Microfinance efficiency in the West African economic and monetary union: have reforms promoted sustainability or outreach?
This study aims to assess the microfinance institutions’ (MFIs’) efficiency in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) after the reforms that were undertaken in the industry. Given the complementary role between MFIs and banks (where MFIs reach the population that the banks cannot), we ask whether these reforms have promoted sustainability or outreach. For this purpose, we use a data envelopment analysis (DEA) to measure the social efficiency on the one hand and the financial efficiency on the other hand. Our results show that sustainability prevails. Indeed, we observe an increase in financial efficiency at the expense of social and financial efficiency. MFIs that stress outreach tend to be less efficient, when one considers their intermediation role. Moreover, reforms have a negative impact on social efficiency and a positive impact on financial efficiency. Indeed, prudential ratios and accounting standards that were implemented, led MFIs to privilege their intermediation role.
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