Grameen Foundation and CGAP Host Tech Roundtable in Kenya - Advancing Back Office Systems for Microfinance

As the microfinance industry seeks to scale both its outreach and impact, core back-office systems and technology continue to be a great challenge for microfinance institutions worldwide. In October, Grameen Foundation and CGAP, with support from MasterCard Foundation, launched a series of industry-wide workshops to start a unified dialogue to address this challenge.

Several key themes emerged from this initial discussion amongst global leaders across the sector representing funders, technology providers, microfinance practitioners, and global networks.

Grameen Foundation and CGAP are now exploring these themes in further detail, taking the discussion down to the regional level at a series of three regional workshops. The first is taking place today, February 23, in Nairobi, Kenya with two additional roundtable discussions taking place in India and Latin America in 2010.

More than twenty-five participants representing software and technology providers, governmental bodies, funders, regional associations, national networks, and the leading MFIs across East Africa are coming together to collaborate and identify actionable steps to address these challenges:

Cost: Are back off systems too expensive? What can the industry do to bring down costs? How can disruptive new technologies and business models make solutions more accessible?

Risk: How can MFIs mitigate the risks of technology? Why do so many projects take longer and deliver less than expected? How can tech providers and MFIs work together to reduce these risks?

Value: Where is the value in technology, especially back-office systems? How can this value proposition be made clearer and more apparent to MFIs looking to invest?

Click here for a summary of the initial workshop from October in Washington, DC (.pdf)

Once the workshop has concluded, we will post a summary of the key points and topics discussed as well as more details on upcoming workshops. Grameen Foundation will have a busy next couple of months in Kenya so stay tuned for updates.

Craig Chelius, our Global Consortium Advisor, will be presenting on Measuring the Return on Investment for Technology in Microfinance (.pdf) during the AITEC Banking and Mobile Money COMESA 2010 Conference on Feb 24 and 25 in Nairobi, Kenya. George Conard, Executive Director of our Technology for Microfinance Initiative will be speaking on the Innovations in Information Technology that work for the Clients and the MFIs panel at the upcoming 2010 Regional Microcredit Summit in Nairobi on April 7 - 10.

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