West African microfinance networks create regional institute
Six West African microfinance networks joined forces to create a new regional institute, the Financière de l’Afrique de l’Ouest. Based in Dakar, the new financing institute will start with 4.5 million clients and 800 points of sale. The new institute aims to offer short-term credits (less than two years) at a rate of 5.5% and three-five-year credits at 7.5%. This is much less than the rates that commercial banks charge, which range from 8% to 12%. Access to financing remains a key challenge for many small-scale businesses in West Africa. The six networks collected some 400 billion CFA francs in 2016 and granted loans worth 300 billion CFA francs.