Foundation for Resilience

Published by Aixa Alabi on

Joyce Mudenda Siachiwema, dairy and vegetables farmer and customer of AB Bank Zambia, at her farm in Chilanga Area, Lusaka, Zambia.

Banks in the AccessGroup are well equipped from a technological and capacity perspective to deal with the impacts on the C19 pandemic and react to clients’ needs with innovative financial services in a pro-active and agile manner. The necessary foundations have been laid and heavily invested in since 2016 under the Access2Access Programme (“A2A”), co-funded by the Mastercard Foundation with USD 15.5 million over a period of six years. The partnership with Mastercard Foundation composes of three objectives: (i) Capacity Building, (ii) Digitalisation, and (iii) Evaluation and Learning. Programme achievements such as the implementation of e-channels to customers and e-learning platforms to staff, upgrading technical infrastructure and strengthening cyber risk prevention are the supporting pillars of our banks’ resilience today.

Program progress and success factors have been analysed in a Mid-Term Evaluation between October 2019 and February 2020, performed by Genesis Analytics (“Genesis”), a South African consulting company with long standing financial sector and program evaluation experience. The evaluation serves two immediate purposes: (i) taking stock of lessons for further programme decision-making and learning distribution, and (ii) provide a basis for identifying appropriate adjustments and reinforcing initiatives that demonstrate the potential for further success. The findings from the evaluation concentrate on implementation achievements against targets, influencing factors for deviation, success drivers and level of impact on banks, clients and ecosystem.

The main conclusions from the Mid-Term Evaluation are:

  • Since its inception, the A2A programme has made significant progress towards achieving its objectives.
  • The programme’s strengths have been AccessHolding’s learning culture and ability to adapt program activities to address macro-level and contextual challenges in countries of implementation, and to cater to the emerging needs of network banks.
  • The programme has also invested in maintaining the quality of both digitalisation and capacity building components of the programme.
  • The diversification of products and delivery channels and outreach beyond the urban areas through the A2A programme was seen as necessary in order for the network banks to maintain their existing customers, to grow and attract new customers, and overall to become more profitable.
  • The activities anticipated and delivered to date as part of the digitalisation component of the A2A programme are highly relevant in addressing access challenges for customers within the markets the NFIs operate in.
  • Through the customer needs analysis (CNA) AccessHolding gained deep insight into the needs of their clients.
  • In-house capacity building has always been a strong priority for AccessHolding and network banks. However, capacity building became increasingly relevant as the banks transitioned towards digitalization and became more customer centric.
  • AccessHolding has demonstrated continuous learning and adaptability in delivering the capacity building component and processes of the A2A programme.

The activities foreseen in the remaining two programme years until 2022, which have been re-designed based on the Mid-Term Evaluation and the new reality, will make our banks even more resilient and enable them to expand their financial and non-financial services to micro entrepreneurs and the poor in an increasingly agile and customer-centric way.

The Evaluation Report with more details can be downloaded below.

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