|Exhibit at the National Museum in Nairobi.|
Nairobi is one of the continent’s star children: the one who may place third in the spelling bee but won’t mind because she has a good shot at winning the science fair competition. The region serves as a lab for innovative ideas and the microfinance sector here is a great example. Like Ghana, each MFI in this region has varying models of delivery and a unique portfolio of products. Unlike Ghana, every MFI in this region has a website. Is this a key indicator of success? Surely not, but it indicates that microfinance is a visible and competitive industry here. Microfinance institutions here are not asking “what can we do?”, but “how can we do more?” For them, it’s not just about lending money. It’s about finding ways for that money to create things that generate a larger return for the community. Two trends have emerged here to ensure that microfinance is doing just that: mobile services and partnerships.
|Nairobi's city centre.|
Directors of MFIs here also know that the greatest impact is made in tandem with focused expertise. One microfinance institution partners with an agricultural agency to make sure that their products are transformational for their farmer customers. Staff at many Kenyan MFIs are trained to deliver financial literacy tools to clients, frequently a requirement for microloans. My assignment here has been to partner MFIs with professional expertise from the global private sector and not surprisingly, my job has been easy. Companies, educational institutions and development agencies recognize the pivotal role that MFIs play in increasing income generation and improving the quality of life for Kenyans living on less than a $1 a day, and they’re eager to take part.
|Sunrise at Nairobi National Park|