Sinapi Aba wins Best Bank for Women Entrepreneurs Award

Sinapi Aba, has been adjudged the Gold Winner for the Best Bank for Women Entrepreneurs 2020 for the Global SME Finance Awards. Launched in 2018, the Global SME Finance Awards was set up to recognise the commitments and distinguished achievements of financial institutions and Fintech companies in delivering outstanding products and services to their SME clients.

In 2018, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation consolidated its presence in Sub-Saharan Africa by investing in particular in Ghana for the first time, where it financed three partners who account for 8.1% of the new loans granted that year. Sinapi Aba as one of them, has so far received from the Foundation a loan in local currency equivalent to €931,000.

Sinapi Aba is a microfinance institution created in 1994 in Ghana by Opportunity International to serve as an incubator that provides business development and income generating opportunities to economically disadvantaged people who can thereby improve their living conditions. Sinapi is a partner of the Foundation since 2018. Trough savings and loan products, Sinapi Aba promotes entrepreneurial development, particularly women entrepreneurship that represents 78% of its clients. The institution also contributes to the development of rural areas, as 76% of its clients launch income-generating activities in rural areas.

More information on Sinapi Aba here.

Crédit Agricole’s Solidarity bankers in images

Launched in June 2018 at the initiative of the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and Crédit Agricole S.A., Solidarity bankers is a skills volunteering programme open to all Crédit Agricole Group employees on behalf of microfinance institutions or social impact enterprises supported by the Foundation.

The aim of Solidarity Bankers is twofold: on one hand, it values the skills of Crédit Agricole Group employees who wish to get involved in solidarity projects and, on the other hand, it strengthens the support for microfinance institutions and companies financed by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation.

Two years after its launch, discover the testimonials and highlights of the missions in Senegal and Cambodia in 3 video clips that present the results of the programme.

First destination: Senegal

The programme’s first mission is emblematic: the mission led by Jonathan Michaud, an agricultural engineer from Crédit Agricole Franche Comté, in Senegal for La Laiterie du Berger. With the support of the Regional Bank, the Solidarity banker left for 2 years to help La Laiterie to structure the dairy industry in Senegal. Today, he is Director of KOSSAM SDE, the Dairy’s subsidiary created as a result of his mission, which contributes to structuring the milk sector in Northern Senegal by providing material resources and training to breeders and developing an innovative model of pilot “mini-farms”. It supports 1,230 local breeders, who have seen their income increase by more than 50% between 2018 and 2019.

Another mission was carried out in Senegal in 2020. Michèle Kouam, IT Project Manager at Crédit Agricole SA, left at the beginning of the year to support the Société Sénégalaise des Filières Alimentaires (SFA). Her mission was to work on digitizing the rice collection of SFA, a company that produces white rice from paddy grown by small farmers in the Senegal River Valley. By enabling access to credit, providing technical support and guaranteeing a fair price, SFA currently supports 3,200 small farmers and promotes the development of an inclusive rice sector in Senegal.

Heading to Cambodia

A final mission completes this record in images: the mission of François Galland, Head of International HR at Crédit Agricole SA, to the microfinance institution Chamroeun. François worked for 2 weeks on Chamroeun’s Human resources strategy. The institution offers financial products and services to more than 33,000 low-income people in Cambodia, who are also supported with a range of training and social support services.

What’s next?

Since the launch of the programme, 20 missions have been launched, 12 of which have been carried out. For the first missions launched in 2020, the selection process has been finalized, but two mission are still to be filled in Morocco and Egypt.

With Solidarity Bankers, the Regional Banks and Crédit Agricole entities in France and abroad are stepping up their actions in favor of inclusive finance and strengthening the human and social projects of the Group/PMT 2022 Strategy.

See the video of the 3 missions

Event: Lidia, entrepreneur supported by Solidarity Cents

SOLIDARITY CENTS

Launched in 2018 by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, Crédit Agricole SA and CA Centre-est, Solidarity Cents aims to finance entrepreneurial projects by mobilizing Crédit Agricole employees, who are invited to make a donation of 50 cents when they pay for their meals in the restaurants of Crédit Agricole Campuses.

Entrepreneurs du Monde, NGO financed also by Fondation Crédit Agricole Solidarité et Développement, has been the beneficiary of the operation since the first edition. The NGO has already received €15,651 to strengthen the ICI (Incubation, Creation, Inclusion) programme, which supports entrepreneurship projects for refugees, single parents and homeless people in Lyon. In 2 years, more than 100 people have been guided to structure their entrepreneurial projects.

2020 will be the 3rd and final year of support for Entrepreneurs du Monde, which will receive an additional €11,000 in subsidies.

MEETING LIDIA

To close the 3rd edition of Solidarity Cents, the Foundation and Crédit Agricole welcome Lidia, an Italian entrepreneur supported through the operation, to CA Campus in Montrouge on October 29th, 2020.

Arrived in France 12 years ago, Lidia is an Italian entrepreneur, mother of 3 children and beneficiary of the RSA. Thanks to the support of Entrepreneurs du Monde through ICI programme, she was able to create her own catering service. The next step: bringing an old grocery store to life in Lyon, in a street steeped in history with Italy.

Come to share with Lidia and taste her culinary specialties!

Event reserved exclusively for employees of the Crédit Agricole Group.
To register, contact carolina.viguet@credit-agricole-sa.fr

Three Solidarity bankers missions are available

Launched by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and Crédit Agricole S.A, Solidarity bankers is a skills volunteering programme open to Group employees for microfinance institutions or impact businesses. The objective of this programme is twofold: it is a way of acknowledging the skills acquired by Crédit Agricole group employees and provides additional support to microfinance institutions and partner companies of the Foundation. Thanks to this scheme, the Crédit Agricole group reiterates its commitment to support employees’ solidarity initiatives.

Missions to be filled!

1. “Financial Audit / Reporting” mission for Kossam in Senegal

A subsidiary of Laiterie du Berger, Kossam’s mission is to develop an inclusive and sustainable dairy industry in Northern Senegal. Created in 2019, after a Solidarity Bankers mission, Kossam collects milk from 450 local breeders, to whom it provides market services (food, fodder), advice and training. The Solidarity bankers mission [which could be carried out by 2 Solidarity bankers] aims to support Kossam and Laiterie du Berger in strengthening the financial team and reporting. Depending on the health context, the mission will be carried out at the end of 2020 or early 2021 in Senegal.

2. “Fundraising” mission in favor of PPSE in Cambodia

Phare Performing Social Enterprise (PPSE) is a Cambodian social enterprise created in 2013 that produces circus shows and has recently launched an animation and graphic design studio. PPSE employs art graduates from PPSA, a non-profit organization that supports underprivileged children and youth. An online Solidarity bankers mission will aim to consolidate the new PPSE business plan (developed in response to the Covid-19 crisis) and to support a fundraising and merger process. The mission is planned for the last quarter of the year.

3. “Human resources” mission in favor of Oshun in Senegal

Created in 2018, Oshun is a social enterprise that provides quality water services for the most vulnerable populations in rural Senegal. As part of a structuring process after a strong development, a Solidarity bankers mission will help simplify Human resources management, recruitment and general management. The mission is planned for the last quarter of the year in Senegal, but the calendar will depend on the context generated by the Covid-19.

How to apply?

  • Click on the link “Find a project
  • Enter in the the search bar: “Fondation Grameen”. All the Solidarity bankers missions will appear!
  • Click on the offer of your choice, you will find all the information requested for your application.
Contact: Carolina VIGUET
Head of Communication & Partnerships
carolina.viguet@credit-agricole-sa.fr

Solidarity bankers: a new mission in Senegal

Launched by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and Crédit Agricole S.A, Solidarity Bankers is a skills volunteering programme open to Group employees for the benefit of microfinance institutions or impact businesses. The objective of this programme is twofold: it is a way of acknowledging the skills acquired by Crédit Agricole group employees and provides additional support to microfinance institutions and impact companies supported by the Foundation. Thanks to this scheme, the Crédit Agricole group reiterates its commitment to support employees’ solidarity initiatives.

What are the Solidarity bankers missions?

International volunteer assignments are available to employees on behalf of microfinance institutions or social impact companies supported by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation.

The missions are carried out within the framework of philanthropy or volunteer work. Crédit Agricole S.A. covers airline ticket and insurance. The beneficiary institution pays any internal transport costs, catering and accommodation expenses. The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation will prepare and coordinate the mission.

Since the programme was launched in 2018, fourteen missions have been carried out, both in volunteering and in skills sponsorship.

A mission to fill!

A ten-day field mission in terms of HR support is to be provided to Oshun in Senegal for the last quarter of 2020.

Oshun Senegal was created in March 2018, shortly after its parent company Oshun in France. Oshun proposes inclusive solutions allowing the most sensitive populations access to water while promoting the establishment of a virtuous and community-based local ecosystem. The company distinguishes itself by its innovations in terms of rural development, connectivity and water treatment.

Oshun Senegal has grown from 1 to 20 employees in just over 2 years (June 2018 – August 2020). Oshun Senegal is completing a process of structuring with the recruitment at the end of August of an Administrative and Financial Manager (AFM) whose mission will be to manage all the support functions of Oshun Senegal (accounting, finance, HR, logistics, purchasing) and allow the company to gain administrative autonomy from the parent company.

Mission objectives:

  • Organization and training of the team
  • Definition and mastery of HR rules and processes
  • Implementation of monitoring tools

How to apply?

  • Click on the link “Find a project
  • Enter in the the search bar: “Fondation Grameen”. All the Solidarity bankers missions will appear!
  • Click on the offer of your choice, you will find all the information requested for your application.

Contact

Carolina HERRERA
Head of Communication & Partnerships
carolina.herrera@credit-agricole-sa.fr

A Solidarity banker in Kenya

By Eva Hoglund, CFO at EFL (Poland)

Launched by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and Crédit Agricole SA in June 2018, Solidarity Bankers is a skills volunteering programme aimed at all Crédit Agricole group employees for the benefit of microfinance institutions or impact businesses supported by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation. Read the interview with Eva Höglund, Crédit Agricole’s Solidarity banker, who left for Kenya in 2019 to support Musoni, a microfinance institution funded by the Foundation.

Beginning of the adventure

When I discovered the Solidarity bankers mission in favour of Musoni, a microfinance institution in Kenya, it was immediately obvious to me: it was made for me. The objective of the mission was to accompany Musoni in the implementation of a strategic planning and monitoring system. Not only it was a beautiful solidarity and sharing mission, in a country that I did not know, but I also had the impression that the qualities and experience requested were a description of my own professional career. I immediately gathered as much information as possible about Musoni and the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation.

Soon after I applied, I was informed that my application had been accepted and I immediately started preparing my mission. The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation team was very supportive during this first phase: together we established the mission’s objectives and agenda. This was followed by reading sessions of Musoni’s presentation documents and strategic plan.

During the summer preceding the mission, I also had numerous exchanges and conference calls with Musoni to ensure that we shared the objectives and had a common vision of the working method to be followed. From my point of view, good preparation is essential and this phase was the key to the success of my mission.

Heading to Kenya

On 26 October 2019, departure for Kenya for a 15-day field mission. I was leaving for a mission in line with my skills and knowledge of the microfinance sector, but in a structure and cultural context different from my daily life. It was therefore not without a little apprehension that I landed in Nairobi. The welcome I received from David Camara, Investment Advisor at the Foundation, who I had previously met in Montrouge, was reassuring.

On Monday morning, we started with the meeting to launch the field mission with all Musoni’s employees who were going to contribute to establishing the strategic planning and monitoring mechanism. The presence of Stanley Munyao, CEO of Musoni, and David, representing the Foundation, was important to underline the importance of the project. Musoni gave itself all the means to succeed by sending Amina Jaberney, a consultant who was going to accompany me during my field mission in order to ensure afterwards the operational implementation once my mission was over.

During the first week, Amina and I conducted interviews with Musoni’s management, as well as agencies’ employees. We compiled the key points to remember and translated them into vectors consistent with Musoni’s mission and vision. The second week consisted of validating and ensuring the adherence of Musoni’s teams to the proposed strategic management system. In order to ensure that the mission was going according to expectations, we held Steering Committees with the CEO every 2 days. On my last day in the field, we were able to present a complete set of the system validated by Musoni’s management.

Back to Paris

Once my mission was over, Amina took over with Judy Ndungu, Musoni’s Human Resources Director. The final implementation meeting, gathering all the employees, was held on 13 July 2020. The performance evaluation of the first half of the year will be carried out based on our work. What a satisfaction!

I am very pleased to have taken this opportunity offered by Crédit Agricole and the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation. This assignment will remain an unforgettable experience. It allowed me to experience from the inside how a microfinance institution operates in a fast-changing market. I met some very nice people and I am proud of the result we were able to achieve, together, in such a short period.

Newsletter #36 to download here

The Foundation publishes the Newsletter N.36

The Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation publishes its Newsletter N.36. The end of July marks the fifth month of the global health and economic crisis. All countries have been affected but, like the impact of extreme weather events, the health crisis is profoundly unequal in that it affects the most vulnerable populations most severely.

Since the end of February, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation’s teams have been working on several major initiatives. First, we have established a rapid and ongoing dialogue with the organisations we support so that we can understand the effects of the crisis, the measures taken and their needs accordingly. Secondly, we have adapted our monitoring and analysis tools and our requests for information, particularly with regard to business continuity plans and short-term cash flow plans. At the same time, we led an international coordination of lenders and players in inclusive finance to act together, in consultation, to prevent any liquidity shock that would have destabilized the sector. Finally, we regularly published articles on the Covid-19 Observatory and on social networks to share our analyses and inform stakeholders.

Five months after the beginning of the crisis, we feel that this first wave has been well managed by the microfinance institutions, which have all shown great professionalism. We would also like to highlight the remarkable support and attentiveness of our own financiers: Agence Française de Développement, Proparco, the European Investment Bank, Crédit Agricole and its entities Crédit Agricole CIB and Amundi. The sector’s remarkable resilience has undoubtedly been strengthened thanks to these concerted and convergent actions between donors and microfinance institutions operating in all parts of the world.

In this edition of the Newsletter, you will discover, among other things, details of the International Coalition coordinated by the Foundation in response to the Covid-19 crisis and two projects that we launched during this complex period: the new website and the Foundation’s first Impact Report. This new website and this Report are yours: administrators, the Grameen network, the Regional Banks and Crédit Agricole entities, donors, technical partners and supported organisations. It is also our way of paying tribute to you.

We continue to monitor closely the effects of the health crisis and our mobilization, on which you know you can count, is constant.

Download the Newsletter N.36 here.

The cooperative capital company: a model for the “World after” Coronavirus

By Éric Campos , CEO, Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation & Bagoré Bathily, Chairman and CEO, Laiterie du Berger

The global shock of 2020 shows the absolute necessity to rethink our economic system. Health and climate emergencies no longer leave us any choice. Without structural change, the risks of social, political or environmental tensions will become more and more important every day.

We would like to submit the idea of a socially different model of company for the collective discussion: the cooperative capital company, a company whose capital remuneration is shared by and between shareholders and employees thanks to an arrangement under which employees receive part of the dividends directly when there is a payout. The ownership of capital is a factor of exclusion of populations, particularly with regard to the younger generations — the labour force. If we wish to build a sustainable and harmonious future, it is crucial to resolve the issue of a fair redistribution of the value created by growth and therefore by the company.

Today, capital is owned by the shareholders and leveraged by the employees. Their fates are inextricably related, yet no direct link really exists between them. We think it is possible to bring them together by establishing a convergence of their interests, thanks to new rules where employees become usufructuaries of part of the company’s capital. The shareholders provide the funds, the employees deliver the added value. And finally, everyone deserves their share.

The idea is there. It may sound iconoclastic but it is realistic in fact, i.e. a company whose dividends are now shared between shareholders and employees in a fundamental way by giving employees a share in the use of the capital.

This is what we call the cooperative capital company. In order to become one, the company must include a special provision in its articles of association that allows for employees to receive a share of the profits if dividends are triggered. It thus grants them a place as usufructuary shareholder. For their part, the shareholders remain equity holders and owners of the shares, but with the difference that they opt to become bare owners for a specific part of the capital, the yield value of which they transfer to the collective wage earners. To that end, they must accept a reduction in the nominal value of their share – for example through the effect of a capital increase by issuing securities – and transferring the difference to those who “manufacture growth” —  the employees. Idealistic? Astonishing? Bizarre? Far from it.

The shareholder-investor must admittedly bear a certain “cost.” He is asked to pay a sort of “ticket of admission” to productive capital. But there is nothing confiscatory about this. With no loss of ownership, he opts to invest in another form of value: human beings. His wager is that, supported by reinforced cohesion, the company will be able to grow better and be better valued in the long term. It is an entrepreneurial reasoning of dynamic reconciliation.

Such a system has many advantages. For employees, it obviously provides direct access to a new channel for redistributed value in a spirit of socially equitable cooperation. This is essential in a global context where the gap between the richest and the middle classes has been widening steadily in recent decades.

For shareholders, there is an innovative pre-emptive role so that labour value can be included in the creation of capital wealth, thus giving investment an entrepreneurial and societal dimension beyond its financial purpose. It has been shown that investments that are steered in environmental, social and governance terms (ESG criteria) have performance potential – and above all a future.

Finally, for companies, and in particular those whose projects are part of a corporate social responsibility mission, this is an instrument of resilience. They put themselves in the position of no longer considering employment as an adjustment variable but rather as a legitimate, structuring gene. By accepting to put shareholders and employees on equal footing, a new balance and a promising dialogue will be established. It is, in a way, the City that enters the Company.

The cooperative economy has long been a response to the excesses of the times it goes through. Its longevity can be explained by its capacity to adapt and hybridize. It has sprung many branches. Our proposal is a current translation, a step aside, a bud on the tree.

The cooperative capital company goes far beyond the mechanisms of profit-sharing and employee participation, which consist of paying a bonus linked to the enterprise’s performance or representing a share of its profits. Cooperative capitalism acts on the cornerstone of the company and its capital, by having the stakeholders share responsibilities. The wage earners join the ranks of shareholders whose governance is part of a process of openness and convergence of interests, without sacrificing their prerogatives. Transparency in terms of social and environmental impact is imperative for the cooperative capital company, whereby the instrument consists of the measurement and control of what is known as extra-financial performance as well as the publication thereof.

We can see in social businesses or mission-based enterprises in which we intervene as managers or directors the extent to which the concern for economic inclusion pushes the company to combine its interests with those of its ecosystem. This is true in many places around the world where we are involved, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where we work with livestock farmers and agri-food chains. Economic inclusion is unquestionably a way to pursue in order to restore to human societies the enlightened paths and hope they need. There is no utopia in such vision, but the free and civic conviction that the world cannot be built otherwise than with and for each other.

Read the complete article here

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Éric Campos is the General Manager of the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, a foundation specializing in microfinance and social entrepreneurship, and Head of CSR at Crédit Agricole S.A. Bagoré Bathily is the founding Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of La Laiterie du Berger, a social business that promotes the dairy industry in Senegal.
(Co-editor: Julien Foulc)

Covid-19 affects microfinance institutions of different sizes in different ways

@Designed by pikisuperstar / Freepik

ADA, Inpulse and the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation have joined forces to closely monitor and analyse the effects of the COVID-19 crisis among their partners around the world. This monitoring will be carried out periodically throughout the year 2020 with the purpose of evaluating the evolution of the crisis. Through this constant and close analysis, we hope to contribute, in our own way, to the structuring of strategies and solutions tailored to the needs of our partners, as well as the dissemination and exchange of information among the different actors in the sector.

The results presented in this article come from the second wave of a joint (1)survey by ADA and Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, Inpulse having decided to join the initiative for odd-numbered waves. The responses were collected from 18 June to 1 July from 108 microfinance institutions (MFIs) based mainly in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC, 46%), Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA, 29%), Asia (14%) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA, 10%), with a single MFI from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This panel of respondents spans a relatively diverse range of MFI sizes, with 49% of Tier 2 MFIs,(2) 35% of Tier 3 MFIs and 16% of Tier 1 MFIs. Figure 1 shows their regional distribution.

Figure 1. Respondents by region and tier

MENA Tier 2

In short:

The latest wave of the survey reveals that the crisis faced by MFIs has laid bare the structural strengths and weaknesses specific to their sizes: the biggest MFIs (Tier 1) appear better equipped to overcome the financial difficulties resulting from the health crisis and epidemic containment measures, as well as to take crisis management measures and make use of the specific measures put in place by local authorities. Smaller MFIs (Tiers 2 and 3), on the other hand, are more likely to offer their clients non-financial services to help them cope with the situation and are eager to continue developing non-financial services in the future. More generally, if they are considering launching new products or services, it is mainly to meet the needs of their clients rather than following their strategy or reducing risks. While big MFIs appear to be more resilient in times of crisis, small ones are also rising to the challenge and staying true to their powerful social mission. This is a real strength for these institutions, which should not be neglected in favour of more autonomous structures during the current crisis.

The biggest MFIS are less exposed to financial difficulties…

Since June, epidemic containment measures have been relaxed in certain regions, particularly Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, the operational difficulties faced by microfinance institutions have ebbed in these regions since May,(3) but they are still very much present in Latin America and the Caribbean, where containment measures are still in place and a higher percentage of MFIs still find it difficult to move around, meet clients in agencies and, therefore, to disburse loans and collect loan repayments, as can be seen in Figure 2. For example: 76% of MFIs in the Latin America and the Caribbean region report that their staff is finding it difficult to move around, compared to 23% in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Figure 2. Operational difficulties faced by MFIs by region:

As explained in our previous article, these operational difficulties are having an impact on the portfolio and its quality in all MFIs. However, the resulting financial difficulties vary by MFI size. Overall, the biggest MFIs are less likely to face these types of problems, with lower percentages of Tier 1 MFIs reporting difficulties in repaying funders (12% versus 22.5% of Tier 2 and 3 MFIs), insufficient equity capital to cope with the crisis (6% versus 29% of Tier 2 and 3 MFIs) or lack of liquidity (2% versus an average of 29% of Tier 2 and 3 MFIs), as can be seen in Figure 3. Tier 1 MFIs appear better equipped to absorb the impact of the crisis on their financial situation.

Figure 3. Financial difficulties faced by MFIs by size

Although an increase in the portfolio at risk is the main difficulty faced by all MFIs, this increase varies by MFI size. Tier 1 MFIs have experienced smaller increases than other MFIs, as can be seen in Figure 4: only 12% of Tier 1 MFIs report that their portfolio at risk at 30 days has doubled or more than doubled compared to end 2019, versus 44% of Tier 2 MFIs and 57% of Tier 3 MFIs. In contrast, 35% of Tier 1 MFIs report a stabilisation or decrease in this indicator, versus 17% of Tier 2 MFIs and 8% of Tier 3 MFI.

Figure 4. Changes in the PAR30 of MFIs compared to end 2019 by MFI size

…and more likely to implement crisis management solutions…

The governments of most countries have taken measures to help microfinance institutions to weather the crisis. However, not all MFIs are benefiting from these measures. While the exact percentages vary from one region to the next, probably due to differences in the communication and implementation of these measures (e.g. MFIs in Asia are more likely to report making use of a certain number of measures), geographic location does not appear to be the sole determining factor for making use of certain government measures: bigger MFIs are also more likely to benefit from them, as can be seen in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Government measures from which MFIs have benefited by MFI size

This size effect is real because it cannot be explained by a specific distribution of MFIs by region. For example, when it comes to rescheduling or cancelling the payment of taxes and the non-provision of loans affected by COVID-19, a regional analysis shows that MFIs in Asia are more likely to benefit from these measures despite Tier 1 MFIs being in the minority in this region. Similarly, when it comes to liquidity lines, MFIs in Sub-Saharan Africa are among the most likely to benefit from them despite Tier 1 MFIs being few and far between in this region. As for the operational and crisis management measures implemented, the types of measures again vary by MFI size (Figure 6): For example, 100% of Tier 1 MFIs in the sample restructured client loans, versus an average of 69% of other MFIs. They are also more likely to engage with supervisory authorities to explore the possibility of suspending prudential regulations during the crisis. In contrast, Tier 3 MFIs are less likely to use their liquidity plans or implement new digital solutions.

Figure 6. Operational and crisis management measures taken by MFIs by size

…while small MFIS continue to focus on their clients’ needs

In contrast, despite facing significant challenges, the smallest MFIs continue to focus on their clients’ needs: for example, they are more likely than Tier 1 MFIs to have surveyed their clients to better understand the impact of the crisis (Figure 7). On the other hand, although they were less likely to disburse emergency loans to their clients, they were more likely to implement measures that went beyond their core business to better meet the needs of their clients during the health crisis. For example, more of these MFIs launched hygiene awareness campaigns on hygiene or provided clients with emergency kits. Bigger MFIs were less likely to offer these types of direct services to clients, instead forging partnerships with specialised
organisations.

Figure 7. Crisis response measures for clients by MFI size

More Tier 1 MFIs reported interest in launching new products or services in the medium term; as shown above, these MFIs have fewer financial constraints and, therefore, more room for manoeuvre in this regard (Figure 8). More specifically, while few MFIs overall are planning to launch microinsurance products in the future, Tier 1 MFIs are the most likely to do so. They are also more likely to want to increase their focus on agriculture or launch new digital products and services. The smallest MFIs, on the other hand, also want to start offering non-financial services such as financial literacy and business development services.

Figure 8. New products, services or markets that MFIs wish to develop in the medium term, by size

The motivations for MFIs to focus on new markets or develop new products or services also vary by size (Figure 9): Among those that reported wanting to launch at least one new product or service and stated their motivations (76 out of 108 respondents), the desire to meet the new needs of clients and/or follow new market trends was more frequent among Tier 3 MFIs than among MFIs in other tiers. In contrast, there are fewer that base this choice on following their strategic plan or striving to reduce risks.

Figure 9. Main motivations for MFIs to focus on new markets, products or services by size

The focus of the smallest MFIs on their clients’ needs will probably become one of their strong points during this crisis.

_____________________________________________________________________________

(1) The results of the first wave of the survey of ADA, Inpulse and the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation’s partners
can be found here: //www.findevgateway.org/paper/2020/06/beyond-difficulties-posed-covid-19-crisis-newopportunities-are-emerging-microfinance
(2) Tiers are defined according to the value of their total assets: over USD 50 million for Tier 1, USD 5 to 50 million for
Tier 2 and under USD 5 million for Tier 3.
(3) See the results of the first wave of the survey, available via the above link.

Crédit Agricole and Dai-ichi Life partner to support microfinance and gender finance

©Philippe Lissac

May 14, 2020. Of the 1.7 billion adults worldwide who are unbanked, women are overrepresented: about 980 million do not have an account, 56% of the world’s unbanked (World Bank). That is the target population of the microfinance sector, which provides a set of financial products and services to people excluded from the banking system.

To support the development of microfinance and gender finance, the Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company Limited, Crédit Agricole CIB, Tokyo Branch, and the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation have set up an innovative scheme. The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company has invested 2 billion Yen in a 10-year Microfinance and Gender Loan scheme by Crédit Agricole CIB, which will benefit the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation to support microfinance institutions focusing in women and social enterprises in rural economies of developing countries.

This is the first ever Microfinance and Gender Loan scheme arranged by the Crédit Agricole Group. “This one of a kind transaction is a perfect illustration of the ambitions of the Group’s Project 2022. It reaffirms our customer-focused model and our efforts to provide innovative solutions to our Asian clients, while strengthening our commitment to responsible investment”, says Michel Roy, Senior Regional Officer for Asia-Pacific of Crédit Agricole CIB.

With this partnership, Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company reinforces its commitment to high social impact investments. “We are honored to financially support the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and its action in favour of women financial inclusion and entrepreneurship in developing countries. As a responsible institutional investor, Dai-ichi Life will continue an active engagement in ESG investment and contribute to forming sustainable social framework around the world”, affirms Tetsuya Kikuta, Director, Managing Executive Officer of the company.

For the Foundation, it is a great opportunity to strengthen its action in developing countries. Alongside Crédit Agricole CIB and Dai-ichi Life, we will step up our support for women empowerment through microfinance and female entrepreneurship. It is a real pride for the Foundation to be part of this innovative and unique partnership in the history of the Crédit Agricole Group”, says Eric Campos, CEO of the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation.