News

The Factors affecting the Projects Performance

The Independent Evaluation Group reported on the factors affecting the performance of the World Bank Group Projects and grouped the related issues into three broad categories: two at macro level (country level & political economy ) and one at micro (Project preparation & supervision); there isn’t any doubt about the importance of the listed elements that determine whether the success or the failure of the intervention: https://ieg.worldbankgroup.org/evaluations/rap2017.

However, there is a preliminary question that in our view should be answered: A successful Project for who? There are different Actors around a project: Stakeholders, Governments, Communities whose objectives, interests, expectations aren’t necessarily the same and therefore there is a continuing negotiation to reach a common agreement. The below Figure visualised the role played by them (Figure is taken from FINANCIAL INCLUSION – Give people a job, not a loan https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1116912686).

Picture 11

Assuming that a Project should serve the Community, there is a wide consensus on the core business of whatsoever intervention: sustainability for the providers, affordability for the beneficiaries, transparency of the interventions along with a tangible impact on the related communities. In the field reality, a compromise is a necessary step to make it the Project running and it isn’t rarely the fact that the objectives of a Stakeholder are prevailing to detriment of the others, and this factor is well-known to the Project Managers.

In our assignments we tried to apply the “Behaviour of the Actors”, which  is a very important element that affects the Project’s performance and can be synthesized as follows:

–      Lending partners’negative response and/or insufficient interest in managing the change,

–      Donors’unsuitable intervention and late reaction to emerging & changing conditions

–      Government’sweak commitment on providing enabling environment

–      Management Unit’lack of expertise to reconcile interests, objectives, demand and expectations of the actors along with management practice not always equal to the task

–      Borrowers’unviable requests for loans, bad repayment.

The holistic approach related to three inter-related levels:

–      Enabling environment

–      Organisational level

–      Individual level

The enabling environment does affect the behaviour of the organisations through the incentives it creates. Every businessman faced the challenging to carry out any activities in an environment that, as a matter of fact, has disincentives. In this respect it is well-known that an incentive system helps and promote initiatives; this is why it is important to create a more enabling environment.

The organisational level again influences the organisation. To make it really happen the organisations of the institutions have to understand the market they want to serve.  Accordingly, this shall be reflected in the tasks and responsibilities of the staff, namely the job descriptions.

The individual level deals with the individual capabilities and competencies of the staff and, accordingly, the training component has a special role to play.

Moreover, there is a Fourth Factor to make it a successful Project, namely the experience and expertise of the Team in charge to run the field operations on the grounds that they have to find out a welding point to get a shared consensus among the Actors. This does mean that the Project Leader should have experience and expertise in the Project related matters well above the ground.

Taking from our field experience in the related issues – in Project Evaluation – Impact assessment Supervision – Governance – in Netherlands Antilles, Cameroon, Mali, Caribbean, Kosovo, Guinea-Conakry, Azerbaijan, Malawi, Bosnia, Montenegro, West Indies, Niger, Algeria and Morocco (2), we spent most of our time talking to each one and every Actor either directly involved in the Project or external influential persons. This was a very useful approach to understand the reasons behind the management’s decisions.

We do recall cases on the matter: in Malawi (1994) and Uzbekistan (1996) for Projects sponsored by, respectively, by the WB Group and UNDP/FAO. There was a lot of discussions on interest rate level to apply to the Project’s Beneficiaries, sustainability being at stake; eventually, we proposed to have the Inflation Factor published by the Central Bank as a reference in point, which was appreciated by the GVT Authorities and accepted by the other Stakeholders despite its level didn’t completely protect against the probable credit risk.

THE DIGITAL ECONOMY IN AFRICA COULD BE A GAMBLE – Because Investments matter.

Last April during the annual Spring Meeting, the World Bank Group laid down the foundation of the strategy to launch the digitalisation of the Africa’s economies.  It emerged a mixed picture, the Panellist being aware that the “World Bank’s gamble on building digital economies in Africa comes with a number of risks”,as it has been reported: http://www.gica.global/article/live-wbg-imf-spring-meetings-2018.

In our Group https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4682884  we have extensively discussed the digitalisation as a means to realize financial inclusion that is the main avenue to achieve the inclusive growth’s overall goal. The Spring Meeting indirectly has confirmed this reasoning.

But there are other lessons to learn. The entire architecture of the digitalisation could risk to collapse because the tree Pillars’ Strategy designed to sustain it could be a hazard, on the grounds, among other factors, that African investors remain risk adverse” and …. the funding requests lack of “speaking the language required for investment”. 

Above situations are well-known to the Africa business’ insiders, which the financial establishment have nowadays certified. And if WB-IMF, the chiefs African Entrepreneurs and Financiers and Nigerian businessman and banker Tony Elumelu– who five years ago launched Africapitalism (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/africapitalism-creating-shared-value-community-based-economy-ascanio/)- said that, we must believe them.

Analysing the investments’ trend it has emerged that the real estate has much appealing to detriment to other productive sectors and particularly of the investments aiming at financing small and medium sized business, which are the backbone of countries’ economy. We don’t say that the real estate should be neglected; on the contrary, it is a good vehicle, on condition to be equalised with other productive sectors.

The reasons behind African investors/entrepreneurs’ attitude deserve attention and may be the sociologists could help and provide us with a comprehensive explanation, which is very important when it comes to propose remedies.

Besides a sociological explanation, in our view, there are some bottlenecks on both the methodological and business practice.

Our attention to the methodological approach in connection with microfinance market started soon after the release (2010) of Basel III document on the regulations of microfinance activities in view of monitor and supervise the uncontrolled growth of the sector. Why we have investigated on this segment of the market? Because MFI, Rural Banks, People Banks and Grass Roots Organizations are the main vehicles for the journey to financial inclusion; hence, knowing their markets along with the way they run business is a necessary step for technologists who have to design a suitable model.

On the matter we have published “Suggestions for designing new credit models”, Microfinance Gateway, 06/2011, which has been rated among the first five most read documents in 2011)
http://www.microfinancegateway.org/p/site/m/template.rc/1.9.51017.

Then, Basel III has updated above document and introduced an element of transparency with positive effects for both investors and donors because they can properly plan the interventions. Besides, the document has made a distinction between “unserved and underserved customers”, which is very useful for market segmentation purposes, serving MFI decision makers to distinguish interventions for poverty matters tout-court and start-up and grow-businesses. 

However, the micro finance’s decision makers haven’t yet updated the way of doing business in line with SDGs and most likely in the battlefield there are two armies guided by the culture legacy and the culture supremacy, respectively, belonging by Financiers and Technologists.

From the documents recently released by the international financial, we detected: (A) Move from credit-based economy to development-based economy, (B) Financial and economic inclusion should be understood as a unique approach, (C) The real question isn’t to have people connected with an account, but having people who could be eligible for an account.

In the below Posts we commented on the approach to digitalization and in 2017 we proposed a ROAD MAP FOR TECHNOLOGISTS GOING TO PLACES, https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4682884/4682884-6199519739253972995 along with a Paradigm (highlighted in the other Post’s picture).

As we have posted “Fintech should aim at empowering people in the background of 2030 UN Agenda SDGs, which provide the digitalization with the related tasks”;  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fintech-f-finance-technology-ascanio-graziosi . And: in 11/2015: OPEN LETTER TO FINTECH https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/open-letter-fintech-ascanio-graziosi/.

There should be a considerable change in the approach to the market from PRODUCT INNOVATION to PROCESS INNOVATION, namely the capability to add value to whatsoever electronic device by creating opportunity and wide the access to other facilities and the intervention should be sustainable for the provider, affordable for the user and market transparent. The accomplishment of this task is via market segmentation that is the practical step.

The real challenge for the technologists and financiers is the ability to provide the electronic devices with facilities that really empower people, because without economic inclusion there won’t be the consistent digitalisation and financial inclusion as well.

 How to bring together Financers and Entrepreneurs in the framework of a fruitful cooperation between Governments and Private sector, as recommended by the Panellists?

For a contribution on the matter we have just published “The Gateway to Africa Inclusive Growth – JAMBO (Swahili salutation) FUND,which is a suitable approach to make it happen poverty mitigation and countries’ inclusive growth via job creation and people empowerment. Although the Continent is the reference (it was necessary to have a landscape to refer to) the Model is suitable for a region and country level world-wide. Moreover, the Model is propaedeutic for working out a Business Plan at micro and macro level (we couldn’t work out it for a Continent): it is just a matter to apply the proposed methodology.https://www.morebooks.de/store/gb/book/the-gateway-to-africa-inclusive-growth-jambo-fund/isbn/978-620-2-28375-5

For some flashes, see : https://ascaniograziosi.net/2018/01/25/how-to-convert-an-idea-into-a-project-and-laucnh-a-fundraising-campaign-jambo-fund-case/

Seven questions about JAMBO FUND https://ascaniograziosi.net/2017/06/13/seven-questions-about-jambo-fund/

The still hesitant Investors are invited to join the Partnership.

Enquiry: ascaniograziosi@gmail.com

WINDOW FACILITY FOR ENTREPRENEURS AND FINANCIERS – Guichet Financement

Talking about digital transformation, the World Bank commented that “Investors are missing out on the huge untapped market of African tech companies, partly because many African entrepreneurs “don’t speak the language required for investment ….  It is also because African investors remain risk averse and tend to prefer investing in “something you can touch and see,” such as real estate over technology, which “is still a very new thing for the people who have capital in Africa.”

We do say that the untapped demand isn’t in the digitalisation only but principally in the real economy. We witnessed an ongoing building big infrastructural projects, public and private, which in our view, is just a part of the problem: AFRICA. A CONTINENT OF INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY: People, Objectives, Strategy and Means.https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/africa-continent-investment-opportunity-people-means-ascanio-graziosi/.

The real question is to realise the Continent’s inclusive growth, which can be achieved having the entrepreneurs and financiers really committed to make it happen both start-up and growth-up activities, which are the backbone of the countries’ economy.

From our PRACTICE’s data it emerged that four out five MFIs ( the usual link in country-side) aren’t sustainable and it will be hard for them to face the market’ challenges, which can be summarised as follows: A – strong demand for technical and financial assistance from entrepreneurs, B – need of fresh resources to complement financial providers’ inadequate capital, C – launch sustainable and affordable Fintech products, D –  review the style of management and decision making process of both lenders & entrepreneurs.

Under the above circumstances the use of financial leverage isn’t an easy job because it means to provide entrepreneurs with what they really need and doing it on a sustainable basis at an affordable price. Meantime the borrowers have to present sound projects.

On the other way, embarking on the digitalisation process without solving the above shortages couldn’t be advised. See Applying Financial Inclusion: https://ascaniograziosi.net/2017/08/18/669/

For more active involvement of the Development Actors, click: https://www.morebooks.de/store/gb/book/the-gateway-to-africa-inclusive-growth-jambo-fund/isbn/978-620-2-28375-5

As a matter of fact, there are UNDERSERVED ENTREPRENEURS and UNDERCAPITALISED LENDERS and the question is how to assist them to achieve common objectives and interests, both facing the following three big challenges: UNDERCAPITALISATION, DIGITALISATION and MANAGEMENT. 

 The job to bring together both actors requires experience and expertise above the ground. Our PRACTICE has accumulated years of daily exposure to evaluate the risk and to find out a welding point to finance valid, viable and sustainable projects via the focal point FACILITY WINDOW: https://ascaniograziosi.net

We will welcome valid and viable Funding Requests “speaking the language required for investment”: WB statement), aiming at expanding business along with real estate investment supported by good market perspectives and a strong business plan. Although we do have direct experience in eighteen African Countries, Initially, we will focus on Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya and Tanzania. Here we invite the Business Community in the related Countries to express their interest contacting ascaniograziosi@gmail.com and receive the  Programme  on Management and Financial assistance. This is also a great opportunity for both Microfinance/Microcredit/Bankers and Business Associations to join on behalf of their members.

AFRICA. A CONTINENT OF INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY: People, Objectives, Strategy and Means.

Africa has made the headlines, again, as a Continent of opportunity. We said again because in past some openings have been observed but then the move didn’t last as expected. Recently the movement seems to be steady and we noticed the turning pointof the new trend after the former president Obama’s visit (2013) and announcement a US $ 2.5 billion Programme, which renewed the interest for the Continent. A year later, Mr. Elumelu – a Nigerian tycoon and banker – in an interview spelled out his vision on what to do to promote African entrepreneurial spirit: “There are some areas — flood disasters, for instance — where you must give charity. But I think the charity approach to solving other issues must be reassessed. https://www.devex.com/news/tony-elumelu-s-new-africapitalism-82590.The Africapitalism’sIdea has been spelled out; where are the African Capitalists?

The demographic trend is the basic data to look at along with the main socio-economic indicators, to catch the development’s challenges. Simply, Africa’s population has been exploding and the unemployment rate among youngsters is alarming.

By 2030, more than half of Africa’s population will reside in seven countries: Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa. But, more important, 43% of Africans will belong to the middle or upper classes, up from 39.6% in 2013, implying considerably higher demand for goods and services. By 2030, household consumption is expected to reach $2.5 trillion, up from $1.1 trillion in 2015. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/03/capturing-africa-s-high-returns/

At the very recent African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) held in Kigali, Ruanda (21/03/2018) it has been predicted that Africa will create a single market of up to 1.2 billion people and a collective GDP of more than $2 trillion. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development also predicts that reducing intra-African tariffs – one of the conditions of AfCFTA – “could bring $3.6 billion in welfare gains to the continent through a boost in production and cheaper goods.”

Over the past four decades we achieved frequent journeys to the Continent and actually cumulated missions in some eighteen Countries both Anglophone and Francophone Regions, having been resident in four Countries. This provided us with a privileged first-hand information, which we decided to complete by reviewing the overwhelming narrative on the matter and, in particular, we focused on the investment opportunity: where and how to invest?

In this context the real question has been: how much social objective could be compatible with a sustainable intervention? The answer may be articulated is in the below mathematical function:

 

Social performance= F (ED-enterprise development; IGA-family income; FA-food aid)

 

Source: Ascanio Graziosi, Financial Inclusion, Give people a job, not a loan. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1116912686

It should be clear that although any organization is social oriented, the degree of achieving a social mission could be quite different whether it works in the segment of enterprise development (accumulation) or income generating activities (increase family income) or food security distribution of basic food to very poor people.

Besides, it must be taken into account that that the bearers of specific interests (financiers, borrowers, investors, sponsors) dealing with business in the above segments may react differently in relation to the market conditions along with their vision, objectives and means available.

In this understanding we have focused on the segment of enterprise development, on the assumption that Enterprises are the backbone of countries’ economy. Moreover, there is a need to give people a job and not a loan, on the grounds that empowering people is the vehicle to mitigate the poverty: this is the main message we detected from the recommendations and suggestions released by the international financial establishment (2030 Agenda for SDGs, CGAP, AfDB, OECD, Basel III and others), which phased out the old-fashion idea to provide credit to mitigate poverty, unless the intervention is sustainable, transparent and affordable.

We do think that it is of utmost importance to promote opportunities around the giant projects that are reshaping Africa, to have a productive impact on the communities. Indeed, the big infrastructure projects although being a condition for a solid development, they aren’t enough for a real take-off, which ask for the promotion of enterprises. When you click the following line

(9)http://www.businessinsider.com/giant-infrastructure-projects-reshaping-africa-2016-12?IR=T/#in-2009-the-common-market-for-eastern-and-southern-africa-began-work-on-the-north-south-corridor-a-series-of-roadways-and-railways-spanning-more-than-6000-miles-across-seven-countries-its-total-cost-is-approximately-1-billion-1

you will have a concrete overview of what’s going on in Africa’s landscape and likely to conclude to give a chance to people living this ideal spine and fulfil their aspirations and needs. But this is just an example, opportunity being available everywhere.

Then the question has been: how to translate in the field activity the proposed approach? We carried out a Feasibility Study THE GATEWAY TO AFRICA INCLUSIVE GROWTH – JAMBO FUND, which is a suitable approach to make it happen poverty mitigation and countries’ inclusive growth via job creation and people empowerment. Although the Continent is the reference (it was necessary to have a landscape to refer to) the Model is suitable for region and country level world-wide. Moreover, the Model is propaedeutic for working out a Business Plan at micro and macro level: it is just a matter to apply the proposed methodology.  Besides a ROI the investors will benefit of Marketing Return by improving their images as social oriented development actors.

There are four basic questions we endeavoured an answer: Who?Why? How? Where?It is just a matter to click the following line:  https://www.morebooks.de/store/gb/book/the-gateway-to-africa-inclusive-growth-jambo-fund/isbn/978-620-2-28375-5

TOWARDS INCLUSIVE GROWTH

Inclusive growth is relatively recent concept dealing with objectives, means and strategy to empower either people or segment of market via economic development. A comprehensive understanding may be taken from the documents and papers made available by the main international organisations like 2030 Agenda for SDGs, CGAP, AfDB, OCED, Basel III and institutions of the international financial establishment, which in a short span between end of 2015 and beginning 2016 released recommendations and suggestions on how to deal with social objectives and poverty mitigation.

There is a wide consensus on the core business of whatsoever intervention: sustainability for the providers, affordability for the beneficiaries, transparency of the interventions along with a tangible impact on the related communities.

In this context the real question is: how much social objective is compatible with a sustainable intervention? The answer may be articulated is in the below mathematical function:

 

Social performance = F (ED-enterprise development; IGA-family income; FA-food aid)

 

In this picture it should be clear that although any organization is social oriented, the degree of achieving a social mission could be quite different whether the organization is in the segment of enterprise development (accumulation) or income generating activities (increase family, income or food security distribution of basic food to very poor people).

In practice there should be a set of rules to be conceived in harmony with a particular environment such as tradition, unwritten procedures, institutional framework and so on. However, it must be taken into account that that the bearers of specific interests (financiers, borrowers, investors, sponsors) may react differently in relation to the market conditions along with their vision, objectives and means available.

In our Book Financial Inclusion (https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1116912686)   we redesigned the entire architecture of the approach in favour of poor people within a new paradigm and actually replacing the CREDIT-BASED ECONOMY with COMMUNITY-BASED WAY TO DEVELOPMENT, referring to the works released by above mentioned institutions, which inspired the paradigm.

How to translate in the field activity the proposed approach? In our just released eBook, we have made a further step ahead and tried to answer to the question: “The Gateway to Africa Inclusive Growth – JAMBO FUND”
https://www.morebooks.de/store/gb/book/the-gateway-to-africa-inclusive-growth-jambo-fund/isbn/978-620-2-28375-5

Actually we carried out a feasibility study THE GATEWAY TO AFRICA INCLUSIVE GROWTH – JAMBO FUND, which is a suitable approach to make it happen poverty mitigation and countries’ economy growth via job creation and people empowerment. Although the Continent is the reference (it was necessary to have a landscape to refer to) the Model is suitable at region and country level world-wide. Moreover, the study provides the Model for a business plan: it is just a matter to apply the proposed methodology.

 

HOW TO CONVERT AN IDEA INTO A PROJECT AND LAUCNH A FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN? – JAMBO FUND CASE

An Idea isn’t a Project because you have to convert it into a venture, starting with a feasibility study going through assumptions, justifications and work out a business plan. The promoter’s professional profile should be in line with the proposal.

Our question/idea has been: how to strengthen the Private sector’s development programmes aimed at supporting and financing small and medium business, which are the backbone of the national economies?

Firstly, we have reviewed the narrative on development finance issues focusing on Africa that has made, again, the headlines as a Continent of opportunities, which have been estimated at billion $ 1.5. We completed a forty pages Feasibility Study along with a Swot Analysis and concluded to launch JAMBO FUND:

The “Gateway to Africa Inclusive Growth – JAMBO FUND”

https://www.morebooks.de/store/gb/book/the-gateway-to-africa-inclusive-growth-jambo-fund/isbn/978-620-2-28375-5  

Secondly, we have taken into account our background in terms of field experience: we do have collaborated in some sixteen African Countries out of twenty-six world-wide.

Thirdly, we have checked our expertise in the matter: we have designed, managed and evaluated FUNDS in the following Countries: Tunisia, Bosnia, Caribbean, Romania, Mali, Albania, Netherlands Antilles, Malawi, Algeria, Morocco Ghana and Russia Federation.

Fourthly, because a Project is not all the time an opportunity, we have proved the viability and validity of the proposal in the field. Although the Project’s horizon is the Continent, it doesn’t mean to cover 54 Countries, opportunities being available everywhere; initially, the activities shall focus on some selected countries.

Fifthly, we supported the Proposal with a methodology: the Project should be seen in the picture of the Community-based economy as a new approach replacing Credit-based economy:https://www.amazon.com/kindle/dp/B01ENJP37S/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_eos_detail  .Accordingly, we have elaborated a conceptual framework that has been visualized in the Figure https://www.linkedin.com/in/ascanio-graziosi-968ba43/detail/recent-activity/shares/, which has been the reference in point to design the Model to promote growth via business approach. The connected market segmentation deserves a detailed investigation of the landscape to understand which kind of service/product may be delivered and makes also the difference between lender, developer and philanthropist.

Final Step. On the grounds of above and encouraged by the positive comments, we have launched the Fundraising Campaign and here the highlights the FUND’s features.

JAMBO (Swahili salutations) isn’t a fund as usual (Extract from 40-page Project Document Feasibility Study):

A.  To our knowledge “JAMBO” is the first RISK FUND designed within the UN 2030 Agenda for SDGs along with the guidelines of Basel III Committee on financial inclusion: (Fund vision: Objectives 1 and 8 of SDGs)

B.  JAMBO isn’t just financing but much more: it does match-up traditional and innovative approach to the market and the proposed market segmentation will be of utmost importance for both finance and the digitalisation providers. It has a twofold objective: to provide financial resources to UNDERSERVED ENTREPRENEURSand assistance to UNDERCAPITALISED LENDERS, both facing the following three big challenges: UNDERCAPITALISATION, DIGITALISATION and MANAGEMENT. The linkages between FUND and national financial providers (MFI, Banks, Finance Agencies, etc.) shall be worked out country by country, in accordance with the related market situations; if this way isn’t viable or feasible, the FUND will directly link with the Entrepreneurs;

C.   The Model is viable and valid at both regional and country level and in this understanding, a specific request can be fitted into it;

D.  The FUND shall have a positive impact on the financial market by lowering the high cost of borrowing;

E.   Based on the current lending activities in the Continent, the FUND can secure an ROI above 3%; besides, there is a non-negligible Investors’ image return by acting as a development’s actors;

F.   Although the Project’s horizon is the Continent, it doesn’t mean to cover 54 Countries, opportunities being available everywhere. We have planned to achieve round-up meetings in 3-4 countries and come back with an important portfolio. It is worthwhile to note that some entrepreneurs have already anticipated requests for financial assistance: Ghana (cotton), Cote d’Ivoire (cocoa beans), Benin (port) Nigeria (recycling), Tanzania (enterprise expansion), Algeria (Construction).

G.  We have worked out a tentative timetable (see Figure), which should be discussed with the Founders, visualising two ways to go: 1) a field survey in some selected countries, 2) round-up meeting with our high-level contacts in some countries. In case, the field survey could be completed soon after FUND inception.

H.  The seed capital along with the African Country where to register the Venture Company shall be discussed with a restricted Group of the Founders: Investment Companies, Firms, Private Investors, Donors, Financial Institutions.

You will make the history of promoting the Gateway to Africa’s inclusive growth.

Subscribers will receive a copy of the Feasibility Study: JAMBO FUND, Africa’s Gateway to Inclusive Growth. Truly interested Investors may have more information: graziosiascanio@aol.com or via Skype.

 

 

BRINGING ENTREPRENEURS AND FINANCIERS TOGETHER

The use of financial leverage to the business isn’t an easy job because it means to provide entrepreneurs with what they really need and doing it on a sustainable basis at an affordable price. Meantime the borrower has to present a sound project.

The job to bring together both actors requires experience and expertise above the ground. Our Practice has a daily exposure to evaluate the risk and to find out a meeting point to finance valid, viable and sustainable projects.

We will welcome valid and viable Funding Requests aiming at expanding business along with real estate investment supported by good market perspectives and a strong  business plan.