Foreword by Microfinance Unit Director

Microfinance is one of the most important and strong tools to combat poverty in many countries allover the world. Thus, Sudanese banks entered the field of microfinance with the view that it is the most appropriate tool to help them play their social role. In addition to commercial and specialized banks microfinance is provided through a wide range of social programs, national and international NGOs and social and charitable funds. Despite exerted efforts by CBOS and other banks to facilitate and provide microfinance to small producers, craftsmen, productive households, professionals and low income people, performance is still weak in view of the absence of a common vision on the part of government apparatuses towards microfinance in the Sudan.

In recognition of the importance of microfinance and its role in combating poverty and sustaining peace, CBOS has had the honor of preparing a national vision to develop microfinance sector in the Sudan. The objective of this was to create an environment conducive to industry and to enable the microfinance sector to grow and develop both at both social and economic levels. Acting upon the CBOS policy of using local and foreign expertise and adopting the best regional and international practices, CBOS has tasked UNICONS Consultancy to develop a project on a common vision on microfinance. This company has prepared the study in different phases.

In our view the vision prepared has succeeded in stipulating the required strategy with regard to presenting various conceptions of microfinance and their applications with reference to the experiences of Sudan and other countries. The study also pointed out the main objective of the vision, namely the development of the most effective policies to support a wide range of financial services to respond to clients’ demands at reasonable costs. In addition to this the study also aimed at drawing appropriate frameworks for policies and legislations that create an environment conducive for the macro-economy to promote development and reiterate the commitment of the state, civil society and private sector to alleviate poverty. The study also specified roles for all the various microfinance institutions and called for strong supporting infrastructure. However, and despite the fact that the study was based on surveys carried out in the north, nonetheless it could be used as a model for a similar project in the south. Efforts are going on to formulate a microfinance strategy for the south after the establishment of a CBOS branch in the south.

At the end I hope that this vision will be regarded as a road map to all parties involved in microfinance sector in the Sudan. I also hope that this strategy be used for prioritization, activation of legislations and development of institutional reforms according to schedules specified in the action plan. Thanks are due to UNICONS Consultancy for a job well done. Praise be to the Lord.

May Almighty Allah Guide us all

Hiba Mahmoud Sadig Farid
Microfinance Unit Director