Microfact in Argentina: Interview with Maria Silvia Abalo from RADIM
Microfact welcomes Maria Silvia Abalo, RADIM Managing Director, in the dynamic pool of certified Microfact trainers, after her successful replication in Buenos Aires in April 2018.
We talked with Maria Silvia about the importance of microfinance sector in Argentina, the role of RADIM (Red Argentina de Instituciones de Microcrédito) and why Microfact tools and trainings matter so much to the local MFIs.
1. Is Microfinance necessary in Argentina?
Yes it is, because 40% of the population live and work in the informal economy and do not have access to decent financing conditions. Moreover, an important part of those 40%, lives below the poverty line. In this context, microfinance give an opportunity to the entrepreneurs within this group. In addition to providing funding, many of the microfinance institutions in Argentina provide training in entrepreneurship or trade. Others give access to health services or provide legal advice for the people without any identity documents or for immigrants. Above all, we speak about the market where financing happens in conditions of absolute transparency and with respect for the customers.
2. What is the role of RADIM (Red Argentina de Instituciones de Microcrédito) in the operation of MFIs?
RADIM works under the three main pillars:
I. Institutional strengthening
In the first and second one, we educate our members on SPI4 and as of now, MFI Factsheet of Microfact. Together with the University of Buenos Aires, we organize a four-month course on Management and Leadership in Microfinance, delivered by the highest authorities from the microfinance institutions. Its purpose is to strengthen our institutions and seed new talent for them. We carry out “Knowledge to Grow” Program” that addresses the main issues of the MFIs management (e.g. Credit Risk and Portfolio at Risk) and “Inter MFIs Program” that allows institutions to improve performance of their employees through training in other institutions. In addition, with respect to Advocacy, for 13 years already, we organize the Annual Microfinance Conference, which is the meeting point for all the stakeholders in the sector. We also carry out a monthly cycle called "Reflection Mornings" on financial inclusion with the broad participation of actors from the public and private sectors.
3. What is the added value of Microfact tools in the operation of MFIs in Argentina?
In many cases, microfinance institutions in Argentina lack instruments that allow them to analyse their financial and social performance. Microfact offers highly professional tools that allow them to do it. They serve to the management of the institution and to attract the potential funders. We believe that if all our institutions use MFI Factsheet and SPI4, it would be a great advantage in the understanding of their financial and social performance and in the homogeneity of information.