The Iniciativa Mifos® Moçambique team recently concluded a trip out to Windhoek, Namibia, kicking off Mifos deployment with the team at Kongalend Financial Services.
Earlier this year, I got several emails from Semba Funda, the IT manager, at Kongalend Financial Services in Namibia. Semba had expressed a strong desire to use Mifos but was in need of a local expert to help them get the full benefits of Mifos. Kongalend is a Namibian microfinance instutition based in Windhoek providing credit and power loan products to those with limited or no access to financial services. They were looking to streamline their operations and have greater control over what their software could do for their business. Their existing system, LendMaster, had very limited support and was impeding day to day operations; they were confident Mifos was the solution for them. With the Iniciativa Mifos® Moçambique team at their side, they’re now ready for a Mifos solution that will allow sustainable growth for the microcredit activities and expansion to several Namibian regions.
The Rise of our Ecosystem
How Semba from Kongalend got connected with Miguel and Natu from Iniciativa Mifos® Moçambique is a telling example of how our ecosystem is growing to meet the local support needs for MFIs. After his initial emails to me, Semba attended our virtual user meeting and shortly thereafter was very persistent about the need for local assistance. Without any in-country resource, I suggested Miguel and his team, as they were as Semba put it, theirnearest African neighbor. The distance between Namibia and Mozambique did not prove a barrier. Miguel enthusiastically was willing to try to meet Kongalend’s needs – a few emails later, a thorough gap analysis sent along by Semba, a couple phone conversations, and Kongalend had signed a proposal to deploy Mifos.
Fast forward to this past week and a Skype conversation I had with Miguel:
[4/11/2011 2:43:39 PM] Miguel de Sousa Jóia santos: Hi[4/11/2011 2:43:52 PM] Miguel de Sousa Jóia santos: How are you today?[4/11/2011 2:44:02 PM] Edward Cable: doing alright – how were your meetings with Natu?[4/11/2011 2:44:19 PM] Miguel de Sousa Jóia santos: more than that my friend[4/11/2011 2:44:28 PM] Miguel de Sousa Jóia santos: i am in Widhoek with Natu[4/11/2011 2:44:41 PM] Edward Cable: oh wow – you’re already in namibia?[4/11/2011 2:44:46 PM] Miguel de Sousa Jóia santos: yes[4/11/2011 2:45:39 PM] Miguel de Sousa Jóia santos: we will be here for the next 2 days collecting requirements[4/11/2011 2:45:57 PM] Miguel de Sousa Jóia santos: i am now busy with a proposal for the loan configuration[4/11/2011 2:46:08 PM] Miguel de Sousa Jóia santos: things are running smoothly
The deployment was already underway! This was an exciting example of our Specialists rising up to meet the need for local assistance and if all goes well, Kongalend will be the first Mifos user in Namibia.
Deployment Kicks Off
The two day on-site visit was brief but the team achieved a great deal. Natu installed and optimized Mifos on their on-site Linux server setting up remote access to check in from Mozambique. Following up on the original gap analysis submitted by Kongalend, they collected business requirements for new loan and savings products in Mifos and data migration from LendMaster and set up the chart of accounts and general ledger. Iniciativa Mifos® Moçambique will be deploying Mifos 2.1 for the first time and are already excited about the potential of Question Groups and looking forward to the wide set of standard reports available in Mifos BI.
With a kick-off date of April 11th, Miguel is anticipating a go-live date of June 6 for a total of 53 days for the deployment. You can track all the progress of what’s taking place on the Kongalend Deployment Project Page.
Some key takeaways from the visit, Miguel and Natu’s first deployment outside of Mozambique:
- Language was not a major barrier. Despite Portuguese being their first language, Miguel and Natu, were surprised that this never became an issue as communications were smooth and thorough.
- Miguel was impressed by how open-minded and professional the Konglend team was. The management team demonstrated a high amount of respect and appreciation for change management and were dedicated to accepting and implementing the recommended process changes.
Intrigued by the level of need and the high degree of maturity of MFIs beyond Mozambique, Iniciativa Mifos® Moçambique is keen on expanding further beyond just Namibia. They are now looking to extend to other Portuguese-speaking countries such as Angola and Brazil and the rest of Southern Africa including South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia. They turned to LinkedIn to find business development partners to help expand and have already gotten a good response through the LinkedIn discussion they started in the Microfinance Professionals group.
More about Kongalend Financial Services
Kongalend is a development-centred Namibian microfinance institution, operating according to commercial principles. Kongalend goal is to provide financial inclusion to their clients, achieving this by providing affordable financial services to those with limited or no access to such services. Kongalend offers a range of collateral-free power loan products to qualifying applicants wishing to acquire a variety of renewable energy technologies, for lighting, pumping water and powering a range of household appliances, including solar water heaters. Kongalend also extends a range of credit products tailored to provide bridging and capital equipment finance to SMEs engaged in productive and value-added activities.
More about Iniciativa Mifos® Moçambique
Read this previous post to learn more about Iniciativa Mifos® Moçambique, a coalition of three firms in Mozambique, SBS, Afrisis, and ICC .
More about SBS
SBS – Insurance & Banking Solutions, is an individual company formed by its manager, Miguel Jóia Santos, with the primary aim of providing the Mozambican Financial market with business solutions to the Microfinance, Banking and Insurance Sectors. They have extensive experience in the banking and insurance sectors and utilize strict project management standards and techniques to manage multiple areas of business consultancy. SBS always seeks to provide a value added proposal, through suitable partnerships with local and international companies in business areas, systems and technology. Together with ICC Mozambique Lda and Afrisis, Lda, they are delivering Mifos as the standard tool for the management of microfinance institutions, ASCAs, government local initiative funds, and agriculture promoters in Mozambique.
Services offered include:
- Consulting services on information systems, business and work-flow processes for Banking, Insurance and Microfinance sectors
- Mifos Specialist and project manager for Mifos deployment
- Project Management training and consulting services.
More about Afrisis
AfriSis Lda. is a private company composed by young Mozambican software engineers that have been contributing to both public, private institutions and ngo’s with their innovative products and services. The main vision of the company is to provide the market with the best possible solution and services, contributing to the enhancement of software development and implementation. They plan on achieving this aim exposed in terms of vision by being on the cutting edge of IT research and development. Their clients list range from various Mozambique Ministries, Telco related companies, financial institutions, research institutes (both private and government institutes) and leading NGO’s in both health and socio-economic areas. They are also involved in outsourcing software services in the mobile applications area to USA (J2ME and Android). Afrisis has developed and deployed end to end (mobile, touch-screens, sms’s, desktop, web) software solutions across all provinces of Mozambique.
More about ICC
ICC Mozambique Lda is a part of ICC Group, a Southern African management consulting and training firm that promotes private-sector led economic growth. ICC’s mission is “to contribute for the economic and social development of the African Portuguese Speaking Countries through the provision of high quality consulting services and training to financial institutions, SMEs and international and national development organizations” through interventions in six areas:
- Strategic Planning
- Microfinance consulting services
- Training and Institutional Capacity Building
- Business Development Services to SMEs
- Economic studies
- Project Management
Through its 10 years of existence in the Mozambican market, ICC has provided services to most Mozambican MFIs individually or in groups in the form of institutional assessments, markets research and product development, strategic planning impact assessment, training and capacity building and sector studies and support to the microfinance association.