February 19, 2010 - A rapidly changing regulatory environment is bringing new opportunities and challenges for microfinance institutions (MFIs) in East Africa. Grameen Foundation and Standard Chartered are hosting an industry conference today in Nairobi, Kenya, to help MFIs navigate these changes and take advantage of new funding opportunities that can fuel their growth and outreach to more of the region’s poor people. Professor Njuguna S. Ndung'u, governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, will deliver the keynote address at the opening session.
The summit will bring together the chief executives and senior management from MFIs from Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, as well as government regulators, investors, commercial banks and other key players in the microfinance industry.
“The changing environments in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have created a significant opportunity for microfinance institutions to move beyond grants and donor funding to equity, savings and other sources of commercial financing,” said Norman Buckham, Grameen Foundation’s regional CEO for Africa. “We are pleased to work with Standard Chartered to help microfinance institutions in these key markets adapt to this changing funding landscape.”
During the conference, attendees will learn best practices for structuring their operations to attract and manage commercial financing, including advice on securing equity financing and managing debt financing. They will also have a unique opportunity to network and develop deeper relationships with key lenders and investors.
Mr Richard Etemesi, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, said that the conference provides a unique opportunity for the sector players to openly discuss financing requirements and concerns given the challenging global economic environment and a unique opportunity to provide long-term solutions for the entire microfinance sector across East Africa.
He added that microfinance is no longer a local issue but a global business. “It gives me great pride to be able say that in Africa we are using our international network, products, systems and services to provide microfinance institutions with debt finance and innovative solutions to their business problems, including local currency funding and foreign currency hedging,” said Mr Etemesi.
About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit organization, helps the world’s poorest people access financial services and technology solutions by providing financing, technology support and management strategies to the local organizations that serve them. It also spearheads technology initiatives that create new microbusiness opportunities for the poor, provide telecommunications access for the world's rural poor, and improve their access to health and agriculture information and other services. Founded in 1997, Grameen Foundation has offices in Washington, D.C., Seattle, Washington, Hong Kong, Ghana and the Philippines. Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is a founding member of its board of directors, and now serves as director emeritus. For more information, please visit www.grameenfoundation.org.
About Standard Chartered Bank
Standard Chartered PLC, listed on both London and Hong Kong stock exchanges, ranks among the top 25 companies in the FTSE-100 by market capitalisation. The London-headquartered Group has operated for over 150 years in some of the world's most dynamic markets, leading the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Its income and profits have more than doubled over the last five years primarily as a result of organic growth.
Standard Chartered aspires to be the best international bank for its customers across its markets. The Group earns around 90 per cent of its income and profits in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, from its Wholesale and Consumer Banking businesses. The Group has over 1600 branches and outlets located in over 70 countries. The extraordinary growth of its markets and businesses creates exciting and challenging international career opportunities.
Leading by example to be the right partner for its stakeholders, the Group is committed to building a sustainable business over the long term and is trusted worldwide for upholding high standards of corporate governance, social responsibility, environmental protection and employee diversity. It employs around 70,000 people, nearly half of whom are women. The Group's employees are of 125 nationalities, of which about 70 are represented in the senior management.
For more information, please visit: www.standardchartered.com