4 February 2022

In 2013, alongside the French Development Agency (AFD), the Foundation launched its first technical assistance programme: the African Facility. The objective of this scheme is to support small and medium-sized rural microfinance institutions, with a strong social impact, in Sub-Saharan Africa. Eight years after its launch, the Facility’s results bear witness to the importance of providing not only financial but also technical support to partner microfinance institutions.

Through the African Facility, the Foundation and the AFD have supported 26 microfinance institutions, which have themselves financed income-generating activities of more than 500,000 borrowers with average loans of €200. The programme, that allowed carrying out 328 technical assistance missions, has covered many areas of expertise, from the development of environmental strategies to the digitalisation of the credit granting process and the strengthening of the governance.

The Facility has strengthened the risk profile and consolidated partner institutions. Although it is complex to isolate the effects of technical assistance on the performance evolution, the Foundation was able to observe the impact of the Facility within the framework of “Our technical assistance offer“, a study carried out with the support of CERISE, an organisation specialising in impact measurement. It shows an overall increase in the number of active borrowers and outstanding credit, an improvement in operational self-sufficiency as well as efficiency gains for beneficiary institutions.

To close the programme, the Foundation organised in October 2021 in Kigali, on the sidelines of the African Microfinance Week, the last and 6th Facility Forum, gathering all the beneficiaries and partners. This was an opportunity to assess and highlight the best practices of the scheme.

Today, technical assistance is one of the Foundation’s key areas of expertise. What started as a single and beautiful adventure with the African Facility is today a set of six technical assistance schemes, with a €7.1 million portfolio under management in 2021. Being a vehicle for change and resilience, technical assistance is a strong line of development for the Foundation and will be an integral part of the 2022-2025 Strategic Plan.