Investments, a for-profit company providing equity for microfinance institutions, and ACCION International, a leading nonprofit microfinance organization, today announced that they will invest in, and provide technical assistance to, Tanzania's Akiba Commercial Bank. The move is designed to help Akiba expand its operations and financial services, particularly in microfinance.
ACCION Investments will take a 20 percent share in the bank, investing up to $2.5 million as part of a new capitalization program. Existing shareholders, including international investors such as Incofin, FMO, Stichting Hivos-Triodos Fonds and Stichting Triodos-Doen, and Tanzanian investors such as InterConsult Ltd., Parastatal Pensions Fund and almost 70 private Tanzanian individuals, have invested a total of $2.7 million in the capitalization. At the same time, Akiba has contracted ACCION International to provide the bank with a senior management team, as well as short-term technical assistance in order to expand the bank's portfolio and outreach to thousands of Tanzanian microentrepreneurs.
John Lwande will serve as Akiba's new managing director, under contract with ACCION. Lwande brings more than 19 years of leadership, management skills and product expertise to the post, having directed operations for microfinance institutions and commercial banks in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia.
Akiba's goal is to grow substantially beyond its current footprint of six branches, presently centered in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Moshi. The bank has just over 98,000 depositors and a total deposit base of TZS 36.3 billion. Among these depositors, it has 16,000 microcredit customers, and a total loan portfolio of TZS 25 billion.
"Our investment demonstrates our belief in, and commitment to, Akiba and the Tanzanian microenterprise market," said Enrique Ferraro, managing director of ACCION Investments. "The bank has shown great recent progress, has an excellent record as a deposit-taking institution, and a solid group of international and Tanzanian shareholders," he continued. "We're proud to be even more deeply involved with Akiba."
ACCION's relationship with Akiba began in early 2002 through an institutional assessment exercise. ACCION subsequently provided technical assistance to the bank’s microfinance operations, in training, product design and marketing, and eventually provided full-time advisors. Its increased participation in the bank reflects not only its faith in Akiba, but also a rapidly expanding engagement in African microfinance overall; ACCION recently launched a rapidly-growing microfinance bank in Nigeria, and has also recently announced the launch of microfinance operations in Ghana through a partnership with Ecobank.
Via: (ACCION International)