AFRICA ISLAMIC MICROFINANCE PLATFORM


OVERVIEW OF ISLAMIC MICRO-FINANCE INDUSTRY

Islamic Microfinance (IM) is becoming one of the most original and dynamic concepts to emerge in the early part of the 21st century for alleviating poverty, especially in developing countries around the world. Over the past decade, Islamic microfinance has continued to gain global acceptance as an important and viable financial industry with diverse products, growing client bases, and widening geographical coverage with over 500 financial service providers offering Shari’ah-compliant microfinance products globally, with 92% concentrated in two regions-East Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East and North Africa. With an estimated 1.5 million clients, the total assets managed by the Islamic microfinance industry as a whole currently exceed $2 billion and is growing by over 20% annually. Although this represents less than 2 percent of the total global microfinance outreach, there is a large unmet demand for Islamic microfinance products indicating a strong growth potential for the sector.

Islamic Microfinance offers the potential to significantly expand access to finance, particularly to poor and unbanked households, which do not use conventional microfinance services for religious reasons. While limited publicly available data makes assessing the state of Islamic microfinance in Africa difficult, a 2007 CGAP survey revealed that at least 5 Islamic microfinance institutions (Islamic MFIs) operated in Africa in 2007 (1 in Mali, 1 in Somalia and 3 in Sudan) disbursing over USD 2 million to more than 12,400 clients.

In Africa, high unemployment, poverty and low levels of financial access to Africans, majority of whom who are living under US$2, continue to create high demand for micro finance products. While conventional microfinance has successfully reached large numbers of the poor in Africa, through the services of several thousands of microfinance banks and institutions continent-wide, there is incontrovertible evidence to suggest that there are many potential clients of microfinance that categorically reject products that do not comply with Islamic principles.

Islamic microfinance, with its emphasis on risk sharing and collateral-free loans, is compatible with the needs of some micro-entrepreneurs. Viable projects that are rejected by conventional lending institutions because of insufficient collateral might prove to be acceptable to Islamic micro finance institutions on a profit-sharing basis.

AFRICA ISLAMIC MCROFINANCE PLATFORM (AIM-P)

The AFRICA ISLAMIC MCROFINANCE PLATFORM (AIM-P) is a private sector driven program that aims to promote financial inclusion for those who are excluded from, or underserved by the existing micro financial system in Africa.

The main objective of the Platform is to bring the millions of Africans with inadequate or no access to financial services into a financial system that offers permanent access to a broad range of high quality financial services that are compatible with their religious beliefs through an elaborate and comprehensive intervention. Ultimately, the Platform seeks to strengthen the microfinance industry of Africa by complementing it with commercial Islamic microfinance.

METHOD AND TYPE OF INTERVENTION

  • We work in close collaboration with local partners, toanalyse local context and needs.
  • We take part in all phases of the creation of green MFIs, from feasibility study to fundraising and execution.
  • We mobilize the expertise and know-how of our professionals and partners to develop capacity in existing MFIs, structured loan guarantee programs, created meso-level support service organizations and apex lending institutions and accessed international capital markets to expand lending portfolios.

STRATEGY

The key strategy of the Platform is to develop partnerships with local and international financial institutions, investors and other relevant national and international bodies to offer African Islamic Microfinance Institutions a wide range of funding facilities, debt and equity linkages, new processes and technologies for developing entrepreneurial Islamic Microfinance institutions in Africa. Its innovative operational support system provides advisory and support services to accelerate the emergence of quality and well capitalized start-ups in Africa and to support their integration into the mainstream financial sector.Once established the Platform provides active support to its members to help them achieve their strategic business goals by offering them a variety of services in good corporate governance, marketing, financial management, strategic growth planning, technology and innovation

CLIENTS AND PARTNERS

The Platform will work primarily with the National Associations of Microfinance Institutions, Microfinance Banks, Conventional Banks, African Central Banks, Development Organizations, Multilateral and Bilateral Funding Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Private Sector and Organizations active in financial education and literacy at national, state/regional and local government levels.

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