MFTransparency Partners with AFMIN on Transparent Pricing Initiatives throughout Africa
LANCASTER, PA, USA & COTONOU, BENIN September 29, 2010 – MFTransparency and The Africa Microfinance Network (AFMIN) today officially announced their partnership to promote pricing transparency in microfinance throughout Africa. AFMIN will support MFTransparency by encouraging its members to participate in the Transparent Pricing Initiative and MFTransparency will provide training on interest rate calculations and pricing transparency to AFMIN members.
MFTransparency recently launched Transparent Pricing Initiatives in Senegal, Burkina Faso and Malawi. The projects in Senegal and Burkina Faso are part of a broader Initiative sponsored by Luxembourg Cooperation and aimed at bringing pricing transparency to eight countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) including Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Niger. The launch of the Transparent Pricing Initiative in Malawi marks the official start of the enabling APR & EIR Program (enabling Africa to Price Responsibly & Educate on Interest Rates). This project, sponsored by The MasterCard Foundation, will address issues of pricing transparency in eight additional Sub-Saharan African countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa and Mozambique.
Through both the Transparent Pricing Initiative in West Africa and the enabling APR & EIR Program, MFTransparency will raise awareness about issues of transparent pricing and promote improved consumer protection policies. These objectives will be met through training, education and interest rate disclosure. MFTransparency will host training workshops on the calculation and communication of interest rates in each participating country, which have already taken place in Senegal, Burkina Faso and Malawi. MFTransparency will also focus on facilitating dialogue between industry stakeholders in participating countries, providing opportunities to learn from the experiences of neighboring microfinance markets and exchange information on successful ways of promoting transparent and responsible pricing.
This partnership with AFMIN, we well as the success of MFTransparency’s work in the region to date, indicate the willingness of African microfinance markets to implement transparent and responsible pricing. Partnerships between MFTransparency and AFMIN members AP/SFD Senegal, APIM-Burkina Faso and the Malawi Microfinance Network (MAMN) have already contributed to strong project launches in each of these countries. MFTransparency will continue to engage AFMIN members and their member institutions through directed support in each participating country. In the next several months, MFTransparency and AFMIN will co-host a training workshop for AFMIN members.
“This partnership with AFMIN embodies the spirit of our projects in Africa as a collaborative effort to strengthen microfinance markets throughout the region,” said MFTransparency Vice President Alexandra Fiorillo. “AFMIN’s leadership role in client protection will be a valuable asset to the Transparent Pricing Initiative across Africa.”
AFMIN, in operation for a decade, has been a pioneering force in the progress of the African microfinance community. The network has brought together more than 1,000 microfinance institutions to form a strong voice on performance standards, best practices, innovations for capacity building and the adoption of pro-poor policy measures across the continent.
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 the dissemination of true cost information to all market stakeholders. MFTransparency represents an industry movement toward transparent practices and responsibility. Based in the United States, the group has organized transparent pricing efforts in Bosnia, Peru, Cambodia, Azerbaijan, Kenya, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Bolivia, India, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Malawi. 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 African Microfinance Network
AFMIN is an association of microfinance networks in Africa resulting from an initiative led by African microfinance practitioners to create and strengthen country-level microfinance networks for the purpose of establishing shared performance standards, institutional capacity and policy change. AFMIN’s mission is to contribute to the provision of effective and sustainable financial services to the low income population of Africa, helping to improve the microfinance environment in Africa and globally. To date, AFMIN membership consists of 22 country-level networks in Benin, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Togo, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Burundi, Senegal, Congo and Tanzania. AFMIN’s membership represents more than 1,118 African Microfinance Institutions serving over 13 million productive poor clients.
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