. Ensuring that data is sound is needed to assess individual investments as well as portfolio performance. Oikocredit has also obtained third-party impact data validations, by M-Cril in 2009 and Planet Rating in 2013.

Analyze Data: Distill insights from the data you collected. Strong data analysis and findings can have a big role in steering investment decisions and determining how capital is allocated. Conducting analysis using standardized, objective processes helps findings be widely understood and actionable.

One Acre Fund supports small-scale farmers in East Africa by offering inputs, flexible financing and agricultural training. The impact goal of One Acre’s support is an increase in annual profit of $135 per farmer. One Acre analyzes results against this mark and also studies the data across districts, crop types, and countries to better understand agricultural dynamics and success factors.

Report Data: Share your progress with your key constituents. Progress reports should be evidence-based. Helping stakeholders understand progress and engage with an organization’s activities supports every step of impact investing.

Oikocredit provides performance reports, webinars, and workshops to its partners. The group also has a new dashboard and produces an annual Social Performance Report that shares aggregate partner performance against key metrics.

Make Data-Driven Investment Management Decisions: Identify and implement ways to strengthen your investments and operations. Incorporating data analysis findings as well as stakeholder feedback and recommendations on data can be a source for continuous improvement.

I&P conducts seminars twice a year with its investment teams where impact data and its implications for strategy and practices is discussed. Insights from these seminars might enable investees to achieve greater impact from their work and improve measurement approaches. They may guide I&P in seeking new investment opportunities that will further impact goals.

source: http://cfi-blog.org/2014/10/02/seven-guidelines-for-measuring-impact-investing/

 

 

TANZANIA: MOBILE PHONES SPEED UP FINANCIAL INCLUSION

The use of mobile phone money services has proved to be efficient means in speeding up financial inclusion, a senior official with the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) has said.

BoT Senior Legal Counsel Mr George Ben Sije said in an interview in Bagamoyo last week that the partnership between financial institutions and telecom companies has bolstered significantly the efforts to reach the under banked population in the country.

“The partnership between commercial banks and telecom firms is enhancing efforts to bring more people to the formal financial system,” he said while dismissing the possibility of conflict between banks and telecom firms as it happened in Kenya between Safaricom and Equity bank over thin-SIM technology.

The contention arose when the Equity bank announced it would roll out thin SIM cards which will be stuck on ordinary SIM cards to fit in the same slot. But Safaricom argued that the thin SIM can intercept data on transmission and will act as an unauthorised third party between it and subscribers.

According to Mr Sije, the situation is different in Tanzania because there is no right of exclusivity as that granted to Safaricom in Kenya to provide mobile money services.

In Tanzania all players, the banks and telecom firms could offer financial services provided all procedures are in place. In fact, he added, the partnership of the two sectors, financial and telecom is contributing immensely towards promoting financial inclusion.

The recent launch of M-Pawa avails banking services to small savers and borrowers through the mobile phone, hugely increasing the potential of expanding the reach of banking services to the previously under-banked.

The mobile phone services have also enhanced the use of financial services such as remittances to 33.1 per cent of adults, savings to 25.6 per cent of adults and payments of bills, fees and business transactions to 9.9 per cent of adults.

Further, agent banking business continues to grow, currently five banks offer their services through this channel with number of agents more than doubling to 840 in April 2014 from 304 in September 2013 when it was launched.

According to the 2013 FinScope survey, 49.9 per cent of adults used mobile money up from only one per cent in 2009.

Source: http://mobilemoneyafrica.com/content.php?id=1936

Global Islamic Microfinance Forum Ready to Set New Standards

Forum will be held in Dubai and delegates from 25 countries will participate into it
Lahore – 4th Global Islamic Microfinance Forum is going to be held on 1-2 November in Dubai to apply new standards in international Islamic microfinance organizations. The purpose of this forum is to generate new standards, dealing with Shariah issues, capability building and empowering the man power into this industry. Apart from other topics, role of IT in Islamic microfinance industry, rural development, Islamic micro insurance, employment opportunities, and micro entrepreneur will be the topics of discussion. This forum is organized by AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics (CIBE) and delegates from 25 countries are participating in this mega event.

Discussing the purposes of this forum, Mr. Muhammad Zubair Mughal, Chief Executive Officer, AlHuda CIBE said that Islamic microfinance is a dire need of today to fight against poverty in Muslim world. He added that non -Muslims can equally take benefit of Islamic microfinance with Muslims as this is neither a system nor a religion. It can be used as a powerful tool of financial inclusion. People remain restraint from interest in Muslim world so they lose the chance of financial availability. He said that it is proven in an international research that Islamic microfinance has more benefits than conventional microfinance and it is more suitable for poverty alleviation. Therefore, a best suitable product is available for the poverty alleviation in the world. There is only the need to explore new ways to use it.

Tanzania Microfinance Association, IRTI- Islamic Development Bank, Azerbaijan Association of Microfinance, Association of Microfinance in Tajikistan, Indonesia Microfinance association, Centre of Microfinance Nepal, Metropolitan Training Academy Turkey, Awaqaf South Africa, KFDDWB and many others  participating in this forum. This forum will be continued for two days with 2 days post event training workshop

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Rwanda’s central bank receives acknowledgement for promoting financial inclusion

Rwanda’s central bank has received the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Policy Award 2014 for its work promoting financial inclusion in the country. Its policies were hailed as “innovative and impactful”.

Governor John Rwangombwa tweeted after receiving the award that the accolade was in “recognition of Rwanda’s visionary leadership”, to which he attributed the success of the Umurenge Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Saccos) programme”, the New Times reports.

Umurenge Sacco was established in 2008 with the aim to boost up rural savings and provide Rwandans with loans to improve their earnings and enhance their livelihoods.

A total of 139 cooperatives under Umurenge Sacco have been awarded licences by the central bank to operate, Itezimbere reports.

These facilities have in just three years attracted over 1.6 million customers and serve, along with other microfinance institutions, almost the same number of customers as those of commercial banks, according to figures from the AFI.

Today, more than 90 per cent of Rwandans live within a five kilometre radius of the nearest Umurenge Sacco.

Commenting on the award, Gilbert Habyarimana, head of Umurenge Saccos at the Rwanda Co-operative Agency, said that “microfinance institutions and Saccos have enabled rural people to have access to financial services, save and lend to each other. This has led to the creation of jobs in the country as more people venture into different businesses with financing from Saccos,”.

Source: http://www.mfw4a.org/news/news-details/article/7/rwandas-central-bank-receives-acknowledgement-for-promoting-financial-inclusion.html

Lack of financial access holds back MSMEs growth in Tanzania

The large size of unbankable micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) remains to be a major impediment that holds back the sector’s contribution to economic growth as well as efforts to lift masses from abject poverty.

Figures from the Ministry of Industry and Trade shows that there are about 3.5 million SMEs in the country but the number has never been turned into an investment opportunity by the financial institutions whose core business is lending.

Instead, a fraction of only 7 per cent of the total number of MSMEs has access to finance. Official data from the National Financial Inclusion Framework report shows that the level of financial access for people in rural areas is merely 8.5 per cent compared to 23 per cent in urban centres.

There are currently over 50 banks in the country, but access to finance is a major constraint to growth of SMEs that could contribute immensely to creating more jobs as well as driving up the economy.

One of the arguments always raised by lending facilities including commercial banks and other financial institutions is based on the risks which could arise when dealing with MSMEs and wherever a loan is secured, the cost becomes high to the extent of making the business financing unprofitable.

Thus, barriers to inclusion include ‘the supply-side barriers range from high interest rates, services that don’t meet demand side needs, costs, to inefficiencies of service delivery’. On the demand side, he cited information asymmetry, irregular income patterns and financial literacy.

Structural and regulatory barriers include stringent or lack of proportionate requirements for client onboarding, lack of regulatory framework for broad-based micro-finance services, and a lack of centralised national identification system.

Speaking at the closure of the financial and investments services week held in Dar es Salaam recently, the Industry and Trade Minister Dr Abdallah Kigoda made a wakeup call for conducting training and sensitization seminars to SMEs.

The financial week was aimed at enhancing financial literacy and education, and enterprise development training to the general public. Dr Kigoda said such activities help in bringing services close to the people who are investors in nature. Dr Kigoda remarked further, many people think that investors are only those with large capital.

That is not true. Farmers, entrepreneurs and even SMEs are also investors. There is need to ensure that such groups have leadership which coordinates their activities and abide by ethics, adding that this will help to address a number of challenges petty traders.

The minister underscored the importance of hawkers saying a number of current big businesses have evolved from SMEs. The government has made a reality several initiatives to ensure SMEs access the necessary financial support including SME credit guarantee, Hire Purchase scheme, National Entrepreneurship Development Fund, Small Entrepreneurs Loan Facility (SELF), and Jakaya Kikwete Fund.

With all the government efforts, the private sector in particular banks and other lending institutions have not assumed fully the key role in ensuring SMEs and other groups in the society become bankable and access loans for economic development.

It is from this point of view that the government came out strongly challenging the lending institutions to bear risks and collaborate with the SMEs to bolster their capacity to do business as well as contribute to economic growth.

“It is high time that commercial banks and other financial institutions bear risks and scrutinize new ways of establishing business relations with entrepreneurs,” said the Industry and Trade Minister.

The state and non state actors should put more emphasis on using technological systems to give education better ways of introducing financial services to various investors working in the value chain.

Some investors in the value chain who are in need of financial service are in agriculture, livestock keeping, mines, forests, fishing and service sector.

More emphasis should aim at supporting value addition for the benefits of our economy. Since lending is one of the core businesses of most commercial banks and other financial institutions, it is high time for the lenders to re-think their way of doing business with SMEs so that they could contribute to government efforts to alleviate poverty as well as growth of the financial business.

Also, lending institutions should commission studies on how banks could deal with SMEs in the best way to ensure win win situation between them and contribute significantly to economic growth.

It is thus important to concur with Dr Kigoda on the call for the financial and research institutions to cooperate with the government to ensure that the technological innovations particularly on mobile phone is used to benefit more the SMEs in financial services.

Published on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 00:25

Written by BUSINESS STANDARD Reporter

Source: http://www.dailynews.co.tz/index.php/biz/36039-lack-of-financial-access-holds-back-msmes-growth

Rwanda: How Demonstration Farms Have Impacted Coffee Farmers

Celestin Hakizimana, 51, a resident of Giti Sector, Gicumbi District has been a coffee farmer for the last 30 years.

For a long time, however, he was earning peanuts – an average of Rwf100, 000 from his half-a hectare farm on a good season, only enough to enable him put food on the table and afford certain basics like clothing.

That was the situation until 2005 when Ocir Café (now the National Agricultural Export Development Board or Naeb) came into the picture. Then, Naeb started a coffee demonstration farm in the neighbourhood for local farmers to learn from the ‘centre of excellence’.

But they also provided coffee farmers around the area with free pruning equipment, seedlings and a field extension officer for technical advice.

“Since then my fortunes changed and I started registering far higher proceeds, nearly double the previous revenue. Thanks to Naeb support, I was able to expand my farmland to three hectares and I even planted another 500 coffee trees,” he said.

Today, Hakizimana says his farm accommodates about 2,000 coffee trees, which fetch him an average of Rwf800, 000 per season – eight times more than his previous revenue.

From the proceeds he has been able to construct himself a six-room house worth Rwf2 million, is able to pay his family’s health insurance premiums in time, was able to send all his three children to “good” schools – with one of them now a Masters graduate while the other two have graduated with Bachelor’s degrees.

“I have also bought two cows, which do not only give us milk but also manure for the farm,” he says.

Hakizimana adds that he has also bought another five hectares of land, where he plans to grow banana.

Best practices:

Mary Aline Uwizera, a Naeb coffee field extension officer in Gicumbi, says a number of programmes have been rolled out to boost coffee farming in the district.

For instance, between December 2013 and March 2014, her office gave out 186,000 seedlings, 80 litres of insecticide, pruning and spraying equipment worth Rwf950, 000 to farmers free of charge, she says.

Every year, she adds, the best coffee farmer in the district is rewarded with a cow, pruning and spraying equipment.

Felicien Bahizi, a Naeb coffee support production officer, in charge of Kigali and the Northern Province, says every village in his zone has a coffee demonstration farm, where residents learn best farming practices such as mulching, pruning, spraying and harvesting.

He explains that because of these efforts, coffee washing centres in the area have since grown from 19 to 23 (in the last five years).

Maurice Habiyambere, the operations manager of Project for Rural Income through Export (Price), a Naeb initiative, says about Rwf1.9 billion was dedicated to the project alone during the 2013-14 financial year.

Statistics from Naeb indicate that coffee acreage in the area increased by 10,000 hectares between 2013 and 2014, increasing the national acreage to 42,000 hectares.

And an estimated 10,000 farmers are said to have directly benefited from the various coffee demonstration farms countrywide in the same period. About 400,000 people are currently involved in coffee farming countrywide.

Farm gate price:

But Rwandan coffee farmers are not without challenges.

Hakizimana said the Rwf300 farm gate price currently being offered for a kilogramme of coffee beans is quite little compared to the energy and time invested.

“We would be happy if the prices were revised upwards, say to Rwf500 (a kilo),” he said.

He also complained about the Rwf20 charged by Naeb on every kilogramme of coffee sold – for fertilisers purpose.

“The rate charged remains the same even when market prices for coffee have fallen.”

Pascal Mudahinyuka, the Gicumbi District agent of Enas, a private coffee buying and processing firm, said farmers need to put in more effort and improve the quality of their coffee so as to fetch better returns.

Hakizimana also decried the prevalence of coffee berry borer, a pest that attacks the cash crop, especially during the dry season.

Coffee is arguably the second most traded commodity globally, after oil, but is highly vulnerable to price fluctuations dictated by economic conditions in major consuming countries and global supply trends.

“Coffee prices at the world market keep fluctuating week in week out; for instance, last Saturday (August 23) a kilogramme went for $4.25, while two weeks earlier it was at $3.7,” said Robinah Uwera , the Naeb director for marketing.

Naeb says the number of coffee washing stations in country increased from 2020 in 2013 to 229 in 2014.

In 2013, the country had an output of 18,300 tonnes of green coffee, earning about $53 million in exports.

Experts expect output to increase to 23,000 tonnes this year.

Last year, demand for coffee declined by almost 18 per cent globally, leading to a sharp fall in prices to as low as $2.66 per kilogramme of processed coffee beans.

Gakenke District in Northern Province won this year’s Cup of Excellence during a recent competition to recognise the best Rwandan coffee.

The event was organised by Naeb in collaboration with Alliance of Coffee Excellence; the Ministry of Trade and Industry; Development Bank of Rwanda; Starbucks; and I&M Bank.

Switzerland and the U.S are currently the leading consumers of Rwandan coffee.

By Ivan Ngoboka

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201408261029.html?viewall=1