Established in Kenya during 2008, the FS Africa Regional Office was a strategic decision made by the Frankfurt School to gain a foothold in the African continent. Since 2010, we have completed more than 160 projects in the region. Our key partners include pan-African institutions such as the African Development Bank, African Guarantee Fund and large, African financial institutions, as well as a wide network of local financial institutions. We also implement projects on behalf of International Development Institutions such as EIB, KfW, WBG/IFC, FMO, etc.
We implement projects across all thematic areas of the International Advisory Services, with particular focus on (M)SME lending, Fund Management, HR Management, as well as Women Banking & Empowerment.
Frankfurt School’s success in Africa is built on international best practise that has been customised to local markets and a tailored approach to meet the individual needs of our clients and beneficiaries. In-depth knowledge and experience in almost every African country, as well as a large percentage of FS staff coming from the region, form the backbone of our strength in Africa. Following market trends and optimising the use of Digital Financial Services contributes to driving costs down and improving accessibility and outreach.
With more than 15 years of extensive project portfolio, FS Africa has been at the forefront of providing Technical Assistance in the African financial sectors, and we have built an extensive network of consultants and service providers, as well as strong relationships with a number of financial institutions, regulators and other stakeholders.
The FS Africa has worked with the following partners in 40 of the 54 African countries:
In 2019, the AfDB launched a new gender-focused flagship programme called “Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA),” which seeks to accelerate economic growth and employment across African economies by closing the financing gap for women. The three focus areas include:
1. A $300 million risk-sharing instrument to unlock $3 billion in credit for women businesses and enterprises;
2. Advisory services to financial institutions to orient their product portfolios to women and capacity building to women entrepreneurs through trainings that enhance business productivity and growth; and,
3. The creation of an enabling environment by engaging with African governments and other key stakeholders to support legal, policy and regulatory reforms and remove the structural barriers impeding women in business.
Frankfurt School currently provides Technical Assistance to Financial Institutions (FIs) as well as women organisations in four countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi and Zambia. Within the FIs, our focus is on designing financial and non-financial products and services that are better accustomed to women entrepreneurs and that remove some of the existing hurdles for women to access finance for their business.
In close collaboration with the FIs, we design the products, define the terms and conditions, train staff of the FI, develop the marketing strategy for these products and start a pilot phase to launch the products. We support the women organisations and associations by strengthening their internal capacity to train and support their women members or beneficiaries in business management.
Between 2013 and 2018, Frankfurt School was responsible for the creation, administration and management of the Uganda Rural Challenge Fund (URCF).
The URCF provided partial grants to Partner Financial Institutions (PFIs). PFIs implemented projects that improved access to sustainable and demand-driven financial services for the rural population and micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in Uganda. The main achievements of the project include:
1. Increased physical outreach of FIs through the use of solar-powered ATMs, increased use of mobile banking and the introduction of mobile banking vans;
2. Introduction of new products and services adapted to rural areas such as micro-leasing, micro-insurance for farmers and solar home system loans;
3. Improvement in financial sector partnerships, by linking SACCOs and Village Savings and Loans Associations to commercial banks; and,
4. Increased family income by providing working capital and helping farmers avoid the sale of products at low market prices.
Within Microfinance Institutions, it is common practise to promote technically strong loan officers or other staff to branch managers and other middle management positions. These managers know the technical side of their work well, but lack managerial skills and experience. REGMIFA TAF therefore contracted Frankfurt School to implement capacity building and training related to managerial competences such as leadership skills, performance management, effective communication skills and other soft skills.
Frankfurt School conducted Training Needs Assessment and developed a customised training programme for each of the 38 Microfinance Institutions supported by REGMIFA. Subsequently, training materials were developed in close cooperation with the institutions. On-site trainings were held in 14 countries, which all incorporated a Training of Trainers component to ensure long-term sustainability. After a final evaluation of the training programme, future trainings were recommended to the institutions’ senior management.
The Southern Africa region comprises a diverse group of countries, ranging from middle-income and relatively developed economies including South Africa, to very poor countries. However, they do share some common features: for instance, all countries in the region have close economic and financial ties to South Africa. As a result, there is an urgent need to make growth more inclusive, diversify the economic base, develop the value chain locally and promote the activity of M/SMEs, which includes the provision of goods and services to core industries.
During the programme period from 2015–2022, this TA program has three key objectives. First, it aims to create market awareness of the EIB’s Loan Facilities to ensure that these funds are allocated to creditworthy final beneficiaries. Second, it aims to enhance the administrative and operational capacity of the Approved Financial Intermediaries to ensure their long-term sustainability and support the diversification and geographical outreach of their financial services and product range to their respective market segments. Third, it aims to improve the ability of final beneficiaries (microenterprises and SMEs) to present bankable projects to the Financial Intermediaries.