A second EaSI TA thematic seminar was organised in Romania by fi-compass earlier this Autumn. The event’s main purpose was to highlight new product development opportunities for microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Romania, particularly in rural microfinance. It attracted 30 participants from about 15 different MFIs with rural interests.
Romania's microfinance sector is very active in the development of new products due to strong competition between the different MFIs. With this seminar, the objective of the EaSI TA programme was to propose new alternatives for product development based on MFI experience from ADIE France.
ADIE experiences that were presented during the seminar helped the Romanian MFIs to consider new strategies for product development in rural areas and the potential role of volunteers for the provision of business development services in the sector. This topic about engaging volunteers attracted a lot of interest since the Romanian microfinance sector is not necessarily perceived at local level as a 'social' sector and consequently not a typical receptor of volunteers in the country.
In addition, the experience from one of the most developed microfinance projects in the country (Patria Credit Romania) highlighted other product development options for rural areas during the fi-compass seminar, such as micro-insurance.