The development of inclusive financial systems adapted to the needs of the poor in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries fosters economic growth, thereby making a key contribution to poverty alleviation.
Microfinance plays an important role in this context: it is a development tool allowing the poor to improve their living conditions by facilitating access to basic financial services such as loans, savings, money transfer services or microinsurance.
This is why the EU and the ACP Group of States have joined forces to develop microfinance in these regions.
Activities in this field specifically aim at:
- developing new financial products and complementary non-financial services such as business development services;
- reaching out to excluded and marginalised populations;
- building the capacities of microfinance institutions (MFIs);
- improving regulation in this field, namely through training and by developing strategies together with local decision makers;
- building and disseminating knowledge.
Programmes and projects
- ACP/EU MICROFINANCE II (2010-2015)
The Commission's only programme of this magnitude strictly dedicated to microfinance, ACP/EU MICROFINANCE targets financial inclusion as well as the adaptation of services to the specific financial situation of the client.
It focuses on three main components:
- pro-poor access to finance;
- consumer empowerment and capacity building; and
- equitable and efficient local markets.
- EU/ACP MICROFINANCE (2005-2010)
The programme provides funding in the form of grants and supports international organisations with common goals and geographical scope.
The previous ACP/EU MICROFINANCE programme was launched in an environment of rapid growth and aimed at developing microfinance in ACP countries by building and strengthening the capacity of microfinance actors, and promoting the rating of microfinance institutions to increase transparency. The current programme builds on its positive results.
Most ACP countries have experienced relatively slow growth in the microfinance sector over the last twenty years.
Recognising the contribution that microfinance can make to poverty eradication in line with Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the European Commission has been collaborating closely with the ACP Group of States since 2005 to develop and strengthen activities aimed at delivering microfinance-related services in ACP countries.