MFTransparency and the Association of MicroFinance Institutions of Zambia launch Initiative in Zambia
Sixth Country in the enabling APR & EIR Program
LANCASTER, PA & LUSAKA, ZAMBIA, May 31, 2011 – On June 6, 2011 MFTransparency and the Association of MicroFinance Institutions of Zambia (AMIZ) will co-host a workshop in Lusaka, Zambia to launch the Transparent Pricing Initiative in Zambia, the sixth country in the MasterCard Foundation-funded enabling APR & EIR Program.
In this workshop, Alexandra Fiorillo, Vice President of MFTransparency, will provide training on pricing transparency to a range of local industry stakeholders including microfinance institutions, regulators, funders and other support organizations. The event in Lusaka will mark the launch of the Transparent Pricing Initiative in Zambia, during which MFTransparency will collect and publish pricing data for microfinance products offered in Zambia. Through this Initiative, MFTransparency will facilitate discussion on issues related to pricing transparency as well as develop and disseminate financial literacy materials for microfinance clients.
The Transparent Pricing Initiative in Zambia will also mark the launch of the sixth country project in the broader enabling APR & EIR Program. The enabling APR & EIR Program is short for enabling Africa to Price Responsibly & Educate on Interest Rates. A client protection effort of unprecedented scale in Africa, the project will raise awareness of transparent pricing issues in Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, and Mozambique. The main objective of the enabling APR & EIR Program is to promote improved consumer protection principles through microfinance product pricing transparency. Launched in August 2010, Malawi was the first country of the enabling APR & EIR Program to begin the Transparent Pricing Initiative. The program has since expanded to Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana and South Africa, with data for Uganda and Rwanda forthcoming.
“We are excited to be partnering with AMIZ, a leader in the Zambian microfinance industry,” said Alexandra Fiorillo. “We believe AMIZ will play an important role in institutionalizing transparent pricing practices in the Zambian microfinance industry.”
The Association of MicroFinance Institutions of Zambia, in operation since 1998, has been a key driver of the development of the Zambian microfinance industry. Since its inception, AMIZ has focused on improving the policy framework for microfinance in Zambia and promoting best practices. Its core mission emphasizes the availability of information, and its membership represents more than 90% of clients in the Zambian microfinance market.
MFTransparency is a global initiative for responsible and transparent pricing in the microfinance industry. In each country included in its Global Transparent Pricing Initiative, MFTransparency collects data on the interest and fees charged on each microfinance loan product in order to calculate the accurate, true price (Effective Interest Rate) on those loans. Its intention is to establish the industry standard for pricing disclosure, and facilitate a fair exchange between suppliers and consumers of microfinance products.
MicroFinance Transparency is an international non-governmental organization founded in 2008 with the purpose of facilitating transparent markets through pricing disclosure, education and policy advisory. MFTransparency represents an industry movement toward transparent practices and responsibility. Based in the United States, the group has organized transparent pricing efforts in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Mali, Niger, India, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia and Peru. For more information please visit www.mftransparency.org. Grameen Bank’s Dr. Muhammad Yunus and Elizabeth Littlefield, former CEO of CGAP, as well as nearly 800 industry professionals and organizations have committed to transparent pricing by endorsing MFTransparency and its initiative. For information on MFTransparency staff, please see Who We Are.
About the Association of MicroFinance Institutions of Zambia
AMIZ was established in Zambia in 1998 as a formal association registered with the Registrar of Societies of Zambia . The organization was established in recognition of the problems and bottlenecks faced by the microfinance sector in Zambia. These included the inappropriate legislative environment, illiquidity in the microfinance sector and lack of positive representation of the microfinance industry in the country to avail best practice skills and knowledge in microfinance in the country. AMIZ consists of 24 microfinance institutions as members which are both commercial and social entities, as of 31st March 2011 representing about 1,000,000 active clients (urban and rural) which accounts for 90% of people receiving microcredit in Zambia. The vision of AMIZ is the creation of a viable and sustainable microfinance sector that contributes to poverty reduction in Zambia and that can be an engine of economic growth. The target group for AMIZ member microfinance institutions is mainly micro, small, and medium enterprises as well as individual employees of public and private sectors.
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