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Central Bank of Nigeria
SEDPI Conducts "Microfinance Immersion: A Study Tour of the Philippine Microfinance Industry" for Nigerian Government Agencies.

To usher the new year, SEDPI conducted a five-day study tour entitled "Microfinance Immersion: A Study Tour of the Philippine Microfinance Industry" for Nigerian government agencies. The government agencies come from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Deposit and Insurance Corporation, Ministry of Finance, and the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises. The participants visited five organizations that represent the various players in the Philippine microfinance industry - Bank of the Philippine Islands, Inner City Development Cooperative, People's Crdit and Finance Corporation, Peace and Equity Foundation, and Siargao Bank.

The participants visited the headquarters of the Bank of the Philippine Islands where they were greeted by Mr. Josais dela Cruz, Vice-President for BPI's microfinance unit. Mr. dela Cruz presented to the participants how BPI started its wholesale loan and capacity building loan for microfinance institution. He also presented different guarantee schemes that BPI has used in partnership with other foreign banks to secure the wholesale loans for microfinance. After visiting BPI, the participants visited Inner City Development Cooperative to learn more about how microfinance provides the grassroots access to financial services. They went on field to interview the management staff of the cooperative as well as interact with microfinance clients.

The associate director of the Peace and Equity Foundation, Mr. Ric Torres, presented to the Nigerians the various strategies and projects that the foundation used to reduce poverty using microfinance as one of the components. The President of the People's Credit and Finance Corporation also interacted with the participants with the end view of sharing how the Nigerian government could set up a fund for microfinance institutions by sharing the Philippine experience. Ms. Lucille Sering, Vice-President of Siargao Bank, also shared her successes and challenges in running a microfinance program in the rural area.

Overall, the participants were pleased with the study tour and remarked that they have seen a lot of strategies that they could emulate back in Nigeria.

Academy for Microfinance Development in Asia
In April 2008, the Academy for Microfinance Development in Indonesia (AMiDA) invited SEDPI's president, Mr. Mariel Vincent Rapisura, to be part of the first faculty to deliver trainings in AMiDA. Mr. Rapisura delivered a training on entitled: "The New Frontier: Linking Microfinance and Remittances." The participants evaluated the delivery of Mr. Rapisura at 4.78 from a possible high score of 5.00.The Microfinance Innovation Center for Resources and Alternatives (MICRA) hosted AMiDA. MICRA is an INdonesian foundation focused solely on the development of the microfinance industry. Mercy Corps founded MICRA in early 2006 to institutionalize and expand its work over the past six years in microfinance throughout Indonesia. Three of SEDPI's staff were participants in AMiDA.