This project was commissioned by the Microfinance Unit of the Central Bank in line with its program for the development of the Microfinance sector in Sudan. The project aims to prepare a study for the development of microfinance services in Eastern Sudan as the demand for such financial services in this region far outstrips the supply by commercial banks and other Microfinance Institutions (MFIs). The project also aims at enabling MFIs in the region to attract financing – be it international or local – as well as to increase their outreach to the poor who in Eastern Sudan.

To achieve the objectives of the project, the work is formulated to first conduct a situational analysis of the Microfinance sector in Eastern Sudan. This is to be followed with a participatory approach towards the formulation of a strategy for developing the microfinance sector in Eastern Sudan in support of the State’s efforts in the reduction of poverty. Specifically, Unicons Consultancy set out to implement the following actions:

  1. Analyze the current situation and major constraints facing the delivery of microfinance services in Eastern Sudan while highlighting the successful experiences and unsuccessful ones.
  2. Clarify the issues that have led to successful microfinance experiences internationally and locally in the different States of Sudan including Eastern States. Resolve those problems, facing microfinance delivery that are emanating from: (i) the local economic situation; (ii) the products’ market (extent to which micro-financial products are in line with demand), and (iii) the characteristics of the targeted groups (standards of living, education levels and other demographic and institutional characteristics).
  3. Review the experiences of Banks and other MFIs in Eastern Sudan with the aim of analyzing their outreach, coverage, productivity and efficacy.
  4. Evaluate the experiences of Microfinance Projects in Eastern Sudan and analyze their effectiveness.
  5. Based on the evaluation, present recommendations that cover the following issues: How to expand outreach of MFIs and improve access to microfinance services in Eastern Sudan; The required interventions for solving the problems facing the delivery of microfinance services to the economically active poor. Formulate a long term plan for technical assistance to the microfinance sector in Eastern Sudan. Prepare a business plan and manuals for the establishment a new MFI; Review the different sources of available funding in Sudan and those that might be expected from the donor community for the microfinance sector; Recommend a mechanism for coordination and implementation of the project. In addition clarify relationship between the Eastern Sudan Development Fund and MFIs in the Eastern States and other potential partners. Also, specify the required roles, at the State level and the Federal level and the international levels for attracting investment capital in these institutions.