Opportunity International is implementing innovative agricultural microfinance in rural communities across Africa. Opportunity’s banks in Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, Mozambique and Rwanda share a vision to transform the future of rural communities by reaching over 1.3 million savings accounts and 94,000 smallholder farmers with agricultural finance services by 2013.
As of June 2011, these five banks were collectively serving 174,155 clients with active loans, 37,483 of whom are smallholder farmers and rural or agriculture business operators. The biggest success story is Opportunity’s provision of savings, which continues in its significant upward growth trend with 717,331 savings clients in these five banks. This substantial surge in rural savings accounts is a sign that the poorest families can and will save when provided the appropriate tools, education and incentives.
We are leveraging technology to reach the most marginalized families in rural regions
Mobile bank vehicles, cell phone banking, ATMs and point of sale devices allow Opportunity to deliver customized services virtually anywhere, enabling us to extend our reach to rural and remote areas with efficiency and affordability. During the first half of 2011, Opportunity improved access to financial services for thousands of families.
- Opportunity Ghana brings the bank to the doorstep of rural poor families with two mobile banks while Malawi operates a fleet of ten. Rwanda and Uganda each serve rural clients with one mobile bank and Opportunity Mozambique plans to add additional mobile banks to the six now in service.
- Opportunity Ghana and Uganda have issued more than 13,000 biometric smart cards making it possible for clients to access their accounts within their local markets and shops. Ghana and Malawi are implementing cell phone banking, allowing clients to conduct transactions right from their business or home.
- During the first six months of 2011, Opportunity Uganda opened a branch in rural Mubende, bringing the total number of branches to 11 and Malawi is reaching rural families through two new satellite branches and an additional kiosk in addition to point of sale devices at 57 merchant shops, 28 ATMs and via cell phone banking.