The FIDES Approach
Creation of new microfinance institutions. The focus of FIDES is the creation of greenfield microfinance institutions in rural areas and in secondary towns. When targeting rural areas, adjustment to local conditions is a critical element of success, requiring innovative and environment-sensitive approaches that are at the same time based on international best practice in microfinance.
Where sufficient relevant experience can be brought from other countries, FIDES and its partners launch greenfield formal financial institutions directly. In more challenging contexts, FIDES develops the concept of the institution and confirms its feasibility through a pilot-testing phase that verifies the hypotheses on markets, products, clients and organizational setting. Pilot operations, supported by international donor agencies including GIZ, IFAD and the World Bank, are transformed into commercial equity-based formal financial institutions, with private social investments ensuring the sustainable long-term development of the institutions.
FIDES is currently investing in the development and implementation of new technologies for branchless banking (e.g. mobile phone banking, POS systems) to maintain and improve competitiveness as well as to accelerate outreach. FIDES is convinced that the success of rural microfinance will depend heavily on continued technological and organizational innovation.
Expertise. Beyond its own group, FIDES carries out feasibility studies and/or evaluations for donor agencies and investors, develops strategies for microfinance institutions and supports the introduction of technical and organizational innovations. On the macro-level, FIDES has provided expertise for sector
analyses as a basis for the development and implementation of countrywide sector strategies and has been involved in policy, legal and regulatory assessments in view of the creation of conducive legal and regulatory frameworks for microfinance.
Training. FIDES considers that institutional capacity is the key issue for further expansion of microfinance institutions. It has organized a large number of training seminars and sessions in partner countries and provides significant support to building local training capacity. FIDES is the technical input provider for a Master of Science in Microfinance degree, a one-year postgraduate training program organized by the University of Montpellier, France.
Research and development. An important research component focusing on concrete development issues enables FIDES to innovate in its institution-building programs. FIDES conducts applied research on relevant topics throughout its MFI network to better understand clients, their household economy and businesses, and how they use products and services. The objective is to ensure that FIDES reaches its target clients and that its products and services are innovative and are adapted to client demand.
FIDES Organization and Management
FIDES President and Managing Director Konrad Ellsдsser and Co-Director Markus Schдr lead the company. Markus Schдr has taken over parts of the every day management of FIDES and Konrad Ellsдsser concentrates on the strategy of the company and its implementation. In this context, he is also coordinating the relations with partners of FIDES and SMH.
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