In July 2022, a BRS delegation (Hubert Benoot, Christian Van Wynsberghe, Danny Pieraets and Antoine Landtmeters) went to Senegal for a working visit with our partner, the savings and credit cooperative U-Imcec.
Antoine and Christian work at CBC as assistant financial reporting and agricultural credit decision-maker, respectively. They volunteer for BRS’s projects by sharing their expertise with their colleagues in Senegal.
The two CBC experts were not new to BRS. Christian went to Burkina Faso together with other CBC colleagues 4 times since 2016 to help the Kaya Savings and Credit Cooperative provide loans to local farmers, while also paying attention to risk management. And Antoine travelled with Christian 2 times, focusing on aligning credit provision to the specific local needs and requirements of clients (especially farmers).
What did U-Imcec, BRS’s MFI partner in Senegal expect from this visit?
Antoine: “Firstly, we want to help U-Imcec become the specialist for financing family farmers and distinguish itself from other local microfinancing institutions (MFIs). To achieve this, they set up a specialised agricultural financing department, their so-called CFA (Centre de Financement Agricole)”.
Christian: “And secondly: the financial manager, Mansour Sene, helped to convert the many data that U-Imcec has at its disposal into good and sound reporting. On a regular basis, so that the costs and revenues of some products become more visible faster.
During the visit, the BRS delegation was able to work very well together on this and to exchange experiences easily with some 20 colleagues from U-Imcec.”
How did you experience this project visit?
Antoine: “To be able to analyse data properly, 4 days on site is at the same time many and not many. We have already been able to map out the first trends. And to discuss this with those responsible and their colleagues in the field. The profitability figures are one piece of the puzzle. The mission of the cooperative to improve the living conditions of the poorer population is also very important. To maintain this balance, the reporting needs to be refined.”
Christian: “These 4 days allowed us to visit some local farmers, U-Imcec clients and their companies. The rest of our program was focused on the commercial approach of the agri-finance relationship managers, and on best practices at CBC that can inspire U-Imcec. The CFA has now been launched and staff are very motivated.
I feel positive about the future.”