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East Africa

Enabling Access to Supply-chain-finance to SMEs in East Africa

2019 - 2021

MEDA and Financial Access (FACM) with its subsidiaries Financial Access Commerce & Trade Services (FACTS) Kenya and (FACTS) Uganda are collaborating to improve access to supply chain finance for SMEs in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.



EASE is committed to the improved access to finance in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania by commercializing technology driven supply-chain financing solutions to small and medium enterprise (SME) value chains in East Africa through various banks and financial institutions.


The goal of the EASE project is to improve access to finance through implementation of supply chain financing franchise model through local banks and financial intermediaries.


This project will reach 100 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. These SMEs are from any sector of the economy and would receive working capital credit in tune of USD 10M through reverse factoring and supply finance credit solutions.


SMEs in East Africa are starved of the working capital needed to fuel their growth and the growth of their suppliers and buyer enterprises. Debt financing based on the collateralizable value of accounts receivables is a common and rapid short-term finance solution alternative widely practiced around the world but almost non-existent in Africa. EASE aims to test a technology driven, cost efficient model to this challenge that is replicable and expandable to other markets.


SME finance is systematically underfunded. Small and growing businesses create around 80% of the region's employment, establishing a new middle class and fueling demand for new goods and services. These businesses face challenges due to lack of access to credit, which remains a hurdle for many SMEs in Africa.

It is estimated that 80% of SMEs cannot fulfill their growth potential due to lack of working capital. Financial institutions base their credit decisions on the availability of hard collateral (land and/or buildings), which business owners might not have access to.

Delayed payment (of sales invoices) is a universal problem for SMEs. In Africa, many companies and businesses are forced to close every year to due to delayed payment issues. Yet financial institutions limit credit exposure to 3-6% of their loan portfolios. This is economically unwarranted and social unsustainable.

Group of People


The project (valued at NOK 29,174,797) will provide technical and financial assistance to MEDA’s implementing partner – Financial Access (FACM), and at least three financial institutions in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. These institutions will facilitate a collateral-free working capital loan to at least 100 SMEs with a total portfolio of at least USD 10 Million through reverse factor and supply finance solutions. Development of appropriate technology to digitize the exchange and commercialization of invoices is expected to make the process efficient, effective and convenient to parties involved. Subsidised credit insurance to participating financial institution is expected to incentivize financial institutions to experiment with the model while not taking any extra risk on their front


Program undertaken with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)

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2020 - 2024

MEDA in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are collaborating to address the key challenges to business creation and inclusive expansion through the provision of targeted support for 30,000 micro, small and medium business enterprises (MSMEs) to become bankable enterprises, enabling them to grow, become more competitive, and generate jobs within trade corridors across Haiti.



The name ‘ATTEINDRE’ was chosen to convey the objective of attaining or reaching greater inclusion of MSMEs in economic resiliency in Haiti, where small businesses face steep barriers to both startup and stability.


The goal of USAID ATTEINDRE (ATTAIN) is to facilitate the creation of an ecosystem of financial and business advisory service providers whose products and services are tailored to the needs of MSMEs. This will allow MSMEs to operate in an enabling environment oriented to their long-term growth, which in turn can contribute sustainably to household income, business expansion and job creation.


Over four years the USAID ATTEINDRE project will impact 30,000 companies directly through enhanced productivity and greater access to inclusive financial products and services (including digital payments); and indirectly by increasing the incomes of women, men, young people, and families through resilient business growth and job creation.


It is estimated that the formal private sector in Haiti only employs around 7% of the total labour force. In comparison, a large informal sector accounts for the majority of employment and income for many Haitians. While already grappling with systemic barriers to business creation and growth, this sector has been deeply impacted by political instability, steady depreciation of the Haitian Gourde, and movement restrictions adopted to control the spread of COVID-19. Despite these barriers, Haitians continue to pursue business opportunities and seek avenues to establish and grow their enterprises.


Haitian MSMEs operate in a challenging business environment. Political and climate-related shocks continually disrupt or damage fragile infrastructure, creating challenges for public and private actors to finance and maintain transport, logistics, road systems, communications, and power systems.

Most MSMEs operate in a large informal sector characterized by cash transactions and opportunistic trading relationships. There they face financial constraints, as the cost of credit is high and financial products are often not adapted to MSME cashflow needs.

Business advisory and workforce development services are also difficult to find, not oriented to MSME business needs, and expensive.

Finally, MSMEs experience challenges accessing a trained and skilled labor force due to limited educational opportunities and significant migration of skilled human capital out of Haiti. While the majority of small businesses in Haiti face these or similar challenges, they are disproportionately felt by women and youth.



The USAID ATTEINDRE project envisions an ecosystem where business support services and financial services are equitably distributed throughout the MSME sector and contributing to an equitable and competitive market system. MEDA, in partnership with Haitian financial, public, and private organizations will achieve impact and scale by:

  • Increasing access to business advisory and workforce development services for MSMEs, by establishing a network of Haitian business advisory and workforce development service providers tailored to serve MSME needs.
  • Increasing access to financial products and the utilization of their services by MSMEs to strengthen the capacity of Haitian Financial Institutions and other relevant actors to expand financial inclusion in the targeted areas.
  • Strengthening the overall business ecosystem for MSMEs by the creation and reinforcement of sector associations while supporting the Government of Haiti’s strategy for MSME expansion and job creation.

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Project undertaken with the financial support of United States Agency for International Development


Adoption of Agricultural Innovations through Non-Traditional Financial Services

INNOVATE – Adoption of Agricultural Innovations through Non-Traditional Financial Services, is a three-year initiative implemented by MEDA and funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). With a portfolio of 10 projects, MEDA is assessing the potential of non-traditional finance to enable large scale adoption of agricultural innovations among women and men smallholder farmers in South Asia, South America and East Africa.

The INNOVATE learning series features a series of publications, blog posts, and learning events based on core themes emerging from the portfolio, including customer centricity, smallholder products and services, smallholder household decision-making, and policy and regulatory transformation.

The learning series is tailored for policymakers, donors and practitioners supporting smallholder farmers and agricultural finance initiatives with the goal of providing actionable research and insight for policymaking and program design.

Kenya & Rwanda

Smiling Entrepreneur

Kenya & Rwanda

Second Chance Success

Blended Finance Approaches to Women’s Economic Empowerment


When women are economically empowered, they re-invest in their families and communities, producing a multiplier effect that’s spurs economic growth and contributes to global peace and stability. Yet, lack of access to finance is one of the major barriers facing women entrepreneurs around the world.

While the women’s access-to-finance gap is well documented, little research exists examining viable approaches that improve access to capital for women entrepreneurs. Without proven approaches, investment funds are unwilling to apply a gender lens to their investments, thereby perpetuating this gap. The Second Chance Success project seeks to identify and test strategies that remove barriers to women entrepreneurs’ access to capital. By sharing the results, best practices and lessons learned from the Second Chance Success pilot, the project can make a critical contribution to the gender lens investing field by demonstrating both the business case for and the efficacy of approaches to finance women entrepreneurs. This, in turn, can build the confidence of investors. Ultimately, greater investor confidence will lead to increased capital flows to women-owned businesses and investment vehicles that employ a gender lens