Rural Financial Services Programme
The overall aim of this IFAD-initiated programme is to further rationalize and strengthen grass-roots microfinance institutions, to improve rural poor people's access to their services. The specific objectives of the programme are to:
- support the design and development of a comprehensive financial system at the grass-roots level, owned, operated and managed by members of microfinance institutions and based on the principles of private banks
- enhance microfinance institutions' technical, operational and outreach capacity to provide financial services to rural poor people for productive and income-generating activities
- empower rural poor people by removing legal, regulatory and social barriers to ensure their active participation in microfinance institutions and provide them with an opportunity to enhance their business and technical skills
- strengthen the financial instruments, skills and capital base of grass-roots microfinance institutions and financial intermediaries
Finally, the programme will assist the government in consolidating and deepening its ongoing policy and institutional reforms for rural microfinance services, and in developing a sustainable rural financial system that can be integrated into a gradually liberalized financial sector. The programme, which will be concentrated primarily in areas where IFAD's initial pilot experience has provided some demonstrable results, will initially cover the regions of Dodoma, Mbeya and Kilimanjaro during the first-phase intervention.