This site provides you with the most important links on financial sector development and to SDCs international and Swiss partners.
CGAP - Consultative Group to Assist the Poor
CGAP is an independent policy and research centre dedicated to advancing financial access for the world's poor. It is supported by over 30 development agencies and private foundations. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP provides market intelligence, promotes standards, develops innovative solutions and offers advisory services to governments, microfinance providers, donors, and investors. The CGAP website is the leading independent resource for objective information, expert opinions, industry information and research publications.
Microfinance Gateway (English)
The Microfinance Gateway is the most comprehensive online resource for the microfinance community. It includes research and publications, featured articles, organisation and consultant profiles, as well as tools. Users have the possibility to upload their own contributions.
Portail Microfinance (Français)
The “Portail Microfinance” is the most comprehensive online resource for the French microfinance community. It includes research and publications, featured articles, organisation and consultant profiles, as well as tools. Users have the possibility to upload their own contributions.
The Mix Market
The Microfinance Information Exchange, Inc. (MIX) is the leading source of objective data and analysis on microfinance providers. MIX provides detailed financial and social performance information from microfinance institutions (MFIs), as well as business information from market facilitators and leading donor organizations and investors in microfinance. The MIX Market website offers also a variety of publications including the MicroBanking Bulletin and reports and analysis on regional and country level microfinance sectors.
Women's World Banking WWB
WWB is a global network of 40 microfinance providers and banks, working in 28 countries to bring financial services and information to low-income entrepreneurs. It has a particular commitment to gender and women empowerment. WWB was SDC's longest financial sector development partnership: ever since 1991 SDC had been a core founder, phasing out its support by the end of 2010. WWB has published some very useful tools and publications that can be downloaded on their site.
Pamiga (Groupe Microfinance Participative pour l'Afrique)
Pamiga contributes to the development of microfinance institutions in Africa through consultancy services, an exchange platform and financial investments. The website is interesting for microfinance practitioners in Africa.
CERISE (Comité d’Echanges de Réflexion et d’Information sur les Systèmes d’Epargne-crédit) is a French microfinance knowledge exchange network for microfinance practicioners that was founded in 1998. It focuses on four themes: Impact & social performance, agricultural & rural finance, governance & social viability, and intervention methods.
Since 2006, CERISE has focused on disseminating Social Performance Indicators and assisting MFIs in its application (SPI questionnaire and guide). This process ultimately led to the creation of ProsperA, an Alliance for the PROmotion of Social PERformance. ProsperA promotes the exchange among members and coordinates activities around the SPI tool and member initiatives.
The Rating Initiative
The Rating Initiative was launched by ADA in collaboration with the Government of Luxembourg, the Microfinance Initiative Liechtenstein, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), responsAbility, Oxfam Novib, the Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank (OeEB), the Principality of Monaco and Blue Orchard. The Rating Initiative collaborates with the Social Performance Task Force in all aspects concerning social ratings. Administered by ADA asbl in Luxembourg, the Rating Initiative is steered by a public-private partnership comprised of a Steering Committee and an Advisory Board. The Rating Initiative is driven by the following 3 objectives:
- Promote and contribute to the establishment of a financially viable, sustainable and healthy global microfinance rating market both from the demand and supply side in underserved regions for financial ratings and in all regions for social ratings.
- Address in the long term the lack of available, transparent information on MFIs for investors, donors and other microfinance stakeholders, including the MFIs themselves.
- Ensure the availability of market information not just on MFIs but on the microfinance rating sector in general.
The Smart Campaign
The Smart Campaign seeks to unite microfinance providers worldwide to develop and implement standards for the appropriate treatment of low-income clients based on six principles. The overall objective of the Campaign is for these principles to become embedded within the fabric of the microfinance community and for microfinance to be recognized as a strongly pro-consumer industry. The six principles of the client protection campaign are:
1. Avoidance of over-indebtedness
2. Transparent pricing
3. Appropriate collections practices
4. Ethical staff behavior
5. Mechanisms for redress of grievances
6. Privacy of client data
The Social Performance Task Force
The Social Performance Task Force consists of over 350 leaders from all over the world from every microfinance stakeholder group: practitioners, donors and investors (multilateral, bilateral, and private), national and regional networks, technical assistance providers, rating agencies, academics and researchers, and others. Created in March 2005, the Task Force has been charged with clearly defining social performance and addressing questions about measuring and managing social performance.
The Microinsurance Network
The Microinsurance Network is a member-based network of donor organisations, multilateral agencies, insurance and social protection providers, policymakers and academics. It provides a platform for information sharing and stakeholder coordination with the aim to promote the development and proliferation of insurance products for low-income persons.
The Microinsurance Library of the Microfinance Gateway
This resource includes links to the most relevant documents and weblinks on microinsurance, a glossary and FQA.
European Microfinance Platform
The European Microfinance Platform is a growing network of approximately 100 organisations and individuals active in the area of microfinance. The principal objective is to promote co-operation amongst European microfinance bodies working in developing countries, by facilitating communication and the exchange of information. The website provides information on the annual European Microfinance Week and other publications.
European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE)
EFSE is the largest microfinance investment fund worldwide. EFSE provides sustainable, long term finance to banks and microfinance institutions in Southeast Europe. The EFSE has a unique structure comibing public and private investors. The site provides information on the fund and several studies on the financial sectors of the region.
news! EFSE has been awarded the first price in the "G-20 SME Finance Challenge" in Seoul!
Rural Finance Learning Centre
The Rural Finance Learning Centre aims at assisting organisations in developing countries to build their capacity to deliver improved financial services which meet the needs of rural households and businesses. The webiste of the learning centre contains much material for delivering trainings, self-study and many general references on rural finance.
Founded in 2003, responsAbility Social Investments AG is one of the world’s leading social investment companies. With its investment products, responsAbility enables people in developing countries and emerging markets to access markets, information and other services important for their development in sectors such as microfinance, SME financing, fair trade, and independent media. Private and institutional investors can thus contribute to positive social development and at the same time aim for a financial return in a professional manner. responsAbility is backed by well-established Swiss financial institutions and a social venture capital company as founders and shareholders. These include Baumann & Cie, Banquiers, Credit Suisse, Raiffeisen Schweiz, Swiss Re, Bank Vontobel AG as well as George Avenue. responsAbility currently manages more than USD 899 million in 266 institutions and 62 countries.
The Swiss bank Credit Suisse is not only contributing to ResponsAbility (mentioned above), but it also contributes to the smart campaign, a campaign that aims at developing and implementing standards for the appropriate treatment of low-income clients.
Symbiotics is a service company to assist microfinance investors and fund managers to achieve their goals. Symbiotics provides products and services to investors involved in microfinance, since microfinance investors’ demand for market information, ratings, evaluations and monitoring has constantly increased.
BlueOrchard is the world’s leading commercial microfinance intermediary, providing loans to microfinance institutions through its subsidiary BlueOrchard Finance S.A. and investing in the equity of microfinance institutions and microfinance network funds through its subsidiary BlueOrchard Investments S.A.
FIDES - Financial Systems Development Services AG
FIDES is a company focusing exclusively on the development of sustainable rural microfinance institutions. FIDES is a consultant, investor and manager of microfinance initiatives with a core competence in building sound microfinance institutions in rural areas. FIDES was founded in 1996 by microfinance specialists from six countries. Together with institutional partners, FIDES has since set up successful microfinance institutions in several countries, mainly in Africa and Eastern Europe, and has provided expert support to a large number of other microfinance institutions. FIDES is a joint stock company owned by its leading staff members with head office in Fribourg, Switzerland.
Swisscontact is the organization of the Swiss private sector for development cooperation. Its aim is to promote private economic and social development in selected countries in the South and East through advisory services, training and continuing education.
HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation
HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation came into existence on 1 July 2011 with the merger of two organisations: Helvetas (founded 1955) and Intercooperation (founded 1982). HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation is both an implementing and an advisory organisation, providing professional resources and knowledge combined with social commitment. Within the rural economy domain, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation specialises in three principal working fields: Sustainable agriculture, value chain and market development, rural finance. HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation supports SDC's E+I focal point and network through a backstopping mandate in financial and private sector development.
World Microfinance Forum Geneva
The World Microfinance Forum Geneva promotes inclusive financial markets, drawing in particular on the expertise and active involvement of the private sector. The forum regularly organises international events and fosters research.
Swiss Microfinance Platform
The Swiss Microfinance Platform is an association that aims at bringing together all microfinance practitioners in Switzerland and provide them with opportunities for presenting and sharing activities, exchanging information and experiences, networking with other practitioners and collaborating on joint microfinance initiatives of interest. The website of the Swiss microfinace platform provides information on the activities of Swiss microfinance actor, including a directory of all actors.