Sudan: Rural Microfinance Services for One Million Poor Women Across the Sudan

press release

Rome — The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a US$925,000 grant to the Republic of the Sudan to scale up the existing Agricultural Bank of Sudan Microfinance Initiative (ABSUMI).

The objective is to further improve the livelihoods of 150,000 poor households by increasing income and savings through access to a wide range of agricultural and non-agricultural investments.

The financing agreement for the Agricultural Bank of Sudan Microfinance Initiative was signed today by Amira Daoud Hassan Gornass, Ambassador of the Republic of the Sudan, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.

Offering Islamic sharia-compliant credit, savings and microinsurance, particularly to women, ABSUMI was created within the Agricultural Bank of Sudan through a pilot phase in two locations in North and South Kordofan. When it began in 2010, ABSUMI was built upon the proven "village sanadiq" model and incorporated a range of strategic innovations and unconventional business practices including group guarantees and effective training. It entered the microfinance market through the bottom layers of the economic pyramid by providing smaller loans and serving the poorest segments of the population. Loans support small agricultural activities, livestock fattening and rearing, and a range of microenterprises such as petty trading, tea stalls and brick-making. The improved information-dissemination and training paired with the confidence in the model and the presence of enabling regulatory framework resulted in the success of the initiative.

As of September last year, the programme had reached more than 60,000 people in 10,000 households across 97 villages. As a response to this successful outcome, IFAD has approved the new grant to expand the initiative. Six new ABSUMI units in five states will be established. The ten-year projection is that ABSUMI will provide sustainable microfinance services to about a million poor women across the Sudan.

With this new project, IFAD will have financed 20 programmes and projects in the Sudan since 1979 for a total investment of approximately $252 million benefitting 455,500 households.

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