CGAP’s Pilot Microfinance Capacity-Building Initiative in Africa

01 February 1999

In April 1997, the CGAP Secretariat launched an experiment called the CGAP Pilot Microfinance Capacity-building Initiative in Africa. The initiative spanned East and West Africa and focused primarily on working with African training institutes to provide financial management courses to microfinance institutions (MFIs). The Pilot Initiative sought to build the foundation for the development of a market for quality training and technical assistance services offered on a sustainable basis in the region.

After 20 months of implementation, a number of lessons have emerged that are relevant for donor initiatives attempting to enhance the performance of the microfinance industry worldwide. These lessons have proved critical to the Secretariat’s follow-on capacity-building programs in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States.

This note briefly describes the Pilot Initiative in terms of its rationale, objectives, and results. Most importantly, key lessons and preliminary recommendations for implementing capacity-building programs are presented.