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Helping Expand Malawi’s Access to Capital for Small and Medium Businesses

The Deepening the Microfinance Sector project in Malawi helped expand access to capital for the country’s private sector focused on three areas: microfinance industry capacity building, facilitation of access to capital, and improving the enabling environment.

​The majority of Malawi's households depend on agriculture for their livelihood, but many individuals and small businesses lack the financial services and funding necessary to thrive. Chemonics worked with USAID to expand access to capital for micro-, small, and medium enterprises in Malawi, focusing on entities in the agricultural sector that will contribute to higher incomes and increased employment in rural areas.

The Deepening the Microfinance Sector project established work plans with four microfinance institutions and identified ways to strengthen their ability to build and manage increased market shares. To strengthen ties across the sector, Chemonics helped Malawi’s microfinance network MAMN better market itself to local institutions and government agencies. The team also worked with the government on policy reforms to create an enabling environment for microfinance growth.



Despite its status as one of the world’s poorest countries, Malawi’s economy has grown an average of 7 percent per year for the last three years, a trend that is expected to continue in 2009. In pursuit of economic growth objectives and encouraged by the government of Malawi's initiatives to promote the develompent of micro-, small, and and medium-sized enterprises, USAID/Malawi commissioned a microfinance sector assessment in 2003.
 
The project helped demonstrate that microfinance was no longer a frontier development tool, but a mainstream commercial activity and an integral part of the country’s financial sector.

Project Duration: 2004 - 2009.

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