2022: The Year in Review

The past year saw us at the Agora Group take some important steps towards preparing ourselves for the remainder of this decade, alongside continuing to build our operations in our countries of operation.

In terms of our current operations, we could not be more satisfied with the work of our colleagues in Zambia. Agora Microfinance Zambia (AMZ) is the largest, cheapest, and the deepest reaching financial institution in the country, and continued to enhance its footprint during the year. It now reaches almost 150,000 clients across all parts of the country; offering small loans, equipment leases, mobile money and different insurance products to the rural communities. With an impeccable performance that continues since it broke-even in 2016, AMZ has set a marker of excellence in the market, and continues to innovate and improve. Preparations for the next phase of this wonderful institution are already underway, and during 2022 we laid the foundations for several new developments that should see the light of the day during 2023/24. These include an enhanced information system, a research and social performance system, search for new shareholders, and eventually the launch of deposit products. These new areas will prepare AMZ for the next decade of delivering ever-more suitable products for its clients.

In India, our subsidiary Agora Microfinance India Limited (AMIL) was able to successfully overcome the large-scale impact of the Covid pandemic that had devastated our clientele during 2020-21. Recovery from large scale crises such as these takes time, as many nations in the world are experiencing. At a smaller scale, AMIL has been able to help a large number of clients get back on their feet since the pandemic, even though many have equally not been able to revive their livelihoods. Despite losing some 20%-25% of our portfolio to the pandemic, AMIL registered a positive EBITDA for the year, and is on course to full financial viability in 2023. During the second half of the year AMIL began growing its operations again, and a number of exciting new developments are in the pipeline. These include more differentiated products, new branches and a new risk rating system. All of these are designed to support the next phase of growth of AMIL.
Meanwhile Moringaway, our institutional lending operation, continued to deliver strong results and ended the year with excellent financial performance. In the past years we have reached out to promising and well-performing institutions in 6 countries, and we continue to build the debt portfolio into other markets. Our colleagues in Mauritius have now built up an impressive pipeline that is set to grow further in 2023. We expect to reach approximately USD 20m of assets under management by the end of the coming year.

Much is planned for 2023. Scoping new markets in southern Africa for new equity operations/investments remains high on our priorities, alongside ensuring AMIL’s full recovery and the expansion of Moringaway. In Zambia, we look forward to another year of evolution of AMZ into an institution of value and pride for the country.

As always, we would like to thank everyone associated with the Group and all other supporters outside of it. Central Banks and regulators, Independent Directors, Management and leaderships of the different entities, as well as over 500 staff employed in various locations have all played an instrumental role in building the activities of the Group, and our gratitude goes to them all. Above all, our appreciation for the over a million clients whom we reach either directly or through our debt facility – they are the reason for our existence and in their trust lies our success.