The project's objectives
Strengthen the capacities of professional associations to promote and develop the transparency of the Inclusive Finance sector in Africa at a national level

Project manager


Tanzania Association of Microfinance Institutions (TAMFI) and Microfinance African Institutions Network (MAIN) 

main amfi

Strengthening networks to increase financial inclusion in Africa


By consolidating the professional associations of Africa, ADA participates in the professionalisation of the entire sector of the region. Thanks to stronger and more competent associations, microfinance institutions are able to develop services and products that are better adapted to the needs of low-income populations.

Since 2008, ADA has been supporting microfinance professional associations through the provision of technical assistance and the cofunding of annual and multi annual projects. Professional associations are strategic partners and represent one of the best channels to support the sector as a whole in different countries and regions of intervention.
Over the past years, ADA has supported several transparency related projects, such as the co-funding of ratings, the development of tools for the collection, analysis and publication of data, the development of a training on the topic and the promotion of client protection principles.
ADA considers that transparency for African MFIs remains a challenge. Moreover, a lot still needs to be done for the MFI clients to have access to all the necessary information and have the capacity to understand and compare the products on offer so as to make informed decisions.
This is why ADA has decided to support African professional associations that are committed to promoting and strengthening transparency in their respective countries.

Support to TAMFI, an MFI network in Tanzania

ADA strengthens the capacity of professional associations to promote and develop the transparency of the inclusive finance sector in partnership with the national network Tanzania Association of Microfinance Institutions (TAMFI).

According to the FINSCOPE Tanzania 2017 study, of the estimated workforce of 23.2 million, 16.7% of adults are served by banks compared to 9.1% in 2006 while 48.6% are served by non-banks such as MFIs, SACCOS (Savings and Credit Cooperatives Societies), financial NGOs, insurance and mobile payments amounted to 6.7% in 2006. Finally, 28% are excluded from any form of access to financial services. Given the high proportion of exclusion and the enormous challenge of financial inclusion, more holistic, systemic and convergent strategies need to be designed to build an ecosystem that understands the needs and aspirations of the unbanked, especially rural populations.

While the microfinance industry in Tanzania is still in the nascent stage with respect to the legal and regulatory framework, awareness, infrastructure and the development of financial products and services, financial inclusion has become increasingly important. these last years. It is now a political goal to improve the lives of the poor. Access to finance by micro and small enterprises and SMEs is also recognized as a factor in improving productivity, competitiveness and job creation.

The industry faces a number of constraints that must be addressed to enable it to improve its development and sustainability. The main obstacle to the development of microfinance activities in Tanzania is the lack of specific legislation to guide the operations of the microfinance sector.

Networks and professional associations in Africa, strategic partners for the development of transparency

In 2018, TAMFI is composed of 135 members comprising of 7 Commercial banks, 3 Community banks, 4 Microfinance banks, 96 Microfinance Institutions, 5 SACCOS, 5 apexes of informal microfinance groups, 1 micro-insurance company and 14 Business Service Providers. Together, these members provide financial services to approximately 4 million micro entrepreneurs in urban and rural areas.  
As of the end of 2016, according to Ministry of Trade and Industry who issues business licenses to the microfinance Institutions in Tanzania, there is a total of 292 Registered Microfinance Institutions operating country wide. In this regard, TAMFI has 46% of unregulated microfinance institution in the country.  

MFIs rely on national networks and professional associations to develop appropriate financial products and create a favorable environment. TAMFI contributes to the increase and promotion of transparent best practices to ensure the delivery of responsible financial services by member MFIs.

In principle, this involves collecting, formalizing, and disseminating reliable and up-to-date information that is needed by different types of actors who interact with an MFI or analyze the results and trends of the sector.

The collaboration is composed of 3 main pillars:

  • Capacity Building in Transparent Best Practices and Data Collection and Publication: TAMFI organizes and delivers training on transparent best practices and financial and social performance indicators. This will be accompanied by the dissemination of tools and technical assistance to help member MFIs improve their practices and collect and share their data with the association. TAMFI staff members will be trained to maintain skills within the field partner after the end of the project.
  • Implementation of an advocacy strategy to create an enabling environment for the healthy and transparent development of financial inclusion: TAMFI already has strong relationships with the Bank of Tanzania and other government authorities and will use its key position to continue its advocacy and improve the current regulatory framework. Key areas of lobbying include consumer protection laws, encouraging unlicensed MFIs to report their data to the credit bureau to avoid the risk of debt distress in Tanzania. TAMFI will also actively participate in the implementation of the new National Financial Inclusion Framework and the National Education Strategy.
  • Capacity Building in Consumer Protection, Financial Literacy and Social Performance Management: Client Protection Principles and management of social performance are relatively unfamiliar topics in Tanzania's microfinance sector. TAMFI is in a key position to promote and raise awareness on these areas both among regulators and among its member MFIs. Trainings will be organized on the principles of client protection and social performance management and tools such as SPI4 and SMART certifications will be carried out within MFIs wishing to improve their activities. Financial education modules will also be developed based on existing materials. Loan officers will be trained in some MFIs who want to deliver the training and these will be delivered directly to clients.

Partnership with MAIN in sub-Saharan Africa

The Microfinance African Institutions Network (MAIN) is an international non-profit association created in 1995 in Abidjan at the initiative of several institutions with long experience in microfinance and / or the promotion of micro-enterprises in Africa.

As of December 31, 2017, the MAIN has 84 members including 70 MFIs in 23 countries in Africa and Europe. The MAIN brings together MFIs, national networks, NGOs working in microfinance, cooperatives, banks, and "resource" organizations (universities, social investors).

The network's mission is to contribute to strengthening the economic and social role of African microfinance institutions through the establishment of an African microfinance promotion program.

The activities of the MAIN are organized around the four main axes described below:

  • Training: Strengthen the internal capacity of microfinance institutions so that they can ensure their sustainability and provide their clients with adapted products and services. MAIN has developed partnerships with three African universities and has created specific diploma training programs for microfinance. In addition MAIN organizes thematic trainings that meet the needs and challenges of its members.
  • Peer learning: Through training and exchange visits, MAIN provides a unique opportunity for microfinance practitioners from different countries to discuss the issues they face and the innovations they are implementing.
  • Communication: MAIN facilitates and promotes the exchange of information in the microfinance sector by periodically publishing a newsletter, running an exchange website, and producing publications.
  • Research and development: analyze and publish the knowledge and experience acquired, in particular by conducting studies or producing methodological material.

As part of ADA collaboration with the MAIN network, 3 Masters in Microfinance in 3 African universities have been supported:

  • the Catholic University of Central Africa (UCAC) in Yaoundé, Cameroon,
  • Catholic University of West Africa (UCAO) in Lomé, Togo and
  • Uganda Martyr's University (UMU) in Nkozi, Uganda.

Since 2014, ADA has supported the two Francophone universities, UCAC and UCAO, and decided in 2016 to extend its support to English-language training at UMU.

The MAIN network is also co-organizing the African Microfinance Week alongside ADA.

Fusion between MAIN and AMT

Since 2008, the NGO ADA has initiated and facilitated dialogue between the various African networks (AMT, AFRACA, AFMIN, INAFI & MAIN). The various meetings enabled the networks to understand that it was time to pool efforts to improve their performance and thus obtain greater visibility and a more strategic positioning in the sector and on the continent. MAIN & AMT with similar objectives and missions quickly realized the need to work together and consider the merger of the two networks. A study was commissioned to analyze the ins and outs of a merger. This collective awareness allowed the MAIN to initially house the AMT secretariat and then to move towards a complete merger between the two entities. Several preparatory meetings were held and during the third "African Microfinance Week" (SAM) held in Addis Ababa in October 2017, the merger was decided by mutual agreement by the governing bodies and endorsed by a joint General Assembly of the two networks. 

ADA continues to support the network in implementing the project to promote and develop MFI transparency in Africa.


MAIN @SAM 2017, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

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