09- 13
African Microfinance Week – Creating Values for SMEs: a new frontier for inclusive finance

Monday, October 9, 2017 to Friday, October 13, 2017

The African Microfinance Week  is a conference organised by the African networks AMT (African Microfinance Transparency)MAIN (Microfinance African Institutions Network) and AFRACA (African Rural & Agricultural Credit Association) and by ADA with the support of the Luxembourg Cooperation.

During the conference, the participants will:

  • meet the decision makers, public and private lenders, MFI directors and microfinance investors;
  • build new partnerships and strengthen current business relations;
  • extend and develop your network of contacts;
  • share best practices and innovative experiences;
  • accelerate financial inclusion on the continent.

This year, the conference will take place from the 9th to 13th October, 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the following topic: ‘Creating value for SMEs: a new frontier for inclusive finance’.The theme will focus on the subject of mesofinance and therefore the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The term mesofinance refers to a segment of the provision of financing to enterprises which, generally speaking, is barely or not at all developed by microfinance institutions or banks.This segment may be defined as being between the upper limit of loans covered by microfinance and the lower limit for bank loans. There is a missing middle between these two limits in which micro, small and medium-sized enterprises struggle to find funding and, therefore, to develop. Particular focus will be placed on the question of the impact this has in terms of job creation, particularly for young people, within micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Youth employment is indeed an important issue for the continent since, according to the World Bank, eleven million youth are expected to enter Africa’s labour market every year for the next decade. In many ways, there will be a need to look beyond conventional microfinance and financial inclusion in order to focus upon economic inclusion and job creation in Africa. Both in the Global North and South, the MSME segment represents one of the main drivers of economic growth and of the development of employment. In Africa, the formal sector is mainly constituted of larger companies that work in the commodities market, without there being much processing taking place. While there is huge potential, only limited added value is being produced on the continent itself. The bulk of the African economy is informal, with agriculture being the main sector. The informal sector provides indeed 80 to 90% of all employment in Africa.

Conference Objectives:

  • To provide a common space for exchange and dialogue on the microfinance issues of the African continent;
  • To promote the collaboration of actors in financial inclusion, to advance new technological approaches and facilitate public-private partnerships;
  • To broadcast lessons and experience shared during the SAM sessions, by publishing an annual conference report and by relaying the sector’s news throughout the year via the website;
  • To promote partnerships between regional- and continental-level networks but also partnerships between all other sectoral stakeholders, through an online platform;
  • To involve strategic stakeholders such as the representatives of central banks, regulatory and supervisory authorities, other public authorities, African regional organizations, banks, financial sector professionals, insurance companies and civil society involved in financial inclusion;
  • To involve academics and researchers in preparing and organizing the conference agenda.