| HIFIVE Resources:
HIFIVE is part of USAID/Haiti's integrated strategy to develop the country’s financial services sector in a way that promotes employment generation, improves livelihoods, and boosts the economy. HIFIVE’s activities specifically focus on improving the availability of financial products and services to support the expansion of agriculture and other production, as well as access to financial services for communities in rural and agricultural areas. HIFIVE works primarily on the supply side of the financial sector. It also encourages use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), diaspora investments and an increased developmental impact from remittances.
The core of the program is the HIFIVE Catalyst Fund (HCF), a $22.5 million grant pool to increase financial services in rural and agricultural zones. These targeted grants promote innovation and experimentation in development of technology solutions, capacity building, financial services and products, and risk mitigation. Following the January 12, 2010 earthquake, HIFIVE also has responded by prioritizing those areas that were mostly heavily affected, and initiating activities to help damaged businesses get back on their feet and restart the Haitian economy.
Project Updates and Achievements
HIFIVE implements its activities through 60 partners, including 46 microfinance institutions and a variety of banks, insurance companies, technology companies and others. Since its inception, HIFIVE and its partners have achieved substantial impact in line with its key objectives:
Expanding access for rural populations:
- 7,861 farmers have received agricultural loans;
- 31 new value chain finance solutions have been introduced, targeting such key value chains as coffee, mango, cocoa, and rice, among others;
- 61 new financial products and services are now available in rural areas;
- HIFIVE partner microfinance institutions now serve 530,910 clients;
Using ICTs for greater reach:
- 297 traditional points of service, including 146 points of services in rural areas. 550 non-traditional points of service (mobile money agents) have been added;
- Use of ICT solutions has allowed Haiti to expand financial inclusion with 15 ICT tools having been introduced at 13 financial institutions; and
- 393,186 financial service clients have been served by ICT interventions.
The HIFIVE Catalyst Fund (HCF):
The HCF is one of its main tools for achieving results under its objectives. By the end of 2011, HCF had made 48 grants totaling $11.4 million. Illustrative achievements of HCF include:
- Grants to several MFIs have helped finance expanded outreach into rural areas. New branches are being opened in some of the areas least served by financial institutions, including Jeremie, Port de Paix, and Fort Liberte. These new branches support agricultural activities as well as development of micro and small enterprises through the expanded access to credit, savings and other financial services they bring to these communities.
- Working with its partners, HIFIVE continues to increase the availability of credit to support agricultural value chains and the farmers and enterprises that comprise them.
- One grant provided access to various credit products for the members of a leading coffee producers’ cooperative in Belle-Anse in the South East, enabling them to finance increased coffee production and commercialization.
- Two MFIs in the central plateau have developed credit products through HCF grants to peanut producers, enabling them to increase production and revenue. One MFI will provide credit for the purchase of portable pumps to irrigate the crop during the dry season, while the other will provide production cycle credits to growers, enabling them to take better advantage of market prices and to support alternative income crops.
- Another credit union is using their grant to develop mechanisms for local mango growers and their federation which will support expanded production and improved revenues for the farmers by providing longer term credit for the development of a tree nursery, a production cycle credit to the growers, and credit to support expanded purchase and treatment for export by the growers’ federation.
- Marketing and promoting the availability of financial products and services is a challenge in rural zones with dispersed population. A HIFIVE grant is helping one MFI address this problem by developing new solutions, including a mobile platform for publicity.
- Support for the use of technology to expand outreach of financial services and to increase financial inclusion is addressed by HCF grants (and by HMMI technical assistance grants, covered separately). One such grant to an MFI will be used to redesign and to automate credit processes and expand the variety of products available to clients and their delivery mechanisms.
- HIFIVE grants have also been used to support the development and distribution of improved market information, such as the annual “Census of the Haitian Microfinance Sector.” With the publication last fall of the 2010 Census, this rich database now covers years 2006-2010. The production of the Census for 2011 is now underway.