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MIX Data and Map Provide a Comprehensive View of African Financial Inclusion for the Poor

Washington, D.C., September 19, 2011 – MIX (Microfinance Information Exchange), today launched the Africa Map of Financial Inclusion for the Poor (africa.mixmarket.org) to help practitioners and policymakers better understand access to finance in Africa. This interactive tool is part of a $2 million, 3-year partnership with The MasterCard Foundation to enhance core functions of the MIX Market web platform, and improve visibility and access to financial inclusion information in Africa. Through contextual data, the map helps to identify gaps and highlight priority markets in the region.

Until now, there has been a lack of transparent and detailed information on financial services for the poor in Africa, which has contributed to limited growth and investment in the sector. Africa receives only 7 percent of global investments in microfinance and has the lowest rates of financial inclusion. Many microfinance institutions (MFIs) and other providers in Africa struggle to gain the visibility and access to information needed to grow in a sustainable manner.

To fill this gap, MIX partnered with The MasterCard Foundation to develop a comprehensive view of the African landscape in order to raise the visibility of institutions serving the poor in sub-Saharan Africa and to steer future improvements in financial inclusion. The map aggregates data from surveys conducted on an expansive list of African financial providers. It represents the broadest coverage of financial services targeted to the poor in Africa – spanning almost 23,000 providers reaching more than 70 million clients. The data covers many informal or unregulated providers that are not available in other resources.

“MIX’s survey of the African microfinance landscape is an important milestone for the industry,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “The launch of the data and the map paves the way for investors and African microfinance providers to access and share current information.”

  • Access to the raw data from the surveys, which was utilized in our analysis and is the foundation of our landscape map.
  • Analysis of the data, which describes the methodology used to achieve reliable estimates, as well as major trends and prospects for future data.
  • A visual map of financial access for the poor in the region, comprised of a wide-ranging set of products and channels, allowing users to quickly visualize access to finance by country, built in partnership with Development Seed.  

The map is relevant to MFIs, practitioners, policy-makers and investors looking for a detailed understanding of the spread of MFIs in Africa. For example, it can be used by MFIs to determine gaps in products and services for business planning purposes. Regulators can use the information to better allocate resources for supervision and to track the evolution of the sector.

“We are grateful to The MasterCard Foundation and the scores of local, regional and global actors, whose commitment to transparency and reporting have made this unique aggregation possible,” said Marten Leijon, CEO of MIX. “At MIX, we believe that this kind of landscape data can help guide efforts to improve the lives of today’s unbanked in fundamental ways. We are excited to provide this tool for Africa and hope to be able to develop the partnerships needed to provide the same level of transparency for other regions.”

About MIX

MIX is the premier source for objective, qualified and relevant microfinance performance data and analysis. Committed to strengthening financial inclusion and the microfinance sector by promoting transparency, MIX provides performance information on microfinance institutions (MFIs), funders, networks and service providers dedicated to serving the financial sector needs for low-income clients. MIX fulfills its mission through a variety of platforms. On MIX Market (www.mixmarket.org), we provide instant access to financial and social performance information covering approximately 2,000 MFIs around the world. Our publications, MicroBanking Bulletin and MIX Microfinance World, feature thorough and timely analysis based on qualified data and research.

Incorporated in 2002, MIX is a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, DC with regional offices in Azerbaijan, India, Morocco, and Peru. Our efforts are strengthened through our collaboration with the following global partners: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CGAP, Omidyar Network, The MasterCard Foundation, IFAD, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Citi Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Deutsche Bank. For more information about MIX, please visit www.themix.org.

About The MasterCard Foundation

The MasterCard Foundation advances microfinance and youth learning to promote financial inclusion and prosperity. Through collaboration with committed partners in 48 countries, The MasterCard Foundation is helping people living in poverty to access opportunities to learn and prosper.

An independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada, The MasterCard Foundation was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company’s initial public offering in 2006. For more information, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org.

Contacts

Krista Pawley
V.P. Communications
The MasterCard Foundation
Email: kpawley@mastercardfdn.org

Devang Sheth 
Strategic Marketing Lead 
Email: dsheth@themix.org