Africa Board Fellowship Program

Africa Board Fellowship Program

Peer learning and exchange with board members and CEOs to strengthen the governance of financial institutions serving low-income clients

Governance and Risk Management Via Peer Learning and Exchange

ABF connects board members and CEOs through peer learning and exchange to strengthen the governance of financial institutions serving low-income clients.

Weak governance and risk management impede African microfinance growth and sustainability. The Africa Board Fellowship (ABF) program is dedicated to strengthening governance, improving risk-management practices, and building strategic leadership abilities for board members and CEOs of financial institutions serving low-income clients in sub-Saharan Africa.

The six-month program offers in-person, peer-led seminars featuring real life case studies, role plays, interactive animation and networking, together with a virtual platform for structured learning, dialogue and collaboration. During the program, fellows establish individual and institutional goals and work with an advisor on achieving those goals.  Through peer learning and exchange, ABF is designed to create an open atmosphere that allows for frank discussion among peers. World-class experts and leaders in microfinance and financial inclusion will facilitate and engage participants in an active dialogue on governance and risk. Seminars are an interactive combination of guided discussion and peer-to-peer exchange on governance, best practices and risk-management strategies, with an emphasis on fellows sharing knowledge and experience. At the conclusion of the program, fellows stay connected as alumni, creating a network of leaders confronting similar challenges.

Eligibility

ABF is for board members and CEOs of financial institutions working toward financial inclusion throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The program requires an institutional commitment and suggests that the board chair, CEO and at least one other board member attend the fellowship program. Ideally, at least the board chair and CEO would attend together as part of the same class and then additional participants from the institution can join future classes.

On select occasions, individual representatives will be selected as fellows for the program on a case-by-case basis. We are looking for fellows who are eager to share their experiences, learn from their peers, implement changes and strengthen their governance, risk management and strategic planning.

ABF in Action

What it's like to attend ABF

Program Components

The Fellowship is made up of three components:

World-class experts and leaders in microfinance and financial inclusion will facilitate and engage participants in an active dialogue on governance and risk. Seminars are an interactive combination of guided discussion and peer-to-peer exchange on governance, best practices and risk-management strategies, with an emphasis on fellows sharing knowledge and experience.

 

 

Fellows engage in regular knowledge-sharing activities, online meetings, training and discussion forums. This virtual community forum provides regularly updated content on governance and risk, and the ability to speak with faculty, classmates or subject-matter experts. This content will be supplemented by webinars in which participants can connect on specific technical questions and share personal experiences.

 

 

Personal advisors help fellows to establish individual and institution governance goals, working with them toward specific changes they seek to make. Advisory sessions provide a targeted approach to improving governance capacity, with fellows working to build plans and monitor progress against goals.

 

 

Program Topics

ABF is designed to explore a variety of priority topics for the region, including board dynamics & responsibilities, risk management, strategy & managing sustainable growth, technology trends and innovations, navigating competitive and challenging environments, and client centricity. Fellows will have an opportunity to share knowledge and experience around governance challenges in all of these areas in order to build capacity and enable application of best practices at their institutions.

Topics covered during the program include:

  • Managing sustainable growth
  • Technology trends and innovations
  • Risk management strategies
  • Succession planning
  • Alignment of interests
  • Dealing with industry crises
  • Conflict resolution
  • Navigating competitive environments
  • Managing new regulations
  • Client protection
  • Social performance
Rich graphic harvests help illustrate and demonstrate the governance and risk concepts fellows discuss during in-person seminars.
Rich graphic harvests help illustrate and demonstrate the governance and risk concepts fellows discuss during in-person seminars.
The Africa Board Fellowship is a must for all board members of microfinance banks. The combination of case studies, role plays, peer-to-peer discussions, experienced facilitators created an environment of learning that brought about deep insights that can be implemented with quick, measurable, positive results on most boards. I feel more confident of our growth plans.
Bunmi Lawson, former CEO, Accion Microfinance Bank, Nigeria

ABF Graphic Harvest

Visualizing the governance and risk issues facing FSP boards and CEOs

We came away from the program with a total toolbox of how to govern a bank. You could get everything you need. You could just download, customize and implement.
ABF Fellow

ABF in Pictures

Cohort 6 Graduation

Partners

We appreciate the support of our partners.

Partnering with us on this five-year initiative are Mastercard Foundation and FMO Entrepreneurial Development Bank, as well as the Calmeadow, as a technical partner. The Citi Foundation is also supporting the program.

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