About Women and Associations for Gain both Economic and Social (WAGES)

Togo Map

The Women and Associations for Gain both Economic and Social (WAGES) was established in Togo in 1994 with start-up funding from CARE. It began as a solidarity group lending programme when a group of 20 women in the capital city Lome began a savings scheme and eventually made loans to each other out of their savings. It has steadily grown and has now become one of the largest microfinance institutions in Togo and reaches more rural clients than any other microfinance provider. Typically, the loans WAGES provides are for small-scale commerce, and agriculture and animal husbandry.

 

What is WAGES’s mission?

WAGES aims to ‘improve the living conditions of the poor, particularly women, through providing financial and non-financial services to enable them to establish and develop economic activities in urban and rural areas of Togo’.

 

What types of financial services do WAGES provide?

WAGES offers different types of individual and group loans as well as savings and money transfer facilities. All borrowers must maintain savings accounts. They are required to have at least 25% of the loan amount they are applying for in their savings account. Interest is paid on the savings at the rate of 3% for every three months.

 

How much interest does WAGES 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. Lastly, inflation is also generally higher than in countries such as the UK. The rate of inflation in Togo is shown below. WAGES charges rates of interest of between 9-18% per annum on a declining balance as well as a 2% service fee on each loan.

 

Does WAGES provide any training?

Yes, it does provide training to groups of borrowers on topics which include:

· Savings management

· Delinquency control

· Loan management

· Strategic planning

· Business management

· Stock management

· Accounting and financial analysis

· Governance and leadership

· Raising awareness of malaria and HIV/AIDS

 

Where can I find out more information about WAGES?

Further information about WAGES is available from the organisation’s website at http://wagestogo.org/  and it also posts its profile on Mix Market at http://www.mixmarket.org/mfi/wages

 

WAGES: Basic facts and figures

Full name:   Women and Associations for Gain both Economic and Social (WAGES)
Established:   1994
Proportion of loans given to women:   67%
Average loan size:   US$2,563
Number of active borrowers:   16,224
Number of depositors:   118,799
Gross loan portfolio:   US$35,848,132 
Deposits:   US$18,156,722
Portfolio at Risk (PAR) at 30 days:   11.6% *

 

The data above has been updated in January 2014

* PAR at 30 was high at the end of 2013 as a result of a huge fire that devastated two local markets in Lome earlier in the year. Although this did not impact directly on LWC entrepreneurs, this affected a significant portion of WAGES overall portfolio. Most of the loans were written off and new loans were offered to people who had lost everything so they could start again.   

 

Togo: Basic facts and figures

Country:   Togo
Capital:   Lome
Official language:   French
Population:   7.44 million 
GDP per capita:   $1,500
Inflation:   1.8%
Human Development Index ranking:   162 (of 188 countries)
Proportion of population living on less than $2 per day:   69.3%
Adult literacy rate:   66.5%
Under 5 Infant mortality rate (per 1000):   52
Life expectancy:   64.5 years
Currency:   Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF)

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