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PlaNet Finance China

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PlaNet Finance China
Founded2003
FocusMicrofinance Technical Assistance
Location
Area served
China
Key people
Gabrielle Harris (Executive Director)
Websitewww.planetfinancechina.org

PlaNet Finance China (PFC) (Chinese: 沛丰中国) is a non-profit organization that works for sustainable social and economic development in China by supporting and promoting the microfinance sector. It is the representative office of the international non-profit organization PlaNet Finance Group.

PFC works with partner organizations and offers technical assistance to financial institutions and microfinance institutions (MFIs) that seeks to improve performance, or to extend their portfolios into microcredit and small lending. PFC runs diagnostics on city commercial banks, village banks, and MFIs to help them adopt international best practices with respect to governance, credit risk management, process optimization and cost-efficiency, liquidity management and strategy formation.

PFC is based in Beijing, and has been involved in the Chinese microfinance sector since 2003. Its Executive Director is Gabrielle Harris.[1]

Philosophy[edit]

To strengthen microfinance delivery in two ways:

  1. To help small MFIs grow that are trying to get loan services to farmers and entrepreneurs in central and western areas of China
  2. To assist existing regulated financial institutions to efficiently extend their loan portfolio to small loans, using best practice credit and risk management strategies and technologies.

Activities[edit]

PFC provides a full set of advisory and technical assistance services to players in microfinance via three business lines:

  • Advisory and technical assistance services
  • Microfinance Plus Programs: Linking microfinance to social development programs, especially in health, education and environment
  • Sectorial support in Microfinance

Projects[edit]

The Renewable Energy Project for Tongwei County, Gansu Province

A co-financed project in collaboration with Areva,[2] GDF Suez,[3] the Japanese Government [4] and the European Commission towards developing biogas facilities in Tongwei County through microcredit to the rural population.

The objectives of the Renewable Energy Project:

  • To improve living conditions for rural population of Tongwei County: extended access to energy, greater diversification of agricultural products, boosted crop productivity
  • To increase energy self-sufficiency in some of the more remote rural areas of Tongwei County
  • To promote entrepreneurial activities facilitated by low-cost energy sources: offering support for local market development to matching market demand and to create new product outlets
  • To slow down the environmental degradation of the target area
  • To contribute to the success of a governmental-sponsored project to promote the use of biogas in poor areas
  • To create awareness about collective and individual responsibility for environmental conservation and the growing waste management and disposal [5]

Pfizer & PlaNet Finance Collaboration

It was announced in March 2009 that PF China and Pfizer Inc. are collaborating to conduct an in-depth research project to determine the healthcare needs of the poor in China. The study aims to gauge the current healthcare climate in China, focusing on "the availability and existing sources of medicines, patient purchasing patterns, and the level of access to medical services." [6]

Broadband for Barefoot Bankers (B4BB)

PlaNet Finance started “Broadband for Barefoot Bankers” project in September 2004 to June 2006,[7] drawing experiences from a former program "Transfer of IT&C skills to strengthen the microfinance sector in China."[8] PlaNet Finance worked in collaboration with European Commission’s Asi@ITC Programme who funded the project and China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) who oversees the work of loan officers.[8] The total budget for the project was €292,280.[9]

Who are the Barefoot Bankers?

“Barefoot bankers” are locals working as loan officers under microfinance institutions in China.[8] They possess insights on the livelihood and needs of the villages they serve and are the key to ridding poverty with the microfinance methodology.[8] They are the target group in this project.

Project Goal & Objective

To bridge the digital divide of the people living in rural areas of China by providing barefoot bankers access to computers and computer skills, thereby building economies for small Chinese communities through information and communication technology.[10]

Project Implementation

The regions to set up “Digital Hubs”, which were technologies learning centres, were identified by PlaNet Finance, and staff was hired and trained subsequently to manage the centres.[9]

Barefoot bankers were taught to use the Management Information System, which is a loan tracking and accounting system computer program[11] brought in by PlaNet Finance to improve loan process applications and serve more people. This system seeks to establish a stronger microfinance institution by reducing the possibility of fraud and misallocation of funds through clear documentation of cash flows.[8] In addition, they were also taught the basics skill of using the Internet such as email and search, to facilitate the flow of information from loan officers to farmers (clients) in the rural areas.[8]

Customized training sessions were held offering interactive classroom-based training, facilitated by trainers from PlaNet Finance’s international network as well as PlaNet Finance China.[8] There were 2 training modules, namely the Basic Microfinance and Operational Microfinance that comprises the following contents:[8]

Basic Microfinance Operational Microfinance
Introduction to Microfinance Daily Loan Operations
Client Selection Profitable Microfinance Management
Institution Building Accounting and MIS (Manual Bookkeeping)
Human Resources Computer Basics for Microloan Officers
Products and Services Computer Maintenance
Basic Loan Management Accounting Software Selection and Use
Supervision and Monitoring Using Email and Search Engines
Project Results
  • 3 Digital Hubs were set up:[7]
  1. Zuoquan Digital Hub in Shanxi province provided 450 training sessions.
  2. Fu’an Digital Hub in Fujian province provided 391 training sessions.
  3. Xiapu Digital Hub in Fujian province provided 767 training sessions.
  • Transfer of information encouraging entrepreneurial spirit and increasing economic opportunity.[8]
  • First successful implementation off-the-shelf Management Information Systems (MIS), using the Kredits System.[8]
  • Seminars fostering communication and promoting Public-Private Partnership between China and Europe.[9]

References[edit]

  1. PlaNet Finance (China) http://planetfinancechina.org/index
  2. http://www.china.areva.com/scripts/china_home/publigen/content/templates/show.asp?P=131&L=EN&SYNC=Y
  3. http://www.gdfsuez.com/en/group/corporate-patronage-and-partnerships/solidarity/the-business-of-solidarity/
  4. http://news.gsdofcom.gov.cn/dingxi/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=24967
  5. http://www.planetfinancechina.org/what-we-do/microfinance/tongwei
  6. http://www.pfizer.be/Media/Press+bulletins/Philantropy/Collaboration+PlaNet+France+Pfizer+in+China.htm
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). PLANET FINANCE. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9 "Broadband for Barefoot Bankers (B4BB)". PLANET FINANCE. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "An Update on PlaNet Finance" (PDF). PLANET FINANCE. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  10. CASCIO, JAMAIS (17 June 2005). "Broadband for Barefoot Bankers". WORLDCHANGING. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  11. "Media: Videos". PLANET FINANCE. Retrieved 21 September 2011.

External links[edit]

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