MFTransparency to Launch the Transparent Pricing Initiative in Togo and Benin
LANCASTER, PA, USA January 12, 2011 — MicroFinance Transparency (MFTransparency) will expand the Transparent Pricing Initiative in West Africa to Togo and Benin this month with a workshop in Lome on January 18 and Cotonou on January 25. The Transparent Pricing Initiative in West Africa, sponsored by Luxembourg Cooperation, is focused on promoting transparent pricing and consumer protection in microfinance throughout the countries of West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).
In this workshop, MFTransparency Vice President Alexandra Fiorillo will provide training on pricing transparency to a range of local industry stakeholders including microfinance institutions, regulators, funders and other support organizations. These events will mark the launch of the Transparent Pricing Initiative in Togo and Benin, during which MFTransparency will collect and publish pricing data for microfinance products offered in each country. 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.
Strategic implementation partners in this effort include MFTransparency’s regional partners INAFI (International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions) and AFMIN (The African Microfinance Network). In Togo MFTransparency will partner with APIM-Togo (L’Association Professionnelle des Institutions de Microfinance du Togo), and in Benin with FNM (Fonds National de la Microfinance du Bénin) and The Consortium ALAFIA (Association Professionnelle des Systèmes Financiers Décentralisés du Bénin).
The launch of this project in Togo and Benin will also mark the expansion of the Transparent Pricing Initiative in West Africa. This Initiative is focused on 8 countries in West Africa: Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Niger, in addition to Togo and Benin. These eight countries have been selected for their growing microfinance industries and their close partnership under the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). In July 2010, MFTransparency launched the Transparent Pricing Initiative in Senegal and Burkina Faso, and is now completing the data collection phase of these projects. As the industry leader in microfinance pricing methodology and transparency, MFTransparency will facilitate training on costs and pricing of microloan products, pricing data collection and publication, and the development and dissemination of educational materials throughout West Africa.
This work addresses a fundamental component of client protection by enabling consumers to make informed decisions. It also facilitates the functioning of healthy free markets in which fair competition is possible and artificially high profit-seeking rates are exposed. MFTransparency focuses on training and education of the broad range of stakeholders to create an environment in which transparency leads to a strengthening of the local microfinance industry. Through the Transparent Pricing Initiative in West Africa, MFTransparency seeks to promote sustainable microfinance and expand the practice of responsible microfinance.
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, Argentina, Colombia, India, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Malawi, Uganda and Rwanda. For more information please visit www.mftransparency.org. Grameen Bank’s Dr. Mohammad Yunus and Elizabeth Littlefield, former CEO of CGAP, as well as nearly 700 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 Luxembourg Cooperation
For more than 15 years, Luxembourg Cooperation has been interested in the evolution of microfinance and inclusive financial systems. The organization recognizes the benefits in fighting poverty, provided that the instruments used are appropriate to the cultural contexts and applied with the necessary management rigor.
Luxembourg Cooperation not only comprises support to microfinance activities in the field but also an accompaniment of the inclusive financial sector promotion, including an engaged advocacy in Luxembourg and international forums.
A program to promote regional inclusive financial sectors in the WAEMU zone (Lux-Development AFR/017 Project) in partnership with the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) is currently operational in the zone. Its main objective is to consolidate the sector and control risks related to the promotion of microfinance activities in the WAEMU region. Please visit http://cooperation.mae.lu/fr for more information.
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