13 May 2022

Starting 2013, the Foundation wanted to complement its approach with a targeted expertise intervention to strengthen the operational performance of its partners. For nine years now, we have been developing, coordinating and implementing technical assistance programs.

In this interview, you will discover the testimony of Victoire Binson, in charge of technical assistance, who explains her job and its impact.

In a few words, what is the Foundations technical assistance offer?

Technical assistance is an additional support mechanism for the Foundation partners. These may be microfinance institutions or social enterprises, the modalities of intervention are varied. It can be participating in training, support missions, but also co-financing for the acquisition of equipment. The Foundation plays a coordination and technical assistance role in the framework of programmes in conjunction with our technical and financial partners. Therefore, by the end of December 2021, it was almost 380 technical assistance missions that have been launched and coordinated by the Foundation.

What programmes did the Foundation develop?

The technical assistance offer of the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation kept on expanding since the launch of our historical program: the African Facility in 2008, which aims to strengthen small MFIs in rural areas. Since then, we have also launched a technical assistance programme financed by the government of Luxembourg and coordinated by the EIB, in order to build the capacity of microfinance institutions in sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, in Uganda, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and thanks to funding from the Swedish cooperation, we were able to enable refugee populations to access financial and non-financial services.

What are the technical assistance programmes of the Foundation that are open to Social Enterprises?

We also have other programmes open to social enterprises. First, the Solidarity Bankers programme, which aim to enhance the skills of Crédit Agricole Group employees and allows our partners, microfinance institutions and social enterprises, to benefit from pro bono missions in the field, in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Finally, we have one last programme that is called the SSNUP programme, whose objective is to strengthen the resilience of small producers and the structuring of agricultural value chains in Africa and Asia.

What are the main impacts of the programmes?

The Foundation has just published a report on its technical assistance programme, in which we identified three direct impacts. First, the technical assistance helps strengthen the operational performance of its partners. Secondly, technical assistance allows the development of new services such as digitalization or micro insurance. It also helps to reach new targets such as refugees. Finally, through its technical assistance programmes, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation promotes innovative practices and strengthens its ties with the main players of the inclusive finance sector.

What are the future projects?

Technical assistance is an integral part of the Foundation’s new 2022-2025 strategic plan, and is a major focus of its development. In 2022, we are also launching a programme with the International Labor Organization and financed by Proparco. It will enable us to support 12 of our microfinance institutions in Africa and Asia to develop micro insurance products. We have strong ambitions in terms of digital technology and resilience to climate change. And we are also working on setting up new support systems to help our partners deal with this major transition.

Watch the interview