Increasing Financial Inclusion in West Africa – VoLo and Creditinfo Joint Venture. AfDB involved.

2000px-Flag-map_of_Senegal.svgCreditinfo and VoLo Africa are pleased to announce their agreement to merge their credit bureau operations and establish a joint venture (JV), Creditinfo VoLo Africa, with the objective of working together in West Africa, in the area of credit bureaus, risk management and biometric information.

The initial intention of the JV is to set up operations in Gambia and Senegal, with Creditinfo Cape Verde also becoming part of the JV.  An additional 7 countries are also planned upon receipt of regulatory clearance and approval.

The partnership brings together the Creditinfo experience of developing credit bureaus and risk management solutions in developing markets such as Tanzania, with the VoLo experience of biometrics and in depth experience of West Africa financial services.

Both organisations will actively be involved in steering the future of the business in Africa, bringing structure and strategic direction with the aim of increasing the stability of the African financial system and stimulating investment and financial inclusion, to create an environment in which the African banks can provide the required facilities for all borrowers, ranging from small enterprises and micro enterprises.

Mr. Abdou Draman Touray, Chairman and CTO at VoLo stated “It was very important that we could work with an international company with the experience such as that of Creditinfo. They are extremely committed to supporting the JV and we know they have the knowledge base to deliver excellent results. By combining our capabilities we plan to offer quick positive results to our clients.”

Mr. Muhammad M. Jagana, Chief Executive Officer of Creditinfo VoLo Africa added “We are proud to be a part of this joint venture and are eager to bring our own expertise and proven capabilities.  Our companies share similar values and like VoLo, Creditinfo clearly take their clients’ success very seriously. They have worked with numerous organisations worldwide and with each project worked on, they will be able to pass on new ideas and lessons learned from those experiences.”

The private sector in Africa plays a key role in increasing financial inclusion and in providing the financial infrastructure necessary for sustained economic growth. The JV will jointly develop an improved system that will be a fundamental part of the financial infrastructure of Africa by providing high-quality credit information to the financial sector.

Through the exchange of information, credit reporting systems can be established to enable financial systems to use accurate information to offer credit based on objective criteria. The result is lower risk and costs for the creditor and increased economic opportunities for SMEs and members of society and especially for those at the bottom of the financial pyramid.  Working together, Creditinfo and VoLo will design, integrate and implement strategic solutions to improve credit risk management procedures in Africa.

VoLo and the African Development Bank Group (AfDB ) have partnered in this area.  The Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA), which is financed by the Governments of Japan and Austria, provided start-up funding for VoLo’s pilot in Senegal, which now becomes part of Creditinfo VoLo Africa.  Both VoLo and Creditinfo hope to deepen this relationship that should be fruitful for developing financial inclusion in Africa.

Mr. Reynir Grétarsson, CEO and majority shareholder of Creditinfo Group welcomes the joint collaboration advising “Creditinfo has made the strategic decision of investing heavily in financial infrastructure in Africa in the coming years.  The cooperation with VoLo will enable us to speed up this expansion, while also providing us with indispensable knowledge of utilisation of biometric information, as well as local specifics. VoLo is thus the perfect partner.  Both companies also have strong dedication, manifested in action, to practise social responsibility and to help the economic development of the countries where we operate.  Increased financial inclusion will only be part of the benefits of this cooperation.”

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volo logoVoLo Africa is a private majority-African owned company that seeks to improve financial inclusion, reduce poverty and increase access to health care through the establishment of VoLo’s Trust Information Platform (V-TIP). VoLo’s unique systems and processes bind biographical, biometric, and sector relevant data into a multi-platform and scalable database that analyses information thereby providing transparent risk assessments and providing comprehensive and balanced scores for subscribers to use in determining credit risk of consumers.

VoLo’s relationship with the African Development Bank Group (AfDB ) started with an invitation for proposals for piloting MSME credit information services in African countries. The invitation was launched by the AfDB in May 2012 via various channels, including the Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A) website hosted by the AfDB.  This invitation reflected AfDB’s recognition of the lack of credit information services across Africa, which are essential to facilitate MSMEs’ access to credit markets. VoLo’s proposal for a credit information service based on its trust information system incorporating biometric with other data was considered as one of the promising ideas selected for support by the African Development Bank.