This is expected to be done by expanding the range and reach of services available to underserved urban and rural populations.
“After successfully building a strong presence in urban centers, Advans Cameroun’s objective is to develop its outreach in rural areas,” said Steven Duchatelle, head of operations for Advans Group.
“This project will allow us to provide easy and convenient access to financial services and solutions for small-scale entrepreneurs, smallholder farmers and generally the low-income population.”
(READ MORE: IDA credit to transform Cameroon’s farming sector)
The project is part of the Partnership for Financial Inclusion – a joint 37.4 million dollar initiative by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and The MasterCard Foundation.
It aims to scale up commercial microfinance and develop mobile financial services to increase financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa.
Greta Bull, IFC manager for the financial institutions group advisory services in sub-Saharan Africa, said, “The agreement between IFC and Advans Cameroun highlights the need to develop innovative financial products and delivery channels for people in rural areas.”
“The tools developed will have the potential to reach over 60,000 new customers, and will have a significant impact on their ability to access secure and affordable financial services.”
The IFC added that it would provide advisory services worth 1.18 million dollars to Advans Cameroun over the next four years to design, pilot and roll out a branchless banking model that will involve mini branches, mobile collectors and agents.
“Access to credit is a major obstacle to the reduction of rural poverty in Cameroon. Exclusion from financial services is particularly acute in the agricultural sector, which employs 60 per cent of the country’s population,” it said.
“This is mainly due to the high cost of establishing branches in sparsely populated areas for formal financial institutions.”