African microfinance initiative launched

Feb 22, 2010

Three African microfinance institutions will start using the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI) to track the poverty levels of clients for the first time on the continent.

The two-year initiative will see Caurie Microfinance and U-IMCEC of Senegal and Kafo Jiginew of Mali use the globally-recognised assessment tool. It is already being used in 23 countries to track how poor clients are overcoming financial barriers and moving out of poverty.

The findings will be analysed by the PPI Users Collaborative in Africa (PUCA), a new group comprising Grameen Foundation, Terrafina Microfinance, Planet Rating, Catholic Relief Services and Oikocredit.

Case studies of the experiences of the three microfinance institutions might be used in the work of similar organisations in Africa, as PUCA plans to make the PPI available to other MFIs on the continent.

Norman Buckham, Grameen Foundation's CEO for Africa, said the initiative will enable the effective collection and use of poverty assessment data.

"It also enables us to demonstrate the importance of integrating social performance into the day-to-day operations of poverty-focused institutions in Africa and, equally important, to provide them with a blueprint for doing so," he added.