TOPICS

Rural Finance, Youth

SOLUTION TYPE

Financing Scheme

REGION

West and Central Africa

With Babyloan, Malians residing in France can now provide loans or donations to young people living in Mali.  

BACKGROUND

Rural youth in Mali face difficulties in borrowing funds to start or develop their agricultural activities. This project allows Malian residing in France to support youth-led agricultural activities in Mali through an innovative online crowdfunding platform.

WHAT’S INVOLVED

Participatory financing platform

Babyloan Mali is a participatory financing initiative, better known as a crowdfunding platform. It ensures that remittance flows are used to sustain productive agricultural activities in rural communities. Innovatively, Malian diasporas are able to choose which agricultural activities to finance.

Rural entrepreneurship development

The project targets rural youth in Mali and provides them with financial support to start or develop their own agricultural activities, coupled with vocational training and career development planning. As a result, the participating youth gain more income and independence.

Migration

There is a tendency for young Malians from rural areas to move to urban areas or abroad. The project helps youth rethink about their options and understand there are opportunities at home.

EXPLORE THIS SOLUTION

The Babyloan Mali platform can offer:

  • A participatory financing model that enables remittance senders to provide small funds to support youth-led agricultural activities;  
  • Experience in developing entrepreneurial skills, technical knowledge and career training for rural youth; and 
  • Experience in working with local microfinance institutions.

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Countries involved

France, Mali

Project partners

IFAD, ABC Microfinance, Groupe de Recherche et de Réalisations pour le Développement Rural (GRDR), Réseaux de Micro institutions de Croissance de Revenus (RMCR)

Project dates

2016 – 2020

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Summary

Babyloan Mali platform is a crowdfunding initiative enabling the Malian diaspora in France to lend funds to young micro-entrepreneurs in rural Mali. The funds support rural youth in Mali in starting or developing their agricultural activities. As of 2018, over fifty investment activities initiated by rural youth in Mali have been funded. Through the support of other partners on the ground, fund recipients also received vocational and financial literacy trainings.

Challenge/Problem

There has been a remarkable increase in Malian migration, with young Malians from rural areas moving to urban areas or abroad. This migration is accompanied by financial transfers. According to IFAD's latest "Sending Money Home Report", remittances to Mali from migrant workers around the world amounted to US$806 million in 2016. It is estimated that nearly one quarter of the remittances come from migrants living in France. Globally, around 40 percent of remittances go to rural areas. A large portion of these remittances is used for daily needs such as food, housing and healthcare, while fewer remittances fund sustainable economic activities.

At the national level, the government of Mali has launched a new migration law (PONAM, 2015) aiming to promote the creation of businesses in Mali and facilitate migrants’ ability to finance economic activities back home. In this context, Babyloan Mali Platform was developed by ABC Microfinance to address the difficulties that rural youth have in borrowing funds, and to realize Malian diasporas’ desire to support the development of their region of origin.

Solution 

ABC Microfinance is a social business and the first French website facilitating online micro-lending. Through Babyloan, users can choose to lend to micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries. With the funds provided by IFAD, ABC Microfinance developed Babyloan Mali Platform to leverage the Malian diaspora in France and meet the needs expressed by young rural people in Mali.

For this project, ABC Microfinance is working with a French NGO, Groupe de Recherche et de Réalisations pour le Développement Rural (GRDR), to mobilize Malian migrants living in Paris. With Babyloan, Malians residing in France can now provide loans or donations to young people living in Mali.  At the community level, ABC Microfinance partnered with qualified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Mali in order to facilitate the disbursement of funds.

1. Malian diasporas in France lend funds to the selected projects through the Babyloan platform.
2. Babyloan collects a transaction fee from the loan payment and reimburses the lenders according to an established schedule. After, lenders are able to either recoup their contributions or reinvest them in  new projects.
3. Loans gathered through Babyloan are then distributed to the local MFIs in order to finance youth's projects. To minimize its risks and broaden its network with local partner MFIs, Babyloan is conducting a solvency and liquidity analysis of new microfinance institutes. As of 2018, one MFI, called Réseaux de Micro institutions de Croissance de Revenus (RMCR), has been selected to work with ABC Microfinance.
4. The selected local MFIs in Mali grant loans to micro-entrepreneurs. Notably, RMCR also provides financial training to the beneficiaries. Only those who pass a test about the loan conditions can receive microcredits.
5. In the meantime, the micro-entrepreneurs also receive professional training from the Employment and Entrepreneurship Support Project. 

 

Results

Babyloan Mali Platform began its operations in 2016. Since then, a total of 52 projects have been financed, involving over 50 young people  from Guihoyo, Kolokani, and Tioribougo communities.

Major accomplishments include:

  • Over EUR 28,000 have been collected to fund activities including purchasing agricultural equipment and developing agricultural business. 
  • The project maintains a high reimbursement rate, with 99.26% of the money lent on the platform being reimbursed. "We can ensure this high level of reimbursement because of the thorough analysis of MFI partners and the regular follow ups. It is important to note that the lenders get reimbursed even if the micro-entrepreneur do not reimburse the MFI", says an ABC Microfinance financial analyst.
  • A steering committee has also been set up to evaluate the progress of the project. Members include representatives from ABC Microfinance, GRDR, diaspora groups such as the High Council of Malians in France and various public institutions that work with diasporas. IFAD acts as a simple observer. 

 

Lessons Learned/Potential for replication

A number of lessons emerge from this solution:

  • It is of vital importance to select qualified MFIs. MFIs carry the risk of exchange devaluation. Babyloan transfers euros to the participating MFIs, and they are expected to refund the same amount of euros back. If any devaluation occurs, the cost will be carried by the MFIs. This means the MFIs need to exhibit a high solvency and liquidity.
  • Crowdfunding is not new in the development aid arena. Babyloan Mali Platform differentiates itself from others by engaging the Malian diaspora, as well creating the linkages between them and their families or friends back home. Therefore, it is believed that this project is replicable in countries where the diaspora population is large and for which remittances are already important. 

 

Next Steps 

The project plans to reach 2,000 migrants from the Malian diaspora, with a cumulative mobilization of EUR 350,000 for 200 young micro-entrepreneurs from the regions of Koulikoro and Sikasso. ABC Mirofinance is also working on identifying more qualified MFIs by undertaking audit missions in Mali. Beyond France, there are plans to replicate the project with other circles of Malian living in Europe, such as Spain or Italy. 

Solution Video

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Video Author: IFAD TV

Video Resolution:1280 x 720

Last update: 03/12/2019