Access Africa Strategy Executive Summary by KRb6iE


									                        Access Africa: Equal Access to Financial Services
                                      Executive Summary

Nearly four decades of global microfinance experience have proven that when poor people have access to
financial services – secure savings, credit, insurance and other products – they can lift themselves out of
poverty. Poor people, and especially poor women, are a good credit risk. They invest wisely, not only in
income-generating activities, but also in the welfare of their families.

Access Africa, CARE’s new signature program, is a bold, 10-year investment whose returns will be
dramatic: 30 million people in 39 sub-Saharan African countries will have the means to break the vicious
cycle of poverty, and transform it into a virtuous cycle of rising income, improved health, better education
and greater participation in their communities and nations.

Access Africa will leverage grant funding and commercial finance to develop independent,
complementary, low cost channels of financial service delivery to overcome the constraints that
traditional banking and microfinance channels face. The campaign would scale existing institutions, start
new institutions, develop local intermediaries, and find new solutions to reach ‘the last mile’. Over the
next decade, CARE’s Access Africa program will reach 30 million people – 70 percent of them women –
with a suite of basic financial services. We believe reaching that many people will be the tipping point for
developing a financial sector in which all citizens can participate.

The signature program is a long term, programmatic approach to microfinance. It will be implemented at
a large scale and it provides an opportunity to deepen our work on the social positions and enabling
environment aspects of economic empowerment. To achieve these outcomes, the signature program has
five strategic directions.

    1. VSLA Scale-Up. Access Africa will scale-up CARE’s successful village savings and loan
       (VS&L) program, currently under implementation in 19 countries.
    2. Linkages. Based on our experience, between 20-30% of VS&L participants are likely to want to
       move on to access more sophisticated financial services. CARE will develop a partnership
       program, partnering with MFI’s and local banks to develop products and services for VSLA
    3. Establishment of a Predictable Finance Chain for MFIs. The program will establish financing
       mechanisms to ensure that MFI partners can grow their business without financial constraints.
    4. Technology. An essential component of the program will be the development of technology
       solutions, including standardized front-end, back-end, and other financial systems.
    5. Advocacy. The advocacy strategy will be implemented at various levels, working primarily at the
       national level but taking time to identify the issues that go beyond national level, such as issues
       that could be taken to the African Union, NEPAD or the G8.

In order to implement this solution a continent wide approach is required. Therefore, our overall strategy
calls for implementation across the 39 poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. However, our
implementation level will be different in each country, with some being more intense than others. The 39
target countries have been divided into three waves. The first two waves will entail massive scale up of
VS&LA implementation, and well as significant focus for the remaining strategic directions. The first
wave countries will receive first priority for unrestricted funding and technical assistance in the first two
years of the program, with an emphasis on starting up second wave countries as funding becomes
available in the second and third years. In year four, third wave countries will implement VS&L scale up
based on availability of funding and needs assessments starting.
To achieve this, CARE is establishing partnerships with governments, microfinance institutes, telecom
providers and financial institutions.

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