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General News Thu, 31 Jul 2008

Ghana to Host Applied Microfinance Institute

Ghana to Host Applied Microfinance Institute (AMI)- West Africa in August

Ghana -based Blackwealth Consulting has partnered MicroSave Consulting to host the Applied Microfinance Institute (AMI) – West Africa, for the first time in Ghana. AMI-West Africa will run from August 25 to September 5 at the Elmina Beach Resort, Elmina, in the Central Region. About 90 microfinance practitioners, including consultants and academics are expected to attend.

Following significant interest in MicroSave tools and approaches in previous years from West Africa, MicroSave is beginning to explore the West African market, as they are already active in Ghana.

Many West Africans have attended some of MicroSave's courses in the past at the School of Applied Microfinance in Mombasa, Kenya.

In an effort to expand its services to the microfinance industry, MicroSave launched the Applied Microfinance Institute which will run in Ghana for two weeks from August 25th 2008. The idea is that participants would be able to choose four courses from a range of twelve MicroSave courses. The courses are designed to be highly practical and bring lasting benefits to financial institutions. The tools are based on ten years practical experience with different financial institutions including Post Banks, Commercial Banks, and microfinance programmes.

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This year's training programme is designed to be highly intensive, affording participants to return home adequately equipped with new, practical knowledge and tools to apply to their institutions. The world class training programme is offering microfinance managers and consultants, the opportunity to develop perspective and practical skills necessary to improve and expand the microfinance services that their institutions offer. Plenary sessions serve as platforms for addressing key issues facing the microfinance industry in West Africa. Evening moderated sessions also focus on experience sharing where participants address sideshows on the success and challenges/issues facing them so they can share ideas

Some of the tools are outlined below.

A). Use process re-engineering to improve your efficiency, and reduce process related risks.

B). Use product costing to identify loss making products

C). Use delinquency management to better understand and manage loan delinquency and default.

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D). Use individual lending, to begin to develop cash flow based individual lending products using industry tested methods.

E). Use branding to improve the way you are perceived by your actual and potential customers.

F). Use customer service to analyse where your service levels are falling short and to develop a strategy for rapid improvements.

G). Use risk analysis to design operational risk management mechanisms into your institution.

H). Use product marketing to develop improved marketing plans and activities for your products.

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J). Introduce new products in the most effective way through our tested pilot testing process

K). Improve the efficiency of staff through a well designed staff incentive scheme.

L). Worried about your loan portfolio – use Loan Portfolio Audit to reduce your credit risks

Notes to Editors

Blackwealth Consulting is a specialist consulting firm providing microfinance consulting services to financial institutions, donors and governments. The company has a vision to build the best, most sustainable micro-finance consulting practice in Africa.

The company helps clients to develop strategies that help them stay ahead of the competition; develop innovative and attractive financial products using market led approaches; re-engineer new processes; attract and retain skilled staff; manage risk; change organizational culture and employee attitude; and turnaround ailing companies.

MicroSave is a unique project that promotes the development of savings and other more client-responsive financial services among microfinance institutions (MFIs). To achieve this goal, the project has successfully combined:-

primary field-level research regarding the financial service needs and preferences of the poor, action research working intensively on the ground with a selected group of microfinance institutions (MFIs), curriculum development, and extensive information dissemination The field-level research entailed extensive interviews with poor people (including microfinance clients) to better understand their financial behaviour and risk profile; while the action research involved helping MFIs to better listen to clients and design appropriate financial products based on better market information. Both research activities complemented each other and directly fed into the curriculum development and dissemination efforts.

For further information, please call Blackwealth Consulting on 021-521171 or email David Cracknell, Africa Programme Director, MicroSave on david@microsave.org

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