EAC's microfinance institutions urged to apply for observer status
This will help them influence decision making, experts say.Microfinance institutions can benefit from regional integration if they apply for an observer status at the East African Community (EAC) secretariat, according to the permanent secretary at the Ministry of East Africa Community Affairs Innocent Safari.
With this status, these institutions "will be able to influence decision making and fast track their efforts to integrate", he said, quoted by the New Times.
Being an observer would entitle the sector to participate at specified meetings of the Permanent Tripartite Commission and other institutions of the East African Community.
Jamarie Vianney Nzagahimana, the chairman of the Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda, said being an observer will help engage policy makers in the region to address urgent policy matters and tackle the challenges that hinder the sector.
"We are now shifting from individual microfinance schemes to building financial systems that are well integrated within the region," he added.
This announcement comes after representatives of microfinance institutions in the EAC called for the harmonisation of laws and regulatory frameworks governing them during a two-day conference in Kigali in December.
They said this will enable the sector to operate in a more organised manner and to attract more investors.