Brussels 30 April, 2015/ ACPEU MF/ ACP: After five years dedicated to building inclusive financial systems in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, the ACP-EU Microfinance programme held its final event today to review results, share lessons and look at future prospects of financial inclusion.

The full day event was opened by Assistant Secretary General of the Sustainable Economic Development and Trade Department, Mr. Viwanou Gnassounou and included presentations by experts as well as grantees which had benefited from the programme, under three main areas: rural finance, social performance management and financial education.

Since its launch in 2010, the ACP-EU Microfinance Programme has impacted 52 of the 79 ACP member countries (13 in Sub-Saharan Africa, 13 in the Caribbean and 7 in the Pacific), reaching more than 3.5 million financially under-served people with improved access to finance.

By mixing direct contributions and partnerships with international organisations, the programme contributed to improved legal frameworks in 36 countries, building the capacity of national microfinance networks in nearly 30 countries, and supporting 2,443 local microfinance organisations to better serve the needs of the poor and improve financial capacity of nearly 500,000 people.

Amongst the various beneficiaries was the Ministry of Education in Fiji, represented by Kelera Taloga, who spoke about the national financial education programme integrated local Fijian high schools. From Sierra Leone, Andrew Kata presented on financial education for village savings and loan associations, while Maureen Webber shared the experiences of the Carib-Cap project, which seeks to expand the use of quality financial products and services for under-served Caribbean clients.

ASG Mr. Gnassounou welcomed the positive results, which were achieved under a total budget of €15 million over 5 years. He added that access to finance will remain a priority area of private sector development for both the European Commission and ACP Secretariat under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

ACP-EU Microfinance is funded by the 10th EDF.

(Photo: Representatives from ACP-EU MIcrofinance, ACP Secretariat (Assistant Secretary General Mr. Viwanou Gnassounou), and the European Commission)

– ACP-EU Microfinance/ ACP Press