Project performance evaluation
The overall approach of the Rural Microfinance Development Support Project was to support microfinance institutions in order to improve rural people’s access to financial services. This approach was consistent with the economic context and the strategic and policy orientations of both Cameroon and IFAD. The project has increased the outreach of the seven partner microfinance networks that work in rural areas, in terms of number of members and savers. However, the number and volume of loans increased only for three microfinance networks.
Credit union members received very limited non-financial support to ensure that they could make the best possible use of financial services. It is therefore unlikely that increased access to financial services has led to higher productivity or incomes for many credit union members.
The main innovation of the project was the creation of a refinancing fund for agricultural medium-term credit but its effectiveness was limited due to its inadequate operating modalities, its short period of operation, and the inexperience of the partner microfinance institutions.
The evaluation recommends that IFAD should continue to engage in agricultural medium-term credit with the Government of Cameroon as well as with interested donors and microfinance institutions. Additionally, IFAD should simplify the design of rural microfinance projects and ensure that these projects are better integrated with other IFAD interventions in the country.