Agriculture provides a livelihood for more than 70% of Sub-Saharan African households. These families typically live in rural, hard-to-reach areas where accessing formal financial services continues to be a challenge. The costs of operating in rural areas have been prohibitively high for many financial institutions. This video shows the unique challenges for agriculture clients and how FINCA’s growing network of agents in Africa, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, is bringing responsible financial services closer to them.
Chris Kizza was once an intern, assisting FINCA’s loan officers in Malawi as they helped clients receive loans, make payments and build their businesses. Today, over a decade later, Chris is the CEO of FINCA Malawi. Chris’s transformational story is not unlike many of the leaders in FINCA’s network. In fact, FINCA is committed to build a new generation of local leaders, like Chris. These local leaders develop the services and tools that will help millions of hard-working entrepreneurs to improve their lives and their communities. Already, Chris has led FINCA Malawi to obtain a banking license, enabling thousands of unbanked Malawians to open a savings account to safeguard their income for the future.
In 2012, FINCA launched agency banking in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The innovative method uses local merchants and shopkeepers in areas where FINCA doesn’t have a presence to provide basic banking services to remote clients. The agents are equipped with POS machines, a portable device that connects to bank accounts through biometric fingerprints. Today, over 75 percent of all FINCA client transaction in the DRC are done through FINCA’s proprietary agent network. And these services will be expanded to the underserved in Tanzania and Zambia as well, helping many build their livelihoods with the help of a banking agent.
Mama Kapu and her family of employees are just one example of the positive power of investing in women. When woman are empowered to work and create their own businesses – through access to finance, education, markets – the talent of half of the world’s population are unleashed; impacting families, communities and local economies.
Microentrepreneurs around the world often don’t have a safe place to store their money. FINCA is helping to change that. FINCA branches in Zambia and Tanzania offer savings accounts to our clients. These accounts have a double benefit: Our clients have a secure place to keep their hard-earned savings, and the deposits can be used to support other small businesses in the community.
With our clients’ best interests at heart, FINCA is finding innovative ways to reach and serve unbanked populations in Africa. We are leveraging technologies such as mobile payments and biometric fingerprint scanning to facilitate our clients’ loan repayments, reduce their travel time to bank branches, and lower the the risks associated with carrying cash—such as loss or theft.
Edson Miugi of Tanzania was one of the 2.7 billion adults worldwide without access to financial services. Failing to meet the requirements of commercial banks, Edson couldn’t get the capital he needed to start a manufacturing business. In 2006 he approached FINCA and started off with one borrowed sewing machine and a $430 loan. Today Edson owns 67 sewing machines and employs more than 60 people! Enjoy watching his story.
To ensure that we are helping our clients on their pathways out of poverty, FINCA is constantly improving the ways we reach and serve the poor, as well as how we measure outcomes.We have combined our staff expertise with rigorous research to better understand our clients’ lives, their businesses, their home lives, and their experiences with FINCA. Our sophisticated research method enables us to evaluate our own outreach and ensure we are serving clients who are truly in need.