Microfinance investment vehicles in Sub-Saharan Africa: constraints and potentials
This paper sheds the light on the potential and constraints of possible interactions between Microfinance Investment Vehicles (MIVs) and the two main African Microfinance models namely the cooperative model, well developed in West Africa, and the commercial model, found in East Africa. We assess if both parties can gain from those interactions. We argue that given the significant funding needs of Microfinance institutions (MFIs) in that part of the world, in particular with regards to equity investments and capacity building, the African microfinance sector requires resources that can only be provided with the contest of private investors. In this respect, provided some conditions are met, for instance the presence in these vehicles of Development financial institutions (DFIs) that play the role of catalysts by initiating investments and taking risks that private investors would not dare taking; MIVs could be suitable for the financing of the rural and the micro-enterprises segments which are still seen as highly risky investments. Those segments require more volumes and longer term funding, but they have a great potential positive effect on Microfinance recipients and more generally on the economies they live in. In the MIVs’ perspective, due to excessive risks’ perception, the interest for the African microfinance still remains limited to date; however, the increasing demand for socially responsible investments and the needs for Microfinance investment portfolios’ diversification will push those vehicles to commit more and more for investments in that part of the world.
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