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Outreach and sustainability of Ethiopian MFIs
This study assesses the performance of Ethiopian MFIs in terms of various criteria set forth by the Micro banking Bulletin. Reaching the poorest customers, while at the same time being financially self-sufficient, is a challenge for the Ethiopian microfinance industry.
The study examines data from the MIX MARKET website for 16 Ethiopian MFIs. Study results indicate that Ethiopian MFIs performed well in terms of breadth of outreach, cost management, efficiency and productivity. They also charged low interest rates. They, however, are poor performers on depth of outreach. Findings indicate that these MFIs are:
Not reaching the poorest of the poor;
Allocating a lower proportion of their total assets to loans;
Not using their debt capacity properly;
Allocating more loan loss provision expense than the industry average, and have a high PAR.
The study also finds that MFI profitability and sustainability depend on its size. There is a trade-off between serving the poor and being operationally self-sufficient. Finally, MFI age correlates positively with efficiency, productivity. Use of debt financing also makes firms more productive.