Antananarivo, September 15, 2008 - The Première Agence de MicroFinance has expanded its operations in Madagascar to new districts with the opening of branches in Analavory and Bealanana.
The Première Agence de MicroFinance (PAMF) began its operations in the Sofia district of Madagascar in December 2006 and has expanded rapidly throughout the island. With the addition of its new branches, PAMF is now operational in nine districts: Antananarivo, Mahajanga, Antsohihy, Port Bergé, Mandritsara, Befandriana, Mampikony, and now, Analavory, in the Itasy region. PAMF also inaugurated a new rural outlet in Bealanana and strengthened its existing presence in Sofia.
Expanding outreach to rural areas is particularly important as the microfinance penetration rate is still very low in these regions. The population mainly subsist on agricultural production and are in need of credit for farm inputs. In Sofia, PAMF supports rice growers in collaboration with the Aga Khan Foundation and has helped contribute to an increase in rice production from 1.5 to 5 tons per hectare, considerably improving household incomes.
At the end of June 2008, PAMF had disbursed over USD 2 million to more than 10'000 clients. Before the end of 2008, PAMF will also open another office in the outskirts of the capital city, Antananarivo, where people do not have any access to financial services. This office will support the local population in developing micro- and small-enterprises in retail and production.
Since its establishment in 2005, the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) has brought together over 25 years of microfinance activities, programmes and banks that were administered by sister agencies within the Aga Khan Development Network. The underlying objectives of the Agency are to reduce poverty, diminish the vulnerability of poor populations and alleviate economic and social exclusion. AKAM is a not-for-profit, non-denominational, international development agency created under Swiss law. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. It is governed by an independent Board of Directors. The Chairman of the Board is His Highness the Aga Khan.
The Aga Khan Development Network is a group of institutions working to improve living conditions and opportunities in specific regions of the developing world. The Network's institutions have mandates that range from the fields of health and education to rural development and the promotion of private-sector enterprise. The three main areas of activity in the Network are social development, economic development and culture.