- To support the setting up of a national body monitoring financial inclusion
- To strengthen stakeholders’ capacities
European Investment Bank (EIB)
MicroMED: Accelerating financial inclusion in Tunisia
After the revolution in Tunisia in 2011, there was an urgent need to revive socio-economic development in the country. Improving access to and use of financial service for the population became a priority. Ending in 2018, the MicroMED project was set up with this aim in mind.
The MicroMED programme was launched in 2012 with a budget of 4 million Euros and was co-financed 50/50 by the FEMIP trust fund (The Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership) and the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB), which delegated the operations out in the field to ADA. The project was designed to provide technical assistance to public authorities and players in the microfinance sector to encourage the growth of employment and financial inclusion in Tunisia, through improving access to financial services for the population and the capacity of MFIs to respond to market need. MicroMED was built around three objectives.
1. Creation of an Observatory for financial inclusion
ADA assisted the Central Bank of Tunisia (CBT) with the creation of an Observatory for Financial inclusion (OFI). Observatory staff were trained in data collection methods, quantitative survey procedures and the use of data processing and communication tools.
In order to provide the Observatory with on-demand data, the OFI received technical support for conducting a national survey on the status of financial inclusion and the use of financial services, the results being used as a basis for recommendations to the authorities for guiding targeted financial inclusion policy (rural women, young entrepreneurs etc.). The results of the study showed that, although financial inclusion within the country was as high as 61%, only 9% were regularly using a bank or postal account. The results of the study were officially presented in December 2018.
Bernard Georges, MicroMED project manager for ADA
"We achieved our objective, it's a real success story ! The infrastructure is solid now, staff are qualified and able to take studies to conclusion and issue recommendations. The Observatory has the skills to launch the next survey all on its own."
Faker Halleb, Director of the Observatory for Financial Inclusion
"Coupled with a qualitative study for understanding the results, the national survey on financial inclusion has enabled us to offer proper qualified recommendations for short- and medium-term implementation. The new organisational and functional structure of the Observatory will enable it to follow up on these recommendations."
Presentation of the results of the national survey in financial inclusion in Tunis on 18 December 2018. From left to right: Bruno Obegi (at the lectern), Adviser to the ADA Board; Ridha Chalghoum, Finance Minister; Marouan El Abassi, Governor of the BCT; Ulrich Brunnhuber, Head of the representative office of the European Investment Bankin Tunis.
Committed to aiding the sector in Tunisia for the period 2019-2021, ADA will continue to support the Observatory, which the Government has tasked with implementing a national financial education programme.
2. Increasing capacity
Following the introduction of a new regulatory framework for microfinance in 2011 and in the wake of the revolution, numerous microfinance institutions (MFIs) were formed from 2014. In order to support this growth and put the sector on a more professional footing, MicroMED assisted with creating the first ever microfinance training centre, which was located within the Académie des Banques et Finances in Tunis, an institution tasked with bank training. A course including 10 basic modules covering the different areas of microfinance was devised around two certifications: one being loan agent and the other management for future heads of MFIs, with 25 qualified trainers from the local area. 496 people, mainly from MFIs and public bodies involved in financial inclusion, have received training to date. As part of another approach, agents from the microfinance Supervisory Authority received training in techniques for auditing information systems within MFIs and procedures for analysing loan portfolio risk.
3. Improving market infrastructure
To meet increasing demand for microloans and actively promote financial inclusion, a study was conducted to assess future requirements for refinancing MFIs. A complementary study into the feasibility of a refinancing fund was conducted at the request of the Finance Ministry.
A project designed to follow on from MicroMED will be set up in 2019, enabling us to continue with the analysis and contribute to the creation of a suitable financial structure.
Supporting a tunisian MFI in the development of green products
At the same time, ADA led a project to support ENDA Tamweel in Tunisia, the largest MFI in the country, in developing a range of financial products providing access to green energy. The pilot assessed the potential of the MFI’s green portfolio. The goals were to enhance internal capacity for more efficient portfolio management, to improve an existing product (the “Eco-Loan”), and to introduce a new green product (the “Solar Irrigation and Pumping System [SIPS]” loan). Launched with palm oil producers in the Tozeur agency in southern Tunisia, the MFI aims to grant 80 loans in six months for an average amount of EUR 6,400; i.e. to build a portfolio estimated at more than EUR 500,000.