Transparent Pricing Initiative in Kenya
by Jordan Filko
Jambo! I would like to share a bit in this post about recent work in Kenya, where I spent three weeks in January with Alexandra Fiorillo (Vice President, MFTransparency) continuing the data collection process for MFTransparency’s Transparent Pricing Initiative in Kenya. Kenya is the first African country where we have implemented the Initiative and we’ve been continuing the work we began in October, when we hosted a training session in Nairobi during the Social Performance Task Force workshop. This trip has been hugely successful! I’m excited to report back and share some of the highlights of our time in Kenya.
We focused our first week in Kenya having meetings with organizations that support the local microfinance industry. The Association of Microfinance Institutions of Kenya (AMFI) has supported our work from the beginning of the Kenya project and we were happy to visit their offices to update them on our progress. As hosts of the 2010 Africa/Middle East Regional Microcredit Summit, AMFI invited us to host a session at the Summit where we will officially announce the results of the MFTransparency Kenya Initiative. Our partnership with AMFI has helped us to access the leading MFIs, communicate our message throughout the industry and ensure that there is support for our work from within the Kenyan microfinance market. We are very excited about the Microcredit Summit and sharing the results of our project there!
In each country we work in, we work closely with the regulatory authorities. Our relationship with the Central Bank of Kenya has been strong from the beginning. They are extremely knowledgeable about the microfinance industry and committed to consumer protection. Our meetings have also included team members of the Financial Sector Deepening Kenya (FSD), an industry support organization that has been working with the Central Bank on pricing transparency in the banking and microfinance industries. Through our discussions we have been able to compliment their existing work as well as situate our own project within their long-term plan for the development of the industry.
We have also met with the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) and the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (KUSCCO). These meetings deepened our understanding of the financial services provided by commercial banks and SACCOs and helped us better understand how they fit within the Kenyan microfinance ecosystem. It’s important for us to work through the existing industry infrastructure of each country, ensuring that the interests of all stakeholders are met. Through this approach we hope to develop a sense of local ownership of the transparency initiative and integrate it into the fabric of the local market.
In addition to industry support organizations, we spent a week in Kisumu hosting a workshop and meeting with MFIs, a process we repeated in Nairobi. Check back for more posts on the MFTransparency Transparent Pricing Initiative in Kenya.