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MFTransparency and the Malawi Microfinance Network to Launch the Transparent Pricing Initiative in Malawi

Published on July 20, 2010

First Country in the enabling APR & EIR Program

LANCASTER, PA & LILONGWE, MALAWI, July 20, 2010 – On August 31, 2010 MFTransparency and the Malawi Microfinance Network (MAMN) will co-host a workshop in Lilongwe, Malawi to launch the Transparent Pricing Initiative in Malawi, the first 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 will mark the launch of the Transparent Pricing Initiative in Malawi, during which MFTransparency will collect and publish pricing data for microfinance products offered in Malawi. Through this Initiative, MFTransparency will also 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 Malawi will also mark the launch of 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. It will include three major components: the collection and publication of pricing data, training on pricing transparency, and the development and dissemination of educational materials. For more information on the enabling APR & EIR Program click here.

“We are proud to launch the Transparent Pricing Initiative in Malawi in partnership with the Malawi Microfinance Network,” said Alexandra Fiorillo. “With an experienced and committed partner and a steadily growing microfinance market, Malawi will be a strong start to the enabling APR & EIR Program.”

“The Malawi Microfinance Network is excited about this development,” said Stewart Kondowe, Executive Director. “Working with MFTransparency on pricing issues will be a rewarding experience.” The Malawi Microfinance Network, in operation for more than ten years, has been one of the strongest drivers of growth in microfinance market in Malawi. Its activities focus on facilitating the exchange of information and experience between its members, capacity building and working closely with the government to develop legislation to further the sustainable development of the sector.

MFTransparency is a global initiative for fair 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.

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About MFTransparency

MicroFinance Transparency is an international non-governmental organization founded in 2008 with the purpose of facilitating transparent markets through the dissemination of true cost information to all market stakeholders. MFTransparency represents an industry movement toward fair practices and responsibility. Based in the United States, the group has organized transparent pricing efforts in Bosnia, Peru, Cambodia, Azerbaijan, Kenya, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Bolivia, Senegal, Burkina Faso and India. For more information please visit www.mftransparency.org.  Grameen Bank’s Dr. Mohammad Yunus and Elizabeth Littlefield, CEO of CGAP, as well as nearly 400 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 Malawi Microfinance Network
The Malawi Microfinance Network (MAMN) was started in 2001 in Lilongwe, Malawi and currently has 21 member institutions. MAMN’s mission is to facilitate the creation of an enabling environment for the development of a sustainable microfinance industry in Malawi through the participation of all stakeholders. To fulfill this mission, MAMN engages in a number of activities including information dissemination, capacity building, benchmarking and performance monitoring, advocacy and lobbying and resource mobilization. MAMN is also dedicated to client protection issues and has worked to establish a code of conduct to ensure that poor clients are protected against bad practices. MAMN partners with both local and international agencies to achieve its mission and currently impacts more than 800,000 borrowers and 400,000 savers.

For questions relating to this press release please contact:

Jordan Filko
MFTransparency
+1.973.868.8375
[email protected]

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