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Tanzania

VISIONFUND TANZANIA'S MISSION AND GOAL

VisionFund Tanzania shares a passion for providing opportunities for those in the poorest and most difficult to reach areas. We desire to sustainably lift the poor out of poverty and improve the outlook and lives of children across Tanzania.

Many of the poor are hardworking, resourceful and determined to solve their own problems. Without access to capital and financial services, income is irregular and sometimes only enough to survive day to day.

For nearly a decade we have been helping the poor, who are highly capable of starting a business. Our financial services complement and further World Vision's aims to reach out to those living in poverty. These combined interventions help to improve their lives; their children’s future; and the communities where they live.

VisionFund Tanzania will train thousands of farmers to understand the demands of the commercial markets, produce successfully for those markets, provide loans to purchase farming inputs and enable over thousands of savings accounts within the footprint of the program. We also anticipate that this will eventually lead to a several fold increase in the income of farmers and help improve education, nutrition, housing, health and spiritual well-being for themselves and their families. 

    Working in Tanzania

    COUNTRY OVERVIEW

    Tanzania is a beautiful and resource rich country of 42 million people with a per capita GDP of roughly $1.47 per person per day. It is blessed by a stable political environment and is home to three of the world’s great natural treasures:

    • The Serengeti, home to the last major animal migration 
    • Ngorongoro Crater, an amazing safari destination with spectacular animal life 
    • Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa and a “must” for avid climbers 

    Seventy-five percent of the population resides in rural areas and 80% are focused on agriculture. Importantly, of the 75% of the population that reside in the rural areas, because of the low average loan size, the large geographic footprint with low population concentrations, and the need for risky agricultural balloon loans, 92% is unserved by any form of formal financial services (2009 FinScope Survey). To meaningfully address Tanzanian poverty requires that VisionFund Tanzania address the 92% of the rural 75% of the population that participate in agriculture and are unserved by formal financial services.  

    VisionFund Tanzania has learned that within Tanzanian rural agricultural communities, if they can provide loans for inputs (seed, fertilizer, and pesticides) to farmers trained in the proper use of these inputs, the average farmer (with two acres and two growing seasons) can increase their annual income by roughly $2,000 after all borrowing and input-related costs are covered. The World Vision footprint in Tanzania covers a territory in Northern and Central Tanzania with a population of over 4.5 million of which roughly 1.2 million are farmers. If the 11% of the Tanzanian population residing within the World Vision footprint were provided appropriate financial services, as much as $2 billion USD (or 10% of the Tanzanian GDP) of additional income could be generated annually. Such an increase in local income would have substantial business development, economic, educational, health, nutrition, and shelter related knock-on effects.   

     

    RURAL LENDING SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGE

    Lending that catalyzes rural agricultural economic development is particularly challenging given the points outlined below. These realities translate into many microfinance organizations choosing to focus their activities in urban areas, leaving rural communities without access to basic financial services to improve and develop their businesses and local markets: 

    • Widely dispersed population that increases client acquisition and servicing costs  
    • Smaller loan sizes that are proportionately and substantially more expensive to administer 
    • Rural agricultural need for balloon loans, which defer all principal and interest payments to the end of the loan cycle, and are thus substantially more risky  
    • Periodic drought, flood and pestilence occurrences, which can reduce the ability for clients across large geographic areas to repay  
    To place the rural challenges in context, at VisionFund Tanzania’s current annual run-rates, $450,000 in annualized profit is being generated in urban and peri-urban areas and being used to subsidize an annual run-rate loss of $400,000 associated with agricultural balloon lending activities in the rural areas to 14% of our clients. As the microfinance institute begins to shift to clients with the greatest need in rural areas, this ability to subsidize efforts will decrease, and thus a new and more sophisticated business model and delivery system must be implemented. 

    Awards and Ratings

    VisionFund Tanzania is currently the fourth largest and the most rapidly growing microfinance institute in Tanzania. It also has the highest quality portfolio, close to the most efficient operations (2nd lowest cost per borrower), and is very sustainable. VisionFund Tanzania is further characterized by a strong reputation in the marketplace for integrity and client customer care, as well as the quality of its board and senior management. 

    To enable VisionFund Tanzania to reach the areas of greatest need and have a greater future impact, it is:

    • Converting to a regulated deposit-taking institution so that it can encourage a “save first and always, and borrow only judiciously and for investment” ethos and serve the huge demand among those of low income for a safe place to save for a more secure future.  
    • Refocusing and increasing service penetration in the under-served rural areas where the need is greatest and the availability of financial services is low.  
    • Developing an organisation-wide innovative tablet-based platform that will enable faster, more efficient and more fraud resistant delivery of mass customized products. This initiative will also drive down administrative costs, allowing VisionFund Tanzania to effectively target financially unreached groups in rural communities. 
    • Developing training in the areas of financial literacy, business basics, and Judeo-Christian values.  
    VisionFund Tanzania achieved the scale and efficiencies to be sustainably profitable in the 4th Quarter of 2010 when it surpassed 17,000 clients. However, given its rural scaling objective of reaching over 225,000 clients by the end of 2015, VisionFund Tanzania is likely to remain marginally profitable (excluding one-time transformation related expenses). 

    Future Innovation

    CHANGES TO VISIONFUND TANZANIA'S BUSINESS MODEL

    To scale successfully in the rural areas, VisionFund Tanzania is making the following key changes in their business model, for which the organization is uniquely positioned, and leveraging technology in innovative ways:

    Reducing Client Acquisition Costs

    VisionFund Tanzania will reduce client acquisition costs by leveraging its close ties to World Vision, and encouraging the use of their extensive footprint and relationships in rural Tanzania to aggregate prospective clients. At the same time, VisionFund Tanzania will be able to integrate its financial services (when possible) with World Vision’s development efforts, leading to a more holistic and effective approach to poverty reduction.

    Reducing Cost Per Borrower to 25%-40% Below Other Leading Tanzanian Microfinance Institutes

    VisionFund Tanzania’s cost base per borrower is currently roughly 15% below that of its two major competitors. By addressing products, incentive compensation, real estate, and IT strategies per its current plans, VisionFund Tanzania expects to reduce their cost per borrower to roughly $70 per year. These savings can be used to fund further expansion and improve customer training and service within the rural areas (interest rate is already well below competitors in the rural areas).

    Embedding Weather Index Insurance in Agricultural Loans to Mitigate Risks

    By requiring an upfront payment from clients for weather index insurance, in the event that there is either insufficient rain or excess rain (as defined by pre-set triggers), a portion of the loan or the entire loan (depending on the level of insufficiency or excess) is re-paid eliminating the burden and risk of the loan on the farmer and ensuring that the VisionFund Tanzania balance sheet is protected.

    VISIONFUND TANZANIA'S COST REDUCTION STRATEGY

    Use of More Efficient Loan Officers

    VisionFund Tanzania operates with a unique and effective monthly client repayment cycle (most MFIs have weekly cycles with some bi-weekly) and yet has the lowest PAR-30 (Portfolio at Risk) of the major MFIs in Tanzania. This permits VisionFund Tanzania to substantially increase the number of clients served, via lower administrative costs while increasing the amount of clients each officer can serve. By implementing a more effective employee incentive program, addressing and increasing the availability of employee transportation, to make more efficient use of loan officer time, and introducing a tablet-based IT system that will increase efficiencies, VisionFund Tanzania believes it can increase the average number of loan clients per loan officer from roughly 320 to 550 within two years. This will reduce the cost per borrower by roughly 25% bringing VFT’s total cost advantage over competitors to as much as 40%.

    More Efficient, Flexible, and Fraud Resistant Systems Environment

    By upgrading to the latest version of the Temenos T24 Community Banking System R10, and layering a highly innovative tablet-based computing platform over it, VisionFund Tanzania will be able to increase front and back office efficiencies and throughput and reduce the costs associated with fraud. The benefits associated with this platform are discussed in detail below.

    Greater Cost Effective Use of Real Estate

    As part of this strategy, VisionFund Tanzania will be consolidating space and potentially moving its headquarters, shifting from rented quarters to acquired space in locations where it can acquire and build at low costs with less than four year payback periods in areas that are expected to have substantial economic growth in the coming years. Additionally, VisionFund Tanzania will share buildings with World Vision area development programs where the area development program facilities are proximate to market areas and transportation hubs.

    Client Success Story

    Mr. Emmanuel Mipango, Bukene ADP

    Emmanuel is 33 years old, married to one wife and has two children, one that is one year old and one that is four years old.  Before borrowing from VisionFund Tanzania, life was very difficult and he was unable to obtain adequate nutrition on a consistent basis as his work was too situational and seasonal. He borrowed an agricultural loan in May 2010 with an initial loan of $100. With this loan he bought crops, stocked them for five months and sold them at a higher price. After selling his crops, he was able to pay back the loan as well as make a profit, which he used to improve his house by roofing it with iron sheets.   

    In November 2010, He took a second agricultural loan of TZS $265. He rented more land, bought agricultural inputs and paid additional laborers.  This loan helped him apply modern agricultural techniques and resulted in a much higher crop yield.  He mainly cultivates maize, which is the main staple for Tanzanians. Despite suffering from near drought conditions (the worst in many years), the VisionFund Tanzania loans enabled him to produce 120 maize bags, a substantial increase from his previous maximum of 20 bags.

    VisionFund Tanzania loans have greatly transformed Emmanuel’s life and his family's life. They now live in an iron sheet roofed house, can afford to have more than three nutritious meals per day, are well dressed, have bought their own 10 acres of land and are currently building a poultry herd. In addition to this, after all his investments, taking care of his family and repaying the loan, Emmanuel still has a stock of 70 bags of maize as savings for the future. His future dream is to expand his productivity by cultivating more land, start a poultry project for his wife and send his children to school.

    Ms. Moshi Motondi, Mogwa Ward

    Moshi is a 25 year old divorced woman with two young children. She had an extremely difficult life prior to accessing credit through VisionFund Tanzania.  She first accessed a $65 Biashara (group) loan through VisionFund Tanzania in May 2011. She used the proceeds to buy clothes and pieces of clothing that, as a tailor, she used to create more desirable clothing for resale. The proceeds from her new business venture enabled her within two months to feed and dress her children, purchase a piece of land and purchase a mobile phone that she also uses to make money be reselling phone services.

    Before she started to borrow from VisionFund Tanzania, Moshi had never believed it possible that, having been divorced from a man in another region and left on her own with two children, she would have the opportunity to own her own land at Luhumbo Village and a thriving business.  Her future dream is to expand her business and send her children to school when they become old enough. 

    For additional success stories showcasing clients and their children, please take a moment to visit the Media Centre.

    Management Details

    Management Team

    Mr. Adrian Merryman

    Chief Executive Officer


    Ms. Joyce Temu

    Deputy Chief Executive Officer 

    Mr. Shukrani Mbena

    Director of Operations


    Ms. Neema Nyangaramela

    Director of Finance and Administration

    Mrs. Margareth Humphrey

    Human Resource Manager


    Mr. Marco Salimu

    Information Technology Manager

    Mr. Rogathe Godson

    Internal Audit Manager





    Board of Directors

    Mr. Timothy Andrews

    Board Chairman


    Mr. Ben Mahenya

    Board Advisor

    Mr. Adrian Merryman

    Board Secretary


    Mrs. Dorothy Stephen

    Board Member

    Mrs. Lucy Nambuo

    Board Member


    Mr. James Mathenge

    Board Member

    Mr. David Kombanie

    Board Member



    BIOGRAPHIES:

    Adrian Merryman – Chief Executive Officer

    Prior to joining VisionFund Tanzania, Adrian was CEO of Opportunity International, the largest of the global Christian Microfinance networks.  Motivated by Christ’s call to serve the poor, Opportunity International offers financial services and related training to enable economic, social and spiritual transformation in the lives of its clients, their families and their communities.  Under Adrian’s leadership, Opportunity International grew more than four-fold in terms of unique clients and assets deployed, converted ten NGOs to regulated deposit-taking financial institutions and converted several others to regulated status.  It also expanded to become the industry leader in micro-insurance and established an innovative rural agricultural lending program in Africa.  Today it operates in 28 developing countries serving over 2 million loan, savings and insurance clients, has over 12,000 employees and deploys assets of over $600 million.  

    Prior to focusing on Christian ministry related work, Adrian served as an CEO of Screen plc, a UK-based technology company focused on security, surveillance, defense and transportation, as Chief Investment Officer of Interregnum plc, a London based venture capital firm, as CEO of Temenos System S.A., a Geneva based leader in the global banking software industry, as head of European Investment Banking for CIBC Oppenheimer Corp. in London, and as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch & Co. in New York.   

    Adrian has also served on the boards of numerous companies and Christian ministries in Europe and the United States.   Adrian’s non-profit related work has includes serving as Chairman of The Bridge Trust, an organization that equips those seeking to reach out to Muslims.  It does its work through the Center for Muslim-Christian Studies in Oxford, England and through a seminary within the 10-40 Window.   

    Joyce Temu – Deputy CEO 

    Joyce has more than fifteen years experience in Microfinance industry having progressed from loan officer through Operations Director to her current position.  Before joining SEDA, Joyce worked as a Cooperative Officer at Moshi Municipal Council.  Joyce has an Msc. in Community Economic Development from the New Hampshire University, an Advanced diploma in Cooperatives Management from the University College of Cooperatives and Business Studies – Moshi, and is currently pursuing an MBA from the East and Central Africa Management Institute (ESAMI).

    Shukrani Mbena – Director of Operations 

    With over 7 years experience in zonal and branch management, currently serves as the Director of Operations. Shukrani combines skills in finance, accounting, economics, and business with experience in research, coaching and management. Through his experience with VFT he is familiar with a financial landscape of Tanzania, and particularly of the rural sector. Among Shukrani’s many responsibilities is the development of loan products tailored to the needs of agricultural clients.

    Shukrani is an MBA graduate from the Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute (ESAMI). He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) Degree in Economics from the University of Natal South Africa and a Post Graduate Diploma in Finance, Investment, and Bank Management from the same University. Prior to that he did a BBA with Tumaini University in Tanzania.  He is a devoted Christian, certified as a trainer for the toolkit of Market Research and Product Development for Microfinance by Microsave, and certified as a trainer and researcher on Youth Inclusive Financial Services by Making Cents International. 

    Marco Salimu – IS/IT Manager

    Extra Ordinary experience in implementation, administration and programming of strong and reliable banking software called eMerge (Version of Temenos product called T24), Marco has experience in Microfinance business, systems and structures for 9 years.  Also he has experience in managerial skills on the microfinance field for 4 years. He is a reliable trainer, consultancy, developer and documenter on Information Systems (IS)/Information Technology (IT) related matters or products. Furthermore Marco is a committed Christian.

    Marco is attending MBA in ITM (Information Technology Management) offered by Coventry University (UK) at Institute of Accountancy Arusha (IAA).  He holds a Bachelor of Science (Honors) Degree in computer science at University of Dar es salaam.

    Neema Nyangaramela – Director of Finance and Administration

    Neema has more than 10 years experience in field of finance, Accounting, Banking, Microfinance, Consultancy and training on Financial Management.

    Prior joining SEDA as Audit Manager to her present position, She was working with National Microfinance Bank as an Auditor and previously as a Loan Officer and Bank Officer. Through her experience in banking and Microfinance; Neema’s responsibilities among other includes Managing overall institutional assets and liabilities, and implementation of organization strategy, budgets and plans.

    Neema is currently pursuing MBA from ESAMI/Maastricht School of Management (MSM), She is also a holder of Bachelor of Accounting and Finance (BAF) from Mzumbe University and CPA(T)

    Rogathe Godson - Internal Audit Manager

    With experience gained for over six years in Internal Audit Function, Rogathe grew within the company from Assistant Internal Auditor to Audit Manager. Serving as Internal Audit Manager, Rogathe is responsible for setting annual audit plan and ensure its implementation, reviewing audit programmes, conducting investigations, training and coaching of Audit staff, reviewing audit work performed, as well as assisting in the development of risk management framework.

    Rogathe is a committed Christian, a holder of Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting with honours from the University of Dar-es Salaam, a registered member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IAA) and the National Board of Accountants and Auditors Tanzania (NBAA), currently in the final stage of professional courses for Certification of Public Accountant coordinated by the NBAA.

    Margareth Humphrey - Human Resource Manager

    Margareth has extensive experience in Human Resources Management and Administration and five years in Marketing. Over 15 years serving in senior managerial position and exposure to multicultural working environment. This has enriched her knowledge, skills in handling organizations' human resources issues in relation to policy formulation and the day to day administration in areas human capital functions.

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