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The Fund portfolio is now complete in terms of selection and $40.7 million of the financial support available has been disbursed to Fund participants to date. Based on the selection periods and diverse business models, some participants are further along than others in terms of generating development impact through their businesses. The figures below were based on available self-reported data up to the period December 2018.
The total number of customers reached the second half of 2018 was approximately 368,000. This is apparent as the portfolio began to mature and the majority of participants moved into full implementation. In this regard, self-reported figures from the participating projects as at December 2018, indicate that over 1,300,000 customers have used at least one of over 70 financial products or services made available with Fund support so far. This means the Fund has already met its initial target of reaching 1,000,000 people with better financial access, and further progress may have been made given not all participants completed reporting in the period. While the significant reach is commendable, a more significant indicator is one of active usage of these financial products and services.
In order to track usage (in addition to outreach), participants are asked to report on their number of active customers as well. While these are defined differently for each financial product or service, all are measured over a time span of 12 months. At the aggregate level, over 1,100,000 customers were deemed ‘active’, which is encouraging given the work of the Fund is not only to increase access to financial products and services, but to encourage increased usage.
In the first half of 2018 the number of customers who participated in financial literacy capacity building was approximately 146,000. In the second half of the year this figure was approximately 229,000. In total, a figure of over 591,000 customers using a financial product or service supported by the Fund, have received some kind of capacity building/literacy training to date. This is another encouraging statistic given it should in future result in better and more frequent use of products and services, for the benefit of households.
While the Fund is not specifically focused on job creation, jobs created directly within the Fund supported program are tracked. This excludes any jobs created as a result of the Fund intervention at the beneficiary level, for example if a farmer employed additional help during a harvest season. As participants would have to collect this information from their beneficiaries in order to report on it to the Fund, measurement of employment creation at this level is costly for participants.
In the first half of 2018, over 660 new jobs were created within Fund participants and in the second half approximately 640 new jobs were, bringing the total to over 1,300.
What is clear is that the initial Fund target of reaching over 1,000,000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa with better financial access has already been surpassed through the work of the 38 participant projects in the portfolio. The challenge remains for all stakeholders is to ensure continued (as opposed to one-time) usage of financial products and services by the rural community, and long term sustainability of the business projects for impact delivery to significantly transform lives.