A shared commitment to promote microfinance as an instrument against poverty and hunger has led a network of 15 African microfinance institutions and the UN’s capital investment agency to stage a joint forum on energy and water financing next month in Ethiopia.
‘Innovation in clean energy and water access through microfinance’ is the theme of an event to be hosted by the Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa (PAMIGA) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) in Addis Ababa on 30-31 October 2014.
The forum has been formally announced today by PAMIGA’s Chief Executive Officer, Renée Chao-Béroff, and UNCDF’s newly-appointed Executive Secretary, Judith Karl.
It will combine two annual events: PAMIGA’s Expert Meeting on lessons learned from Africa to improve access to clean energy and water through microfinance, and UNCDF’s CleanStart Connect 2014 which unites leading energy and financial service providers, investors, policy makers and development partners to advance practical solutions to reducing energy poverty.
According to Ms Chao-Béroff, the event will incubate new ideas in microfinancing and guide actors involved in increasing access for financially-excluded populations to clean energy and water services.
“We’ve developed what we hope will be a thought-provoking and inspiring two-day programme to stimulate debate and share learning about good practices in financing, including by examining PAMIGA pilot studies in different parts of Africa,” Ms Chao-Béroff said.
Speaking in Addis Ababa during her first official visit to Africa, Ms Karl welcomed the collaboration with PAMIGA through UNCDF’s global CleanStart programme.
“The field of energy access is evolving quickly with exciting solutions being tested, many of which will be discussed at the forthcoming forum in Addis Ababa. It is through partnerships like this with PAMIGA that UNCDF can be at the forefront of supporting the widespread uptake of viable clean energy options for off-grid populations in Asia and Africa,” Ms Karl said.
Among the topics to be covered are consumer financing models – through microfinance, pay-as-go models and village electrification – as well as last mile solutions, impact investment for scaling up and impact measurement.
Around 100 delegates from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America are expected, representing financial institutions, energy and water suppliers, governments, non-governmental organizations and other development partners.
PAMIGA’s involvement in the forum is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the European Union, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Swiss Capacity Building Facility (SCBF) and the Liechtenstein Development Service (LED).
UNCDF’s CleanStart is supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and the Government of Liechtenstein.
This will be a bilingual event conducted in English and French with simultaneous translation.
PAMIGA’s mission is to contribute to unlocking the economic potential in rural Africa, by promoting the growth of existing financial intermediaries that serve rural areas. PAMIGA is a network of 15 locally-owned African microfinance institutions motivated to develop rural finance in 10 Sub-Saharan African countries. As of today, those MFIs reach more than one million clients, with a savings portfolio equal to €55 million and a loan portfolio of €85 million. See www.pamiga.org.
ABOUT UNCDF AND ITS GLOBAL CLEANSTART PROGRAMME
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (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. See www.uncdf.org.
CleanStart is a UNCDF global initiative which aims to expand access to clean energy for low-income households and micro-entrepreneurs through microfinance. See www.uncdf.org/en/cleanstart.