Sub-Saharan Africa - Access Africa Fund
Site: Sub-Saharan Africa
Sector: Financial services, microfinance
Challenge: Most people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to basic financial services such as savings account and credit, which can be critical tools in saving for a home, an education, or starting a small business or a school and sustained financial security.
Solution: OPIC provided financing and political risk insurance to Microvest LLP, a Bethesda, Maryland microfinance institution whose Access Africa Fund lends to some of the smaller microfinance institutions (MFIs) in countries including Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. This support has enabled them to lend more to individuals, small farmers and entrepreneurs, including some entrepreneurs who have used the funds to start or expand local schools. Because a lack of physical infrastructure is one of the major impediments to financial inclusion, these small lenders often use technology and other innovative distribution channels in places where no physical banks exist. Access Africa is also funded by CARE USA.
Impact: A growing number of financial institutions have been able to provide services such as checking accounts and loans, and more capital is being channeled to the entrepreneurial pool.
This project was profiled in 2012.