What do Yemen’s MFI Association, IFAD’s fisher/farmer assistance in Nigeria, and Opportunity International’s Community Economic Development strategies in Nicaragua share?
In the past week, Sandler Trade LLC conducted interviews about Africa, Latin America, and the Gulf region as part of the research for our Microfinance (MF) and Exports Project.
On Monday, we spoke to Dave Mevayekuku, who is working on the IFAD Community-Based Natural Resource Management Programme in Nigeria. This project focuses on capacity building, institutional strengthening, and community development for
rural MFIs. He teaches rural farmers good marketing and banking habits and is a link between agricultural enterprises and sources of financing, including MFIs. His project seeks to export dried fish and agricultural produce within Africa and to Europe, however, Mr. Mevayekuku discussed the need for help to identify export markets and meet quality controls in overseas markets.
Our second interviewee was Geralyn Sheehan of Opportunity International (OI). She started an innovative project in 2008 in Nicaragua designed to marry the best strategies for community economic development with the best microfinance strategies. This
idea had not really been explored before. After analysing different industries in Nicaragua, OI identified sustainable farming and tourism as activities with high growth potential for developing job-creating small and medium enterprises, moving away from the conventional focus on micro-enterprises. The project seeks to export yucca/cassava grown in Nicaragua but found that regional and national markets proved more cost-effective than entering the U.S. market.
Sandler Trade LLC also had the chance to speak with Khalil Al Mikhlafi, Research and Development Executive at the Yemen Microfinance Network (YMN) about the country’s young MF industry. One of YMN’s main goals is to increase access to financing, as only 3%-4% of the population has access. YMN provides market research so its members can open branches to reach more clients especially in Yemen’s rural areas.
We’d like to thank Mr. Mevayekuku, Ms. Sheehan, and Mr. Al Mikhlafi again for their assistance and insight. Their help has been invaluable. And our research continues…stay tuned!