South-South Knowledge Sharing
  • February 27, 2014

MicroLead Expansion (MLE), an UNCDF programme, is hosting its first knowledge sharing event. The three-day workshop was designed to facilitate the sharing of experiences among financial inclusion partners of the programme from the South. The objective of the workshop is to leverage on learnings from all Financial Service Providers (FSP) and Technical Service Providers (TSP) supported by the programme.

“Sharing knowledge among our grantees and partners is essential to our programme. Each of our grantees is exploring new territories and is gathering along the road precious learnings that can be shared with other partners,” said Pamela Eser, Global MicroLead Advisor at UNCDF. “This first workshop is part of a series of exchange events that will take place over the course of our programme.”

The working sessions of this workshop revolve around three main topics: product development, branchless banking and youth financial services, with international experts leading and facilitating the sessions. The discussions and learnings shared during the workshop will contribute to the development of these savings-led financial service providers. All 22 partners represented operate with a focus on rural markets, women and alternative delivery channels. “Given the high levels of financial exclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa, it is fantastic to see that MLE projects are addressing this through a variety of contextually appropriate approaches such as branchless banking and client-centred product development. The TSPs and FSPs are actively exchanging and analysing the lessons on financial viability, customer satisfaction and scalability coming from existing branchless banking deployment under the initial MicroLead programme," said Prabhat Labh of The MasterCard Foundation. "This annual meeting is a valuable learning opportunity for FSPs and TSPs that will help them develop their own strategies and contribute to financial inclusion."

MicroLead Expansion, the largest global thematic initiative of UNCDF, is supported by The MasterCard Foundation. The programme provides grants to leading FSPs and TSPs on a competitive basis to facilitate their entry into financially underserved areas. The end goal of the programme is to serve over one million low income savers in Sub-Saharan Africa, by 2016, with responsibly priced and delivered services.

UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 48 least developed countries. It creates new opportunities for poor people and their small businesses by increasing access to microfinance and investment capital. UNCDF programmes help to empower women, and are designed to catalyze larger capital flows from the private sector, national governments and development partners, for maximum impact toward the Millennium Development Goals.

MicroLead/MicroLead Expansion, UNCDF’s flagship global thematic initiative funded by UNCDF, The MasterCard Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and LIFT Myanmar, has provided access to financial services to over 600,000 (net) depositors globally since 2009. For more information, visit

The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with more than $9 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 46 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is a separate and independent entity. The policies, operations, and funding decisions of the Foundation are determined by its own Board of Directors and President and CEO. To learn more about The MasterCard Foundation, please visit