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Have you heard Initiatives Underway

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                                  Issue 3                         August 2002


      Editor’s Comment                              Have you heard?                            Enquiries: info@mfrc.co.za or 011 647
                                                                                               4441 – Education and Communication
         Is the glass half full                   Initiatives Underway                         Division.

                   or                                                                              Forthcoming Events
                                                Bank Seta starts on R78m skills
              half empty?                        project: The Banking Sector                       Next Micro Finance Forum:
In the wake of the collapse of two of            Education and Training Authority              Hank Jackelen is no stranger to SA,
the biggest micro-lenders in the                 announced the rollout of a R78                having been involved in a number of
country earlier this year, and with              million micro-finance training and            micro-finance initiatives over the
widespread evidence of reckless                  education initiative. The project is          past ten years. More recently, he has
lending and borrowing, it is all too             aimed to develop skills and                   been working with UNDP in Brazil,
easy to take a pessimistic line at               increase levels of professionalism            advising the Caixa, Brazil’s largest
present on the future of micro-                  among smaller lenders in the                  state owned retail bank. In addition
finance in SA. Indeed, recent foreign            micro-finance industry. This will be          to being a large transaction account
visitors told me that this is what they          one of the most ambitious and far-            provider to less affluent households,
had generally heard from locals they             reaching      training      initiatives       the Caixa is also the world’s largest
had asked on the subject.                        undertaken in the banking sector              pawn broker, and a substantial
                                                 which will provide much-needed                housing lender. Hank will be
To be sure, there are many challenges
for the broader SA micro-finance                 customer education and business               bringing a delegation of senior Caixa
                                                 support to the individual and micro-          officials to SA, and will be
sector at present, but if we focus on
                                                 enterprise clients. The project               addressing a Micro Finance Forum
these only, we lose sight of some of
                                                 would also address a number of                on “The Promises, Perils and Pitfalls
the underlying developments which
give reason for cautious optimism;               issues     concerning       consumer          of State Retail Banking in Brazil”.
                                                 protection, which remains a major             Come and hear Hank, and meet the
optimism that the lessons learned
                                                 concern. Contact: Sarah Babb at BSETA         Brazilian delegation, as well as other
from a decade of break neck
                                                 NSF on 011 442 0162 or sbabb@iafrica.com      professionals in micro-finance.
development in certain areas of
                                                                                               Date: 14 August. Time: 17:00-18:15
micro-finance have been learned, as a         Gauteng Housing Partnership                     with drinks afterwards. Venue:
next generation of initiatives is born;        Initiative:      The       Gauteng              Deloitte & Touche Auditorium, 20
and optimism that we can inch                  Department of Housing is now                    Woodlands       Drive,    Woodmead,
towards a better, more sustainable             moving into implementation stage
policy and legislative framework, as                                                           Sandton. Contact: Andrea Bezuidenhout on
                                               of the Gauteng Partnership Fund                 011-370 3565 or andreab@finmark.org.za
we have the potential to do in areas           with a launch planned shortly. The
like the Consumer Credit Law                   Fund will provide guarantees to                         Nedlac Financial Sector
Review, now underway, and the                  unlock private funding for social               Summit: A date has finally been set
follow up to the SME Access to                 housing, defined broadly to include             for the discussions between the four
Finance Report, also underway and              end users with income up to R8000               Nedlac sectors; this important event
moving closer towards fundamental              and a range of tenure types                     will now take place on 20 August
policy and even legislative change.            including instalment sale, rental,              2002. Expect a high level compact
                                               etc. Proposals were recently invited            addressing a range of issues, from
Certainly, foreign visitors whom I                                                             red-lining to credit bureaux and
meet tell me that they are fascinated          from fund managers to manage the
                                               R350m of the Fund’s capital, and                community reinvestment. Contact
by the potential in SA micro-finance;                                                          Nedlac Secretariat for more information
that the convergence between                   from asset managers who will assist
                                                                                               on 011 328 4200 or www.nedlac.org.za
commercial and NGO micro-finance               with operations.
has gone further here than many
                                                 Contact:    Elize Stroebel,   Trustee,   at    National Savings Week:
                                                 elizes@hla.gpg.gov.za.
other countries; and that they will be                                                         The National Savings Week will be
watching developments here closely.          Micro Lender Competition:                         held from 8 to 14 September 2002
So maybe the glass is half-full after        The MFRC has announced a new                      where      all organisations  are
all!                                         competition which will recognize and              encouraged to focus on aspects of
                                             encourage innovation among its                    encouraging savings in SA, e.g.
           -- David Porteous --              micro-lender members. Categories                  Budgeting, Saving or Retirement
                                             include Micro Enterprise Lending,                 funding. Watch the media for more
                                             Housing Finance Lending and                       details or contact SA Savings
                                             Consumer Education. Entries should                Institute.
[File ref: 13733]                            be received by 17:00 on 13/09/2002.               Contact: Yvonne.Benn@SavingsInstitute.co.za


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