Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) Africa Board Fellowship Program 2018 for financial Leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion. (PRNewsFoto/Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion) (PRNewsFoto/)

Application Deadline: Ongoing

The Africa Board Fellowship connects board members and CEOs through peer learning and exchange to strengthen the governance of financial institutions serving low-income clients in sub-Saharan Africa.

Program activities, structure, and content have been carefully designed to create an open atmosphere that allows for frank discussion among peers. Fellows identify their objectives for the program and then work with a program advisor on achieving those goals. Additionally, fellows have access throughout the program to a participant-led virtual community forum with tools, resources, content, and access to subject-matter experts. At the conclusion of the program, fellows stay connected as alumni, providing a network of leaders confronting similar challenges.

Overall Program Objectives

By the end of the ABF, participants will possess the technical knowledge and tools to be agents of change for effective governance at their institutions, and for the industry as a whole. This includes:

1. Clear sense of responsibilities and authorities as board members and management.

2. Understanding and implementing best practice governance structures and functions.

3. Identifying key strategic junctures and turning points when the board or CEO has to assert its authority.

4. Monitoring and assessing institutional risks faced and ensuring that the risk management system (RMS) provides them with adequate information so the board can ensure the continued survival and viability of the company implementing sound risk management strategies.

5. Listening to and keeping the client at the center of strategic decisions.

6. Ensuring that the company has the necessary human and technical resources to navigate competitive and challenging environments successfully.

7. Fostering good board dynamics and function, and the appropriate relationship between management and the board so that management and the board effectively and consistently focus on their core responsibilities.

The fellowship is made up of three components:

Peer Learning Seminars: 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.

Virtual Forum: 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.

Program Advising: 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.

Fellowship offers:

  • Access to high-quality faculty
  • Opportunity to learn from the experience of others
  • High-caliber fellow participants
  • Platform for African MFI leaders to discuss, share ideas, and acquire new knowledge
  • Opportunity to connect with peers struggling with similar issues
  • Strong, practical, hands-on agenda with clear take-aways and motivation to implement
  • A flexible, personalized program that is tailored to the needs of individual fellows and MFI


The only out-of-pocket expenses for fellows to participate in the Africa Board Fellowship program are the travel costs of getting to and from the two in-person seminars. Once fellows arrive at the seminars, costs associated with hotel accommodation and food will be covered for the duration of the seminars. Fellows would cover any additional costs incurred if they decide to extend their travels, bring additional guests, or exceed the specified allotment for hotel incidentals. All fellows are required to stay at the location being provided for the seminars.

Topics to be covered

  • 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

Application Procedure:

  • Interested parties should submit an online form to indicate their interest in becoming a fellow. These expressions of interest are accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Accepted institutions will receive an institutional application to fill out, including information about the CEO and board members that would participate.
  • Fellows would also agree to the terms of the fellowship by signing and submitting the institutional application.
  • Accepted fellows will be contacted for a follow-up call.
  • This process from application to selection should take between two to three months.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Africa Board Fellowship program


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