Consultant teams often find themselves working in a country that is recovering from a major civil or economic conflict that has disrupted markets, supply lines and previously established credit and savings relationships between banks and MFIs and local enterprises. The first task is thorough assessment of the impact of the conflict upon business markets and profitability as well as the willingness/capacity to lend among banks and MFIs.
The second is essentially working with the remaining financial system to help it reconstruct based upon established best practices, revised products and risk management mechanisms that address current market conditions. For MFIs, we generally work through an existing network, first with surviving viable providers to restore their market outreach, do responsive product development and scale up again.
Developing products and facilities for SME borrowers is more challenging in a post conflict situation because the banker/borrower relationships were typically not well developed before. The task is usually to “get it right this time”. In several post conflict countries in Africa, Duggleby and Associates, Inc. has recently gone in and assessed supply and demand for credit using a “value chain based” or demand driven approach.
Team members have identified enterprises supplying products or services within growth potential market chains and ‘gaps’ where credit is needed but not available
We have then worked with banking institutions or non bank financial institutions to develop and/or adapt products that meet identified enterprise needs for working capital and investment finance and banker’s requirements for managing risk.
In Liberia for example, where Ms. Duggleby recently led the market and feasibility study team for the OPIC funded Liberia Enterprise Development Fund (LEDF), team members used a “value chain based” approach in working with recovering businesses and active banking institutions to identify and refine products that would meet immediate needs, and could be tested and then replicated within the same or other value chains.
The firm worked to assist the extension of finance in geographic locations where the need was greatest and the most near term opportunities lay
The team also worked to help the lenders avoid charges of “favoritism” in credit extension, in a market where everyone has lost assets and some sectors will generate increased sales, value added and employment faster than others