What's the SAM?

The African Microfinance Week (SAM -Semaine africaine de la microfinance in French) is a conference dedicated to the development of financial inclusion in Africa that takes place every two years.

After the launch of the 1st SAM in 2013 in Arusha (Tanzania), a 2nd edition in 2015 in Dakar (Senegal), a 3rd in 2017 in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), and 4th Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) in 2019.

why rwanda


The  SAM is an entire week to:

  • Identify, share, and celebrate the innovations, their impact, and the contributions of the African inclusive finance sector to achieving the SDGs;
  • Identify gaps and challenges facing the sector today and find solutions to address them;
  • Strengthen the sector's commitment to impact measurement tools and analyze its profitability;
  • Foster new and enhance existing relationships with potential partners and allies in the inclusive finance sector in Africa;
  • Promote action plans and follow up after the conference;
  • Leverage the financial expertise of Luxembourg's cooperation and strengthen its role as a key partner for inclusive finance practitioners;
  • Rally participants by showing them how to focus their individual and collective energies to get as close as possible to the remaining milestones until 2030, which we will reassess at the SAM 2023!

It is a common African platform for reflection and exchange between all microfinance practitioners: investors, MFIs, researchers, banks, networks, innovators, governments and NGOs, among others.

Organizers of the SAM 2021

The SAM is organized by ADA with the support of the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and the Government of Rwanda.

It is also an initiative of the African networks:

  • MAIN - Microfinance African Institutions Network
  • AFRACA - African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association 
  • AMIR - Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda

These organizers aim to build a common African platform in order to facilitate exchanges and dialogue on the various issues related to microfinance on the African continent, while promoting collaboration between all actors of inclusive finance.

Logo_République du RwandaDirection de la Coopération au développement et de l'action humanitaire  





One is not born resilient, one becomes it:
Fostering inclusive finance to better overcome difficulties

18 - 22 OCTOBER 2021

SAM21 résilience
© Godong/ Lissac

For two decades (2000 - 2019), the African economy has been on a growth trajectory that distinguishes it from other continents, notwithstanding the disparities between countries.

In the same period, inclusive finance has taken off in the continent, thanks in particular to technology-driven innovations that have led to significant progress towards the United Nations' SDGs. 

However, in recent years, inclusive finance, like other sectors of activity, has been evolving in a context marked by severe shocks in the entire world: climate change, terrorism, security crises, migration, political crises, health crises, etc. Among these shocks, the recent health crisis due to Covid-19, with the subsequent restrictive measures, had serious economic and social consequences that affect the livelihoods of vulnerable groups. Despite a lower rate of spread of the virus in Africa compared to other continents, the crisis and restrictions have affected several economic and social sectors.

The above-mentioned crises raise questions about the resilience of African countries. Yet, in the face of the devastating effects of the crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic, and the stresses that have been created, resilience is a critical issue. 

To meet the development challenges set out in the 2030 SDGs, it is necessary to identify the factors through which inclusive finance in Africa can strengthen the resilience of populations. To this end, the SAM 2021 is timely, as it will provide the various sector stakeholders with the appropriate framework for assessing the resilience of institutions active in inclusive finance and the sector's contribution to the resilience of populations to shocks. In other words, it will be an opportunity to identify individual and collective actions to be taken, in synergy, to increase the resilience of African populations

Resilience of the African inclusive finance sector 

It is known that when a global shock occurs, poor households are not only the most likely to be affected, but also the least prepared. Due to low savings rates, imperfect credit and insurance markets, and inefficient remittance mechanisms, the poor tend to have no financial cushion to cushion their fall. 

Financial products, including savings, credit, digital payments, and insurance, can improve resilience through various levers.

Resilient households adopt risk-reducing measures that help mitigate the adverse consequences of shocks. Thus, they are better prepared for future economic shocks.

But the literature lacks evidence to articulate effective ways to use financial inclusion to improve resilience as a policy objective and to incorporate financial tools into interventions to help low-income households prepare for and manage unpredictable income flows and expenditure needs. This further reinforces the relevance of the concept of resilience as the main theme for SAM 2021.


© Godong/Lissac

During the event, the theme of resilience will be addressed from different perspectives:

  • To assess the effects of the health crisis due to COVID-19 on African populations, particularly on the informal economy players; 
  •  Measuring the effects of the crisis on the vitality of the inclusive finance sector in the face of the challenges of the 2030 SDGs agenda; 
  •  Identify the structural changes and financial innovations needed to strengthen the resilience of populations to climate change and crises; 
  •  Identify the role of governments in structural transformations that can increase the robustness of inclusive finance and its impact on household resilience; 
  •  Assess the opportunities inherent in the development of digital infrastructure for the inclusive finance sector; 
  • Examine the roles of stakeholders, partners and other stakeholders in inclusive finance with a view to federating their commitments around synergies of action to build a resilient and effective financial sector for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda of the SDGs in Africa.

Themes of the SAM 2021

Through a series of plenary sessions and workshops, the SAM will address, among others, the following themes:

  • Structural transformations 
  • Resilience strategies
  • Financial innovations 
  • Digital Innovations 
  • Partnerships
  • Enabling environment (government regulations, cultural norms, etc.)
  • Gender and gender equality
  • Youth
  • Rural populations
  • Client protection

A conference... but not only!

The conference will last 2 days: Tuesday and Wednesday of the SAM.
The other 3 days of the week - Monday, Thursday and Friday - will be reserved for other events with international scope:

- Investors' Fair: a networking venue dedicated exclusively to investors and African MFIs, organized in speed-dating sessions to encourage the creation of partnerships between these actors.

- Innovators' Village: formerly known as the "Innovation Fair", the Innovators' Village will showcase innovative tools and services at the national, regional and pan-African levels to improve MFI performance.

- Research Meets Africa: a discussion between African and international researchers and practitioners on topics related to inclusive financial sector development in Africa.

- and other events related to the theme: 20 free trainings and workshops, a Gala Dinner, etc.