CGAP's Pilot Microfinance Capacity-building Initiative in Africa: What Have We Learned?

Analyzing the rationale, objectives, costs and results of the Pilot Initiative

The initiative spanned East and West Africa and focused primarily on working with African training institutes to provide financial management courses to microfinance institutions (MFIs).

Its short-term objectives were:

  • Reinforce financial management and stocktaking within African MFIs;
  • Link African service providers to CGAP tools;
  • Expand CGAP knowledge base and disseminate information about service providers in Africa;
  • Set up an institutional framework for building a market for capacity building services in Africa.

The developed courses were:

  • Delinquency measurement and control, and interest rate calculation and setting;
  • Accounting for microfinance financial statements and analysis;
  • Business planning and financial projections;
  • Training of trainers -- adult education for financial management courses.

Lessons learned include:

  • Lack of competent service providers is the biggest bottleneck to the development of local markets for capacity building;
  • Choice of the local training institute/partner should depend on their orientation and motivation;
  • Marketing and logistical arrangements affect the quality of the courses;
  • Flexibility in the design of a capacity-building initiative is crucial for the success of a market-based approach;
  • When course scholarships are offered, they should not be managed by the training partner.

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About this Publication

By Helms, B., Isern, J. & D'Ambrosio-Vitale, N.