LUPP was the first programme to develop and test micro finance models in Angola. Through its direct work in micro finance, LUPP has gained the credibility to successfully influence the GoA, National Bank of Angola and private business in their models for micro finance. On the level of influencing the policy and practice of others, LUPP has:
1) Provided influential technical input on the drafting of new legislation on financial institutions to ensure that there is provision for micro finance. This was adopted and the legislation was approved in 2004. Since the legislation was passed, the National Bank of Angola has started to issue temporary licences to savings and loans associations and cooperatives.
2) Provided the drive, technical and financial support to establish RASME (Angolan Micro Enterprise Network) comprising Government, NGOs and private business interested in micro finance. RASME has facilitated Angola’s engagement with micro finance initiatives within the region, promoted learning on models and is beginning to branch out in promoting private initiatives with the private sector in Angola. RASME organised the first Micro Entrepreneurs Fair, has attracted interest from the French Cooperation (facilitating RASME’s strategic planning process) and the Guichet Unico de Empresas has requested membership. Total Fina ELF has adopted RASME’s best practices on Business Development Services.
This level of external influencing was made possible by LUPP’s groundbreaking work in micro finance and business development. LUPP established micro credit and savings solidarity groups and by the end of September 2006, LUPP had already reached more than 12,600 business people through solidarity groups, of which 58% are women. To make these interventions sustainable, LUPP plans to establish an independent micro finance institution, KixiCredito, in 2006. KixiCredito will fill a gap in providing smaller loans for the poor than Banco Sol and other institutions are able to provide.
As an approach to reduce poverty within the extremely poor, LUPP has piloted consumer cooperatives, aimed at reducing the cost of six basic products, including rice, beans and maize, to poor families by buying commodities in bulk. As inflation has fallen, this model has become more viable and is now helping families to reduce costs by 25%. There are now seven consumer cooperatives, each of which is 100% sustainable, with 725 people benefiting directly. In some cases, families report having increased the number of meals from 2 to 3 a day and using savings to support children attending school and to receive health care. The key beneficiaries from the cooperatives have been widows and vulnerable children.
LUPP has supported the creation of an independent Business Development Service that is now 100% sustainable. LUPP began by training trainers and the best of these have subsequently established an independent demand-driven private business providing business development training to entrepreneurs.
LUPP developed a methodology for community savings and loans based on a model of solidarity which facilitates access to finances at local level creating a social movement of savings established by groups. The groups with capacity to grow can federate or form associations which can then link to financial institutions in order to get access to credit. The principal objective of the community savings groups if to create a culture of savings in the community in order to increase economic security and to see that financial services get closer to the poorer communities-