Kejela, an Ethiopian boy, sifts proudly through his parents' coffee beans

Future Trends and Solid Economic Foundation


2010 was both an enriching and challenging time for VisionFund’s systems and technology strategy. At midyear, it was decided not to roll out the Global One project beyond the Ethiopian pilot as was originally planned. The Global One model encompassed a core banking application as well as a centralised infrastructure and support platform. In spite of this change, the MFI network was enriched as VisionFund was able to leverage lessons learned from the pilot to initiate a systems governance structure that has provided strong guidance on quality and security for local and regional systems implementations.

Beyond core banking applications, VisionFund affiliated MFIs are actively researching and adopting new technologies such as mobile banking, eWallet, and cloud computing in order to better serve clients and increase outreach and impact.

Mobile banking has allowed micro borrowers to transfer funds via their mobile phones through a partnership with third party technology firms.

eWallet provides the technology for micro borrowers in the country of Georgia to purchase, sell, pay for services, and send/receive money between each other. In the future, eWallet is expected to expand to other markets.

Finally, the advent of mobile cloud computing has allowed MFI staff in Honduras to assess the credit status of potential micro borrowers in the field, and provide a preapproval process on the spot. This system has streamlined the approval process for many micro borrowers in Honduras, allowing the entrepreneurial poor to access loans in a shorter amount of time.

Solid Economic Foundation

2010 was a year in which the global economic crisis continued to impact microfinance efforts. However, the VisionFund network of affiliated MFIs was able to respond well to the impact of the economic conditions. Restructuring to accommodate lower revenues, improving lending processes, and the continued strengthening of collection processes led to increased performance and a stronger financial outlook.

During financial year 2010, three of the four regions where VisionFund affiliated MFIs work experienced an increase in their outstanding portfolio. In fact, in the Asian region, MFIs collectively saw a 33.4% growth in portfolio.

From a funding perspective, 2010 saw an increasing flow of funds towards microfinance, with a number of multilateral funds being put in place and increased participation in microfinance by some mainstream financial services organisations.

VisionFund worked with over 80 external lenders to provide leveraged debt facilities to affiliated MFIs in every region. VisionFund has striven to secure socially minded mission partners and as such is pleased to partner with the finest microfinance lenders in the world including Blue Orchard, Oikocredit, Symbiotics, ResponsAbility, Triple Jump, and Incofin (a live internet connection is required to view these external websites).

Environmental Impact

VisionFund seeks to eliminate or reduce negative environmental effects and enhance positive ones. For example, VisionFund actively supports a healthier environment by reducing travel through utilising collaborative conferencing software for virtual meetings. Further, VisionFund affiliated MFIs are committed to supporting those businesses which have a positive environmental impact and to the training of borrowers to recognise and avoid negative environmental impacts.