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About Thrive Microfinance

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Thrive Microfinance from Zimbabwe is a microfinance organisation providing loans and training to groups of low-income women. It was established in 2012 and is a registered Non-Banking Financial Institution regulated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). It has its headquarters in Highfield in the capital Harare and also has a branch offices in the suburbs of Chitungwiza and Whitecliff.  Although it is a for-profit organisation, all profits are re-invested in expanding operations rather than being given as bonuses to staff or dividends to shareholders (there is a signed covenant to this effect). The RBZ only issues operating licenses to organisations registered as limited companies.

What is Thrive’s mission?

Thrive’s mission is to ‘provide training and credit to women excluded from the mainstream financial sector in a manner that is both socially responsible and financially sustainable’. All clients are low-income economically active women from urban and semi-urban areas in Harare and in Chitungwiza and Whitecliff.

What types of financial services does Thrive offer?

The primary activity of Thrive is providing financially excluded self-employed women with access to loans accompanied by training. However, it also strongly encourages them to save regularly through opening group bank accounts. It emphasises savings as the key to long-term financial security. Before receiving their first loan, each borrower is required to save US$50 and deposit this in the group bank account and they are encouraged to continue saving once they have become borrowers. Thrive has no access to this money and does not benefit from it.

How much interest does Thrive charge?

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) charge higher rates of interest for several reasons. Firstly, the administrative costs of making many small loans are much higher than making fewer larger loans; secondly, they take more time assessing the feasibility of applications and thereby reducing risk because borrowers cannot offer traditional forms of collateral nor do they have salaried incomes; thirdly MFIs often operate in geographically remote areas with low population densities and this means that they incur greater operational costs; and fourthly they often accompany loans with a range of training and technical advice. In addition, inflation is generally higher than in countries such as the UK. The rate of inflation in Zimbabwe can be found below. Thrive charges between 5-8% interest per month on a declining balance on short-term loans of around six months; this is one of the lowest rates of interest charged by any microfinance provider in Zimbabwe.  Unlike other organisations there are no arrangement or other fees related to borrowing.  The main reason for the relatively high rates of interest is to cover the costs associated with the comprehensive training that Thrive provides, this is detailed in the next section. Thrive expects to reduce interest charges as its operations increase in scale.

Does Thrive provide any training?

Yes, Thrive does provide quite extensive financial and business education to clients. There are two reasons for the training:

  • It helps Thrive to avoid making bad loans by understanding the ability and capacity of borrowers to establish and manage an enterprise and filtering out those individuals who are unlikely to be successful.
  • It enables borrowers to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of their businesses and those of the other members of their groups. The training makes borrowers aware of the risks and liabilities involved in taking out a loan and ensure that they have a clear and profitable use for the money they borrow. They are taught to keep simple financial records.

There are eight specific training sessions for first-time borrowers:

  • Group formation 1. This provides advice on the characteristics of good groups and good group member selection. It also describes the role of the group committee to enable the group to select wisely.
  • Group formation 2. The main theme is group governance and opening a group bank account. The group develops a constitution and resolution.
  • Leadership training. This session is attended only by the chairperson, treasurer and secretary of the group and it relates to management of the group and responsibilities.
  • Financial training 1. The main theme is simple bookkeeping and savings. It also starts the process of enabling group members to understand each other’s businesses.
  • Financial training 2. The main theme is making appropriate borrowing decisions and it also includes calculations on the cost of borrowing and monthly instalments.
  • Financial training 3. This revolves around borrowers understanding their businesses, drafting borrowing requirements, cost-benefit analysis of borrowing decisions and understanding group guarantees. Potential borrowers are required to complete a business description form.
  • Financial training 4. The main theme is finalising borrowing requirements and understanding the repayment process.
  • Borrower interface ‘Look before you leap’. In this final training session potential borrowers meet with existing established borrowers for advice on how to successfully manage a loan. Two presentations are made, one by a successful borrower who did not face any problems with their loan, and another by a borrower who was let down by other group members. No fee is charged for this session.

How does Thrive measure impact?

Thrive has developed its own in-house poverty assessment tool.  It uses national poverty assessment statistics and has developed a series of simple questions that enable it to assess the likelihood that a borrower is poor and changes in the level of poverty over time.

Preliminary results indicate that 68% of all first time borrowers are likely to be poor and borrowers show improvements in their overall standard of living as they continue in the system. Thrive also undertakes exit interviews and training evaluation to ensure that the needs of its borrowers are being met.

Where can I find out more information about Thrive?

More information about Thrive can be found at its own website and it also posts information to the Mix Market. 


Thrive: Basic facts and figures

Full name:


Thrive Microfinance




Average loan size:



Number of active borrowers:



Proportion of loans given to women:



Gross loan portfolio:



Portfolio at Risk (PAR) at 30 days:



This information was updated in June 2018

Zimbabwe: Basic facts and figures



16.36 million

Life expectancy at birth:


57 years

Adult literacy rate:



Access to improved water source:



Infant mortality rate:


47 per 1,000 live births

Maternal mortality rate:


443 per 100,000 live births

GDP per capita:












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