Over 150 guests celebrate AMFIU's 10th anniversary in Jinja. The day was May 3rd 2006. The place was Jinja Nile Resort Hotel. Attendance was a cross-section of over 150 important people. Excitement filled the place. Each year since 1996 AMFIU has been gathering for annual workshop and Annual General Meeting (the author is one of the privileged few who have attended all the annual functions of AMFIU). This year, It was a time to reflect on the birth and growth of a microfinance industry with so many achievements just in ten years!
The highlights of the celebration were, among others, awards from World Bank- CGAP program, awards to MFI Best entrepreneurs, awards to ?Friends of AMFIU? (i. e. national and international development partners) and launching of an AMFIU 10-year booklet and video documentary ending with the cutting of a huge cake.
CGAP transparency award ? 4 AMFIU members receive merit recognition
First it was CGAP to give out the awards. Ms Grace Yabrudy, the World Bank Uganda Representative, who was represented by Sarah Kitakule said, ?CGAP is committed to furthering financial transparency. Why should we care about financial transparency? Because transparency makes it easier for investors to make decisions about capital allocation and to monitor the performance of their investments. It also has gains for MFI managers, who are better positioned to make good management decisions when their financial reporting is clear and easily understood. Transparency is key to assessing risk and ultimately making microfinance a more professional business?.
CGAP and AMFIU also urge all MFIs to be clear, truthful and responsible to their clients in disclosing real interest rates. Whether or not is required by law, it is the ethical duty of lenders to tell microfinance clients how much they are truly paying for a loan, that is interest rates and any fees that are charged with the loan. It is the MFI?s (!) responsibility is to make sure they enter into a loan with their eyes open and are fully aware of what it is expected of them.
The Financial Transparency Award is a CGAP annual initiative that highlights good practice disclosure and stimulates improvement in annual financial reporting. The Award attracted 175 applications representing 57 countries in every region of the world. In the Sub-Saharan Africa region we had 34 applicants. Of the 7 institutions that received merit recognition, 1 from Malawi (PRIDE Malawi who was also represented at Jinja), 1 from Kenya and 1 from South Africa and 4 are AMFIU members from Uganda:
1. Uganda Microfinance Union;
2. U-Trust; FOCCAS (Foundation for Credit and Community Assistance);
3. CMF (Commercial Microfinance Limited);
4. CERUDEB (Centenary Rural Development Bank Limited);
5. Faulu Uganda;
AMFIU?s ?best client award? recognizes successful micro-entrepreneurs
Secondly AMFIU awarded five best clients of its members. They included:
1. The best client award went to Kigundu Gloria from UGAFODE.
Kiggundu at her factory in Mukono (move to Ugafode article)
2. Balisimaki Mugisa Julius from Pride Microfinance LTD MDI, Hoima branch came second in the award. Balisimaki started with a loan of 150,000/= in 1998 from Pride and is currently servicing a loan of Shs.10m/= Currently he has diversified his business which employs 18 people into:
1. A wholesale and retail shop in Hoima town
2. A farm with fifty Friesian cows
3. Rental houses
4. A Tata lorry that helps to transport merchandise
5. 3 butcher outlets
3. The third award of the best client went to Isabella Oteng FINCA U Lira Branch. She was one of the first client of FINCA Lira in 1998 and her first loan was 50,000/= and she invested the money in a wine business. Wine is produced from pineapples and passion juice using bare hands. The business is now employing 10 people two of whom are disabled and has graduated from using bare hands to the use of machines and now have branches in Ngetta, Kamdin, Lira Town and Kansanga. Isabella has been able to buy a vehicle to help us operate the business.
She has graduated from village group lending to individual lending. Currently she is servicing a loan of 2,000,000/=.
4. The fourth client award went to Kikambi Sarah of Feed the Children Uganda. She has been a client of Feed the Children Uganda for the last 6 years since 2000. In that period she has completed 16 cycles and is currently running the 17th cycle under the individual loan product. Her current loan is 30,000,000/=.Her first loan was 50,000/= which was injected in the trading of textiles and accessories. Her business has continuously expanded though she still sells the same textiles, but she now employs 3 people and goes to Dubai to purchase items. Sarah has now two shops in Kiyembe.
5. Goobi Lameck from Voluntary Action for Development (VAD) got the fifth client award. He has transformed himself from a subsistence farmer to a prominent business man. He started with a mobile shop with a capital worth 600,000/=. From 1998 he has utilized micro credit loans ranging from 250,000/= to 1,000,000/= and has serviced them well. Thus he managed to expand the business from the village to Wakiso Town. From 2002 to date he has serviced 10 loans ranging from 1,000,000/= to 3,000,000/=. He now operates both retail and wholesale shop, owns lorry to transport merchandise. From VAD he also received various trainings including book keeping, business planning and management, house hold budgeting, savings and credit management.
?Friends of AMFIU? awards, booklet-launch, cutting the cake
The following AMFIU Friends who have identified with and contributed to AMFIU?s success received awards: GTZ/Sida FSD Project; DFID/FSDU project; SNV; Hivos, Cordaid, ded; SUFFICE; MOP; SEEP; AFMIN.
On behalf of recipients, Peter Rhode of GTZ/Sida FSD said that they were happy to have supported AMFIU that has shaped the direction of the vibrant Microfinance in Uganda and the Africa Region. He pledged to continue being friends of AMFIU.
AMFIU outgoing President (2004 ? 2006), Dorothy Katantazi Bbosa, excited members how happy she was to end her term with such a big celebration. ?AMFIU has come along way from a vague, hardly formal network to a well-focused, well-positioned apex organization. AMFIU aims to become the information hub of the Microfinance Industry in Uganda, with Performance Monitoring at its core, though it will not be limited to that.? Katantazi Bbosa once again stressed the importance of the MDI-act as a framework for all MFIs in Uganda, and pointed to the increasing importance of linkage banking. For the future, she called upon AMFIU and its members to engage thoroughly in development of new products. She went ahead to launch 10 Years of AMFIU (1996 ? 2006) that captures milestones of AMFIU over the years, People that shaped the industry and stories. The booklet is available at AMFIU secretariat at Ug. Shs. 2,000 only.
The Guest of Honour, Prof. Hon. Kamuntu, gave an overview over the state of the financial and microfinance sector in Uganda, pointing to the challenges ahead. Still, the majority of rural Ugandans lacks access to financial services, 25% of districts have no formal financial institution at all. Prof. Kamuntu pointed out that the financial sector is still too narrow and too shallow to serve all Ugandans equally. He called for new products, particularly saving products, and a comprehensive regulatory framework for those MFIs that are not licensed by BoU. Last but not least, the Guest of Honor cut the cake as a climax of the celebration.