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Improving the Financial Services Sector in South Africa

To expand access to financial services and lower costs for borrowers, the Financial Sector Program in South Africa reformed the legal and regulatory framework affecting the business environment and extended successful lending practices to small and medium enterprises.

To increase access to a range of high-quality, affordable financial services for small and medium enterprises, Chemonics and USAID implemented the Financial Sector Program. By improving the commercial viability of lending to historically disadvantaged small and medium enterprises, enhancing their “bankability,” and reforming the legal and regulatory framework affecting the financial sector and business environment, the project helped to integrate disadvantaged groups into South Africa’s larger economy.

The program partnered with banks and nonbank financial intermediaries to improve financial products to respond to specific small and medium enterprise needs. The project also targeted these enterprises to increase their fundamental financial knowledge and skills to improve their bankability. Without these skills, small and medium enterprises often were unable to meet potential lenders’ basic requirements. With more credit options, enhanced bankability, and improved financial knowledge, small and medium enterprises in South Africa can experience increased economic growth and benefit from a better business enabling environment.

Project Results:

  • Partnered with 12 financial intermediaries across all nine provinces in South Africa
  • Facilitated more than 6,900 financial transactions for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), totalling $160 million
  • Trained nearly 260 business development service providers (BDSPs) who in turn helped more than 2,850 SMEs
  • Assisted 509 Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) SMEs, previously designated as historically disadvantaged
  • Developed the online business portal finfind and helped recruit 64 BDSPs as consultants

Read an excerpt from the Final Report here.

Watch Chief of Party Terri Kristalsky talk about the project's impact in South Africa

Project Duration: 2008 - 2013


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