Yes, why organise the next edition of the African Microfinance Week (SAM) in Burkina Faso? Why choose this country of upstanding men and women to hold the largest inclusive finance conference in Africa, the event of 2019 for the entire sector? First of all because the government of Burkina Faso asked us to… quite simply.
It is the first time in the short history of the SAM, that a country has made a formal approach to ADA, its partners and the Luxembourg government to host the SAM. We acknowledge the honour this is for the organisers. We especially acknowledge the distance travelled since Luc Vandeweerd, now an ADA administrator, had the clever idea of attaching a few training sessions, and then a discussion, to The Investors’ Fair. In 2013, he renamed the concept, the African Microfinance Week. Thus 220 people gathered in Arusha for the first SAM. In 2015, there were 550 participants in Dakar for the second SAM. The third attracted 700 people to Addis Ababa in 2017… The event has now become so big that governments want to host the SAM!
That is because this week is more than simply a conference. With its 20 free training sessions, its Investors’ Fair, its Innovation Fair and its debates, the SAM has managed to create a beneficial ecosystem that is good not only for the whole sector but also for the African countries and, first and foremost, the host country. Forty partners, the constant support of African professional networks, the renewed presence of 20 or so sponsors and almost 300 MFIs represented, make this event unique, and the place to be. In 2019, you will need to be in Ouagadougou, in late October, which for a week will become the centre of inclusive finance!
This edition of the SAM will be on the theme of the impact of inclusive finance. Beyond the ever-present question of the extent of its impact, the conference will address the real role of microfinance in achieving the SDG's. Under these conditions, what country other than Burkina Faso could best host this SAM?
Burkina Faso is faced more than any other with demographic, democratic and climatic challenges. This landlocked country of Africa whose financial sector is changing, but where poverty remains endemic and where women’s emancipation is a struggle, is home to the largest microfinance cooperative, the RCPB, with Azaratou Sondo as its Deputy Director, also chair of the APSFD Burkina Faso (whose director is also a woman, Perpétue Coulibaly) and a SAM partner.
Finally, it should be noted that organising the SAM in Burkina Faso is really only fitting. In late 2014, the SAM should have been organised in Ouagadougou, but the popular uprising led us to relocate the SAM to Dakar. We therefore appreciate the enthusiasm of the actors of the Burkina Faso microfinance sector in hosting our event in 2019. We hope that the entire sub-region will share the same enthusiasm for this SAM organised locally, in order to reserve the best possible welcome to their peers, partners and colleagues from the other countries of Africa.
A great SAM to you all!