MBA organises EFSD(+) Workshop

On 24 April 2024,  the Mauritius Bankers Association (MBA), in collaboration with EU Africa Rise, organised a full day workshop titled ‘The European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD+) as a Catalyst for Sustainable (M)SME Finance’, at the Hennessy Park Hotel, Ebène.

Targeted at bankers and MFI practitioners in Madagascar, Mauritius & Rwanda, the first session focussed on the EU Global Gateway and EFSD(+), with addresses from the following subject matter experts: 

  • Ms. Manisha Dookhony, Economics and Markets Reform Expert, Africa Rise,
  • Mr. Daniel Essoo, CEO, Mauritius Bankers Association
  • Mr. Bastian Koop, Policy Officer EFSD+ Guarantees, European Commission
  • Mr. Prakash Hurry, Officer in Charge, Regional Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence,
  • Mr. David Weiss, Financing Instruments Expert, Africa Rise

We were pleased to host H.E. Oskar Benedikt, EU Ambassador to Mauritius, for Opening Remarks, during which he highlighted the role of the EFSD+ European Fund, particularly for small and medium sized enterprises. “EFSD+ is one of the financing tools of a broader strategy, again, which is called EU global gateway strategy, which is promoting investment in our partner countries, and it offers a variety of risk sharing instruments of a total of up to 40 billion euros in public funding. EFSD(+) then aims to mobilise up to 135 billion euros of public and private financing overall. These tremendous figures are just a small part of what is needed to fuel the change that is to come,” stated Mr. Oskar Benedikt.

Commenting on the objective of the workshop, Mr. Daniel Essoo, CEO of the MBA, stated sustainable finance is a key topic for the Association, towards which a lot of initiatives are being undertaken. “We are delighted to be associated with this event today in collaboration with Africa Rise, the EU delegation and facilitated by Blue Acacia. There is a lot of DFI financing, OECD countries are putting money in huge funds, and there’s a need downstream in our economies in Mauritius, Rwanda, Madagascar across the continent for sustainable finance. But how do we make this connection happen? There are a number of instruments out there, and today’s session should hopefully help our audience understand the technicalities of getting these funding mechanisms to work,” he said.

Delving further into the intricacies of sustainable finance, the second and third sessions focused on Boosting SME Finance with EFSD(+) Guarantees, and Strengthening local currency markets with EFSD(+). 


  • Mr. Bennet Niemann, Financing Instruments Consultant at Africa Rise 
  • Mr. William Poole, Guarantee and Syndications Manager at EDFI Management Company
  • Ms. Ilayda Atalay, NASIRA Structured Finance Officer at FMO
  • Mr. Christian Abidjuru, Head of Business Banking at I&M Bank Rwanda
  • Mr. Timothy Nuy, CEO of Fin, a pan-African neobank &
  • Mr. Demba Tandia, Vice President for SSA at TCX

brainstormed salient topics such as EFSD(+) financing programs of European DFIs for banks and MFIs in the region, the EDFI MSME Platform as a novel tool for risk sharing, and MSME financing with FMO’s NASIRA(+) Program. They also discussed opportunities in local currency financing across Africa, hedging and local currency financing with The Currency Exchange Fund, and the conditions for local currency finance. 

Overall a very fruitful event that completed its objective of sharing practical experiences and lessons learned via case studies on current EFSD+ projects and beneficiaries in the region but also providing a platform for exchange among existing and potential future EFSD+ partnerships and projects.

Click below to access pictures of the event: