The Launch of the Microfinance Skills Curriculum in Kenya

Pablo Picasso said, ‘There is only one way to look at things until someone shows us how to look at them with different eyes.’ Innovation is an inexhaustible engine that needs to be embraced to improve financial inclusion and economic development. This forms the basis of the intervention Developing Skills for the Financial Industry, a component of the Inclusive Finance Programme (IFP) which on 9th October 2019 achieved a major milestone with the launch of the Microfinance Degree Programme (BCOM/BCOB Option) in partnership with the Co-operative University of Kenya (CUK).

Several people leaving in Kenya today have limited access to financial services. Many financial institutions have in the past been hesitant in providing services to these individuals as they didn’t meet the minimum profitable threshold. With emerging markets already embracing innovative technology and developing policies to increase financial inclusion, the time to shift gear and adapt to the technological changes and environment is here. The individuals categorised as unbanked don’t all share the same situation. Some lack access to finance from financial institutions while others simply have needs that existing institutions do not address. The development of the Microfinance Degree Programme seeks to close this gap and improve access to financial products and services by the bottom poor.

‘This achievement would not have been possible without the collaboration of various financial players who actively engaged with us at different stages especially in the analysis and identification of the skill gaps. The launch today is the beginning of a great journey. We have a solid partnership with the Co-operative University of Kenya and have plans to partner with other higher education institutions to adopt a similar curriculum that will see more professionals attain the adequate knowledge and skills to design solutions that will improve financial accessibility. Financial inclusion is not only about combatting poverty but also helping economies grow. Financial institutions operating in today’s markets need to tailor their existing offerings to successfully achieve profitable financial inclusion. This course will expose professionals to real-life challenges experienced in the financial sector and help them craft solutions for sustainable results,’ commented Mr. Wilfred Mututa, the Inclusive Finance Programme Project Coordinator in charge of the intervention.

‘The Microfinance Degree Option has been designed to develop specialised knowledge across the core area of microfinance and provide the grounding required for graduates to be functionally competent in the field of study. The programme provides the academic foundation and practical training for persons who are working in the financial services sector or who are interested in a career in the sector. The programme will develop practical skills and understanding of theory to better position learners to respond to the performance demands of the financial sector and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of operations,’ the Vice-Chancellor of the Co-operative University, Professor Kamau Ngamau elucidated during the launch ceremony.