Expanding data coverage among microfinance institutions in Africa

Recognising the powerful and important impact that a strong  microfinance sector can have in Africa, the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) and The MasterCard Foundation launched a partnership to improve visibility and access to information among microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Africa. 

This partnership is part of a two million dollar, three-year programme between MIX and The MasterCard Foundation to enhance core functions of the MIX Market web platform, and enable reporting of accurate, high-quality financial and social performance data on the microfinance industry around the world.

“The MasterCard Foundation is committed to strengthening the microfinance industry, particularly in Africa, which receives only seven per cent of global investment in microfinance,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO, The MasterCard Foundation. “MIX’s web platform provides microfinance institutions in Africa with a widely accessible channel to share their data, and is a credible source for investors and other organisations in the sector looking for current information.”

Currently there is a lack of timely and reliable information on the performance of African MFIs, which impedes transparency, and limits investments and plans for growth. To address this gap, MIX is broadening data coverage in Africa, where non-traditional microfinance providers such as informal savings groups or mobile operators constitute important delivery channels for microfinance.

Marten Leijon, Executive Director at MIX commented, “The microfinance sector has seen the benefits of technology innovation in several ways in recent years, but microfinance institutions in Africa face many obstacles to the flow of information. This partnership gives us the opportunity to explore ways in which technology can both reduce the reporting burden on microfinance institutions and increase the quality and volume of information available on African microfinance.”

To date, the MIX Market database includes information on 427 MFIs in 32 African countries, representing eight million borrowers and 21mn savers. The partnership with The MasterCard Foundation will enable MIX to broaden its baseline coverage of African microfinance providers, with the goal of improving access to information and providing a comprehensive view of the African microfinance landscape.  MIX will compile and aggregate information on the African microfinance industry to identify gaps, recommend solutions and highlight priority markets in order to scale up data coverage.  

MIX‘s current African microfinance partners will be surveyed to understand the challenges, obstacles and inefficiencies collecting and reporting data. Using the survey results, MIX will investigate new reporting modules and technological solutions to enable a wide range of African microfinance providers to report their financial and social performance information. Prototype data exchange modules will then be implemented to evaluate organisational options for scale and sustainability. These prototypes will pave the way for African microfinance providers to provide current and relevant data on the microfinance sector.

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