SPECIAL REPORT: ADA’s Laura Foschi on Creating Value for SMEs at SAM in Ethiopia, October 2017

MicroCapital: How has SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) evolved since its launch four years ago?

Laura Foschi: We held the first edition of SAM in 2013 in Arusha, Tanzania. Our goal was to align the annual meetings of three networks of African microfinance institutions: the Africa Microfinance Network (AFMIN), African Microfinance Transparency (AMT) and the Microfinance African Institutions Network (MAIN). We had conference sessions on the first day, the networks’ general assemblies on the second day and an Investor’s Fair on the third day. During the week, we realized the potential of SAM to become a major African inclusive finance event.

We decided to move the location each time with the aim of engaging both French-speaking and English-speaking regions and organizations. In 2015, we held the conference in Senegal, expanding it to include two days of conference sessions and a broader range of parallel events. We were pleasantly surprised to have our registrations double to over 500 people! Perhaps for the fourth edition we will move to North Africa or Southern Africa.

MC: How did you select Ethiopia for the 2017 SAM?

LF: In order to maintain Ethiopia’s strong economic growth, its large young population will need to achieve what we call “economic inclusion.” In order to address this challenge, the government of Ethiopia has prioritized both microfinance and

SPECIAL REPORT: African Microfinance Week (SAM) Registration Open for Sessions Starting October 9, 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Registration opened today for African Microfinance Week, also known as Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM), which will focus on “Creating Value for SMEs.” The event, which will begin on October 9, 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will include research presentations, an Innovation Fair and an Investor’s Fair. Several initiatives will hold events in conjunction with SAM, including ADA, the Africa Board Fellowship, CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), Connexus, Microfact, the Risk Management Initiative in Microfinance, the Social Performance Task Force and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. More details on the agenda will be forthcoming soon.

Although the standard fee to attend is EUR 550, MicroCapital readers may enjoy a rate of

SPECIAL REPORT: Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM, also known as African Microfinance Week) Scheduled for October 9 – October 13, 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Luxembourgish NGO ADA, 27-member African Microfinance Transparency and the 71-member Microfinance African Institutions Network recently announced that they will hold the Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance

SPECIAL REPORT: ACRE Africa, Bima, Microfact, Tech-Innov, UTM, Others Report on New Products for Rural Areas at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) in Dakar, Senegal

As Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) began to draw to a close, a range of service providers described their new products and services at an all-day Innovation Fair.

Solenn Marquette of Bima, a Sweden-based insurer operating in 13 developing countries, explained her firm’s strategy for using mobile phones to sell insurance. Although building branches is too expensive, “we still put education teams on ground” to market products. One such product is Tigo Hospitalization, which is offered in Senegal starting at CFA 200 (USD 0.40) per month for up to CFA 30,000 (USD 50) in coverage.

SPECIAL REPORT: Boosting Rural Finance via Collaboration Among AFMIN, AMT Forum, AFRACA, MAIN

Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) is a production of four African microfinance networks in collaboration with Luxembourgish NGO ADA. As this is only the second SAM, a session was held this week on how the networks can expand their collaboration to increase their effectiveness in promoting rural finance on the continent.

Davy Serge Azakpame, the CEO of the Benin-based African Microfinance Network, proposed “creat[ing] an advocacy group to pressure government to boost funding for rural areas.”

SPECIAL REPORT: How Holistic Approaches Can Advance Rural Enterprise Through Microinsurance, Technology, Market Research

At the start of the second day of conference sessions at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM), Renée Chao-Beroff of the Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa (PAMIGA), a France-based network of 14 African microfinance institutions, argued, “Microfinance has to be with something else to have effect. Standalone financial services are no longer working. We have to question our practices and go to a more holistic approach.” As an example, Mark Rueegg of Swiss microinsurer CelsiusPro explained how his firm distributes some of the satellite data it collects for actuarial purposes directly to farmers via mobile phones. “These data can give optimal planting dates instead of farmers going by what they were taught by their father, their neighbor…. This can allow them to increase their yield dramatically without extra costs, such as for additional fertilizer.”

SPECIAL REPORT: Promoting Partnerships that Support Value Chains at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM)

During the opening plenary session of African Microfinance Week, also known as Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM), the hot topic was partnerships, especially those that support value chains. André Okou of the African Development Bank, explained that his organization aims “to create new synergy by approaching the value chain in an integrated fashion – supporting all parts of the chain, including non-agricultural elements – to tackle constraints.” Raphaël de Guerre of the French government’s Agence Française de Developpement stated, “In Guinea we have added value for coffee producers. In Cameroon, we have increased honey prices by a factor of 3, showing private investors that this is viable.”

SPECIAL REPORT: Opening Ceremonies of Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) Raise Hopes of Reducing Poverty Through Improved Value Chains, Government Support of Agriculture

African Microfinance Week, also known as Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM), was launched this morning in Dakar, Senegal, by speakers including Minister Moustapha Diop of Senegal’s Ministry of Women, Family and Children. (While related meetings, training sessions and vendor presentations are running from June 25 through July 3, the main conference sessions are being held on June 30 and July 1.)

Minister Diop Opens SAM

In keeping with the event theme, “Accelerating Innovative Rural Finance in Africa,” Minister Diop argued that climate change is expected to reduce crop yields in Africa over time and that “to focus on this challenge, family farms are needed, and they need access to finance. Government is helping them, but they need more…. We would like to attract financing to the rural zones; by merging the efforts of the public and private sectors, we will meet this challenge.”

SPECIAL REPORT: Mohamed Attanda on African Microfinance Week (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance, SAM), Dakar, Senegal, June 29 – July 3, 2015

MicroCapital: The agenda of Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) emphasizes improving services in rural areas; is there something in that realm that you would like to highlight?

Mohamed Attanda: Yes, we have noted for the past several years that rural areas have not been well served by traditional financial institutions, so there has been a need for microfinance institutions to focus on rural areas and family farms. How microfinance institutions can deal with this problem is a big question. The large size of African Microfinance Week gives us more opportunities to work together to innovate in rural finance in Africa.

MC: Several networks have collaborated to create SAM. What is the advantage in collocating their general assemblies in conjunction with a conference?

SPECIAL REPORT: Frédéric Ruaz on Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM, African Microfinance Week), June 29 – July 3, 2015, Dakar, Senegal

MicroCapital: What can attendees expect to see at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM)?

Frédéric Ruaz: You will find most of the sessions involve managers of several types of organizations: microfinance institutions (MFIs), public entities and private funds. In addition to fostering debate, we aim SAM to bridge practitioners with experts, South with North, and even small MFIs with large MFIs. Indeed, SAM is the largest microfinance meeting place in Africa.

MC: Is there a session that you think attendees may find particularly valuable?

FR: That is a tough question, as SAM offers such a diversity of panels. On Wednesday, July 1, the second session will focus mostly on social entrepreneurship.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: African Microfinance Week (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance), June 29 – July 3, 2015, Dakar, Senegal, With On-site Reporting by MicroCapital

Event Name: African Microfinance Week (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) 2015

Event Dates: June 29 – July 3, 2015

Location: King Fahd Palace Conference Center, Dakar, Senegal

Event Summary: The second annual African Microfinance Week will center around “accelerating innovative rural finance in Africa,” providing practitioners with a venue for exchanging ideas and reflecting on the trajectory of the industry. The event is designed to improve “the synergies” between the Benin-based African Microfinance Network (AFMIN), an association of 21 national microfinance networks; the African Microfinance Transparency Forum (AMT), a South Africa-based group that aims to strengthen the performance of African microfinance institutions (MFIs); the African Rural & Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA), a Kenya-based group of 105 central banks, retail financial service providers and microfinance networks; and the Microfinance African Institutions Network (MAIN), a Cote d’Ivoire-based NGO with 71 members. The program is sponsored by the governments of Senegal and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with support from the US-based Citi Foundation; the Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank; the United Nations Capital Development Fund; and Microfact, a nonprofit, web-based platform that provides toolkits for building the capacity of MFIs. The week will include plenary sessions, trainings, an investors’ fair and the general assemblies of AFMIN and MAIN. The primary languages of the event will be French and English. MicroCapital will provide sponsored, onsite coverage of selected sessions.

SPECIAL REPORT: Save the Date: African Microfinance Week (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance), June 29 – July 3, 2015, Dakar, Senegal

Event Name: African Microfinance Week (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) 2015

Event Dates: June 29 – July 3, 2015

Location: King Fahd Palace Conference Center, Dakar, Senegal

Event Summary: The second annual African Microfinance Week will center around “accelerating innovative rural finance in Africa,” providing practitioners with a venue for exchanging ideas and reflecting on the trajectory of the industry. The event is designed to improve “the synergies” between the Benin-based African Microfinance Network (AFMIN), an association of 21 national microfinance networks; the African Microfinance Transparency Forum (AMT), a group that aims to strengthen the performance of African microfinance institutions (MFIs); the African Rural & Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA), a Kenya-based group of 105 central banks, retail financial service providers and microfinance networks; and the Microfinance African Institutions Network (MAIN), a Cote d’Ivoire-based NGO with 71 members. The program is sponsored by the governments of Senegal and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with support from the US-based Citi Foundation; the Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank; the United Nations Capital Development Fund; and Microfact, a nonprofit, web-based platform that provides toolkits for building the capacity of MFIs. The week will include plenary sessions, trainings, an investors’ fair and the general assemblies of AFMIN and MAIN. The primary languages of the event will be French and English.