PAWDEP became the first microfinance institution in Africa to report its data to the Microfinance Transparency Pricing Initiative(MFT). MFT is a network that allows microfinancing organizations that mainly lend to the world's poor to disclose how much they charge their borrowers, allowing more transparency and greater protection of the poor. The initiative has the backing of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, who set up Bangladesh's Grameen Bank and is regarded as the founder of the microfinance movement.PAWDEP
received a certificate during the global microfinance meeting in Nairobi, which Yunus attended. "Investors, donors, policymakers, researchers and practitioners will immensely benefit from having access to the interest rate data", Yunus was quoted as saying in a statement shortly after the policing body was established." In the past few years, hundreds of pro-profit companies have begun financing and marketing loans to the poor in developing nations," says the global network on their website.It says companies have been "attracted by the near-monopoly lending environments and misleading pricing systems compounded by borrowers' frequent lack of understanding of the financial details of credit transactions. The information, published on the website www.mftransparency.org disclose repayment schedules for each product that participating microfinance institutions offer.
"We encourage all practitioners to join the network to enhance transparency and promote information sharing in the sector," Carol Mulwa, country manager - Oiko credit Kenya. The global initiative says its target is to promote a microfinance industry operating with healthy free-market conditions where consumers and other stakeholders can make informed decisions.
"We are at the beginning of a huge wave," Mr. Chege says. "Market development at the bottom of the pyramid is very sustainable and will have dramatic social impact." Our ultimate goal is to provide essential information necessary for healthy free market conditions," (MFT on their website).