Burkina Faso – Savings and credit groups

Burkina Faso – Savings and credit groups


Sponsorship area

Development Assistance

Sponsorship amount

CHF 1500,000 / year

Sponsorship term

since 2018 



The Réseau des Caisses Populaires du Bourkina (Burkina Network of Popular Funds) is the project partner in Burkina Faso.

Mali Region Bougouni/Sikasso

The Hirschmann Foundation, together with Swisscontact, supported a development cooperation project in Mali in the Region of Bougouni/Sikasso between 2010 and 2017. By setting up savings and credit groups in the villages, the initiative's intention was to give women and men the opportunity to start or expand self-employment in the fields of agriculture, handicrafts, or retail trade and therefore the ability to make a living for themselves and their families.

The project was completed in the Region of Bougouni/Sikasso in Mali. Numerous savings and credit groups are in place at many villages. Swisscontact will continue to support them with its expertise as required and within the limits of the available resources to ensure sustainability.

Burkina Faso Region Centre-West

With the experience and improved instruments from Mail, the aim is to introduce the model of savings and credit groups in the villages of Burkina Faso, another country in West Africa, whilst maintaining the objectives. This also involves verifying the viability of this model of development cooperation in different environments.

In 2018, the project started in the Region Centre-West in the Department of Koudougou including the villages of Sabou, Réo, Gaoua, Dano, Batié and Fada. Swisscontact is already active in this geographical area with vocational training programmes that have a focus on agriculture and handicrafts on behalf of the SDC.

Mara Panga savings and credit groups

The groups are called Mara Panga in Burkina Faso. In Dioula, the term Mara means savings, while the term Panga means power in the Mooré language. The two languages form the main languages in Bourkina Faso. Mara - Panga therefore signifies the power of saving.

Mara Panga makes it possible for people who otherwise have hardly any access to any financial services to fund their own economic projects with the resources of depositors from their own village. The depositors, for their part, are paid a regular rate of interest and a regular repayment for their savings. Both the savings and the loan process are entirely transparent for every stakeholder.

Between 10 and 30 people at a time group together to form a Mara-Panga group in the village. The group appoints a committee comprising a president, a secretary, a treasurer and two financial officers.

Project strengths

Thanks to the savings and loans group model - as demonstrated by the experience in Mali -thousands of people have been able to access both savings and loans.

The group members are able to:

  • Establish their own activities to generate an income.
  • Generate permanent employment for themselves and their relatives.
  • Afford their own school fees basic health care and their own clothes.

Transparent administration and economic use of the funds

  • Decisions are taken unanimously; each member knows where each loan granted is directed and how much has been accumulated in savings.
  • All transactions, deposits and withdrawals take place during the weekly group meetings and can be directly monitored by all group members.
  • More than 95% of the savings funds are invested in new business opportunities to launch economic activities.
  • The groups also invest their funds in collective activities: Purchasing agricultural products (seeds, fertiliser, etc.) or investing in shared production tools and warehouses.
  • Establishing new groups: Group leaders establish a second or even a third group.