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Hellen Masika Petronela

A Look at 20 Years of the Microfinance Support Centre (MSC)

In 2017, MSC pioneered the introduction of Islamic Microfinance in Uganda, with total investments amounting to Shs82 billion at the close of 2021.
posted onFebruary 3, 2022

By Hellen Masika Petronela

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of The Microfinance Support Centre (MSC), I am pleased to announce that we have reached an exciting milestone of 20 years of financial inclusion, and contribution towards Uganda’s socio-economic transformation journey.

MSC was established in August 2001 from the Rural Microfinance Support Project (RMSP), which was designed to provide micro-finance services to the rural poor, in line with the Uganda Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) 1996.

Upon establishment, MSC continued to implement the RMSP until its completion in 2008.

Since then, MSC has carried on the objectives of the project, among which is to facilitate access to affordable financial services.

Over the last 20 years, MSC has delivered capacity building and cheap micro-credit to qualifying Ugandans through a branch network of 12 zones, 4 satellite offices and agents located in every district of Uganda.

Primarily lending to Cooperatives and the Agriculture sector, MSC gradually expanded its client base and target sectors to ensure more categories of Ugandans were included on the journey to a market-led economy.

Today, MSC extends financing to Groups; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs); Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs); and Cooperatives.

In 2017, MSC pioneered the introduction of Islamic Microfinance in Uganda, with total investments amounting to Shs82 billion at the close of 2021.

In 2019, the Government entrusted MSC with the Presidential Initiative on Job and Wealth Creation program (Emyooga), further strengthening its mandate by absorbing more financially excluded Ugandans.

Cumulatively, Government, through The Microfinance Support Centre, has invested 600 Billion over the 20 years, creating employment opportunities and increasing household incomes for millions of Ugandans.

To celebrate our journey and the achievements we greatly take pride in, we have lined up a series of activities, starting with a memorial lecture in honor of our former Chairperson of the Board, the Late Dr. Kisamba-Mugerwa (May His Soul Continue to Rest in Peace).

Dr. Kisamba-Mugerwa was instrumental in influencing policy and championing reforms in the agriculture and finance sectors of the economy and ably steered the Microfinance Support Centre from 2018 until his timely death in January 2021.

From April to September, we shall conduct ‘anniversary barazas’ in every region, where we shall showcase our contribution to the region over the 20 years.

We shall embark on a number of social responsibility activities, engage with key stakeholders and recognize clients who have been exemplary in the utilization of the funds extended to them.

In October, we plan to wrap up with a gala where we shall retrace our journey, celebrate those who have played a crucial role in our 20-year growth and share our vision for the future.

Throughout our journey, we have been privileged to manage microfinance programs on behalf of Government of Uganda.

Currently, we are managing the Emyooga program, which targets 18 specializations including boda-bodas, fishermen, welders, performing artists, journalists, veterans, women and youth, among others.

Emyooga, which in the local Runyankore dialect means specialized enterprises, was launched in August 2019 by H.E the President, Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni, at the end of his nationwide wealth creation tour, through which he sensitized the masses on how to move into the money economy.

Under the leadership of the State Minister for Microfinance, Hon. Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo, we hit the ball rolling with a countrywide sensitization drive in September 2019 for Resident District Commissioners, Resident City Commissioners, District Community Development Officers, District Commercial Officers and Chief Administrative Officers.

We had just completed the Northern region, heading to the Eastern region when the lockdown was instituted in March 2020 as a measure of curbing the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Although we resumed sensitization in June, we could not gather people together and had to continue the exercise via phone, radio and dissemination of printed information materials.

By the end of the mobilization and sensitization drive in 2020, 2361 local government officials had been trained and 6400 Emyooga SACCOs formed across the country.

With the SACCOs in place, disbursement of seed capital to SACCOs that were fully registered began.

To date:

1. 6,813 Emyooga SACCOs are fully registered

2. 55,557 SACCO, Association and Local Government leaders have been trained

3. 228 Billion has been disbursed

4. 54.3 Billion has been mobilized in savings

At the beginning of the year, MSC commissioned a training of trainers program across the country targeting commercial officers, community development officers and local based trainers in every district.

This is being done as a leader’s refresher training course, and to strengthen management capacities of SACCO and Association leaders.

As important stakeholders, we invite you to journey with us as we count the milestones throughout our 20 year journey. This is a year of celebrating MSC’s existence and contribution towards Uganda’s socio-economic transformation journey.

I end by thanking the Government of Uganda, particularly the President, for trusting us with the country’s microfinance programs.

I thank the Ministry of Finance and the Board of Directors for their guidance and stewardship. I thank the Executive Director and fellow members of Senior Management for their leadership. And lastly, I thank the staff, our partners and funders for their unwavering support to ensure that MSC fulfills its mandate.

Hellen Masika Petronela is the deputy director of the Microfinance Support Centre (MSC)

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