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A tool in the fight against poverty and hunger

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in Africa:

  • 31% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day
  • 41% of the population is undernourished
  • Ethiopia is ranked 173rd in terms of the Human Development Index

Since 1996, a law has governed the microfinance sector. Ethiopia considers access to microfinance as an essential instrument in the fight against poverty and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

SFPI in brief

SFPI (Specialized Financial and Promotional Institution) is a microfinance institution created in 1998 by four Ethiopian NGOs, including the National Association of Women for Development. It operates in two regions of the country, Amhara and Oromo.

SFPI’s mission is to facilitate access to appropriate financial services for poor populations excluded from the conventional banking system. The institution grants loans and collects savings, while paying a particular attention in making credit accessible for women and young people. Over the years, SFPI has dedicated 75% of its activity to rural populations that are active in agriculture and livestock farming.


We have been partners since 2000.
Between 2017 and 2021, our partnership has had different functions:
- Increasing the scope of actions in remote rural areas through establishing new rural savings and credit banks: feasibility studies, construction, equipment, training of community leaders
- Supporting the use of new technologies to facilitate banking operations in rural areas: branchless banking, tablets
- Developing new financial products and services adapted to the specific needs of agriculture: development of an agricultural financing strategy
- Strengthening the team's knowledge: training, field visits to other microfinance institutions, workshops to exchange experiences

Encouraging results

At the end of 2019, SFPI counted:

  • 51,500 clients (beneficiaries of credit and/or savings services)
  • Outstanding loans of €10 million
  • Outstanding savings of €4.1 million
  • 52% of women amongst clients

What prospects

Targets to be achieved by 2021:

  • 6 new rural credit savings banks
  • 3,600 members for these funds (55% of whom are women)
  • 34,400 rural borrowers receiving financial services (60% women)
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