The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is focused on building inclusive financial sector in least developed countries under LDC Fund for Savings-led Market Leaders for Inclusive Finance (MicroLead) programme. The 4 year (2011-2015) MicroLead Programme in Ethiopia was approved by Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Government of Ethiopia in May 2011. The programme was implemented by the consortium partners consisting Bhartiya Samruddhi Investments and Consulting Services Ltd (BASICS Ltd.), India and Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa (PAMIGA), France.
The objective of the programme was to improve the institutional capacity of the Microfinance Sector in Ethiopia through the Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institutions (AEMFI) and building the institutional capacity of two selected MFIs–Buusaa Gonofaa and WASASA to enable them evolve as savings-led financial institutions with the ultimate objective of promoting financial access to the poor households of Ethiopia. The programme is now completed and has achieved the objectives set out and has made a transforming change in the areas of savings, governance, IT-MIS to name a few.
The knowledge event was organised to share and discuss the opportunities and needs of the microfinance sector among the wider stakeholders of the Inclusive Financial Sector in Ethiopia and how and what can be done further in the pursuit of the National Financial Inclusion agenda. More than 50 participants representing partner organizations (USAID, MAIN, NBE, MFIs, RUFIP, FEMSEDA, FCA, ATA and others) attended the event. Key implementing organizations of the programme (AEMFI, BASICS, PAMIGA, Bussa Gonofa and Wasasa MFI) shared experiences they obtained while implementing the programme. Overall, the experience sharing event opened a venue to all participating stakeholders to reflect on the challenges and opportunities faced; achievements made and to indicate significant issues to consider in the way forward.