The IOF Component of RUFEP’s implementation strategy offers matching grants accessible through three windows. These are:

  • Community Based Financial Institution(CBFI) Linkage Window
  • Agency and Mobile Banking [AMB] Window
  • Rural Finance Equity and Innovation Window

IOF Application Process

Applications are taken on a rolling basis through a two stage process. Applicants must submit a Concept Note ( template under Downloads), if successful they will be invited to submit a full proposal. All Concept Notes are reviewed by our Internal Review Committee, Chaired by the Ministry of Finance. Full proposals are sent to External Reviewers, to receive independent expert opinion as to whether the project should be approved. The proposal and the external recommendations are then sent to RUFEP’s independent Programme Vetting Committee, who make the final funding decision.

If a project is approved, the successful applicant will be invited to a pre-implementation workshop, where RUFEP’s grant agreement, reporting and procurement requirements will be explained. Funding is released when RUFEP receives the signed grant agreement, a detailed implementation plan and disbursement request.

Partners must provide quarterly finance and progress reports, which provide a detailed explanation of what activities were planned, what has been achieved and what will be carried forward to the next quarter.

Applicants must be an organisation registered with the relevant authorities in Zambia.

About the Matching Grant Windows

1. Community Based Financial Institutions Linkages

This window seeks to enable institutions (partners) willing to work with CBFIs (primarily savings groups, using VSLA/SILC methodologies) to identify their needs and design products appropriately. For banks and non-bank financial institutions, support will go towards developing mutually beneficial processes, products and services so that CBFI members can access a wider range of financial products at a lower cost.

There is a minimum 90:10 co-finance ratio, with a maximum contribution from RUFEP of $50,000. In which case, the applicant would contribute a minimum of $5,555, for a project total of at least $55,555.

2. Agency and Mobile Banking

The focus of this window is to enable institutions undertake innovative pilots that can use a wide range of entities (supermarkets, petrol stations, shops and CBFIs, etc). Coupled with the widespread use of mobile phones, the range of options will be widened for low cost rural outreach and avoidance of security risks.

One of the main bottlenecks is the limited capacity of small institutions to develop branchless banking platforms by mobilizing, incentivizing and managing an adequate distribution network of retail agencies. This window will support smaller institutions to overcome this bottleneck while also enabling larger institutions to develop products suited to the rural areas.

The minimum co-financing ratio is 60:40, with a maximum contribution from RUFEP of $200,000. In which case, the applicant would contribute a minimum of $133,333, for a project total of at least $333,333.

3. Rural Finance Equity Innovations

This window aims to support innovations that improve equity in access and usage of financial services particularly by the rural people. The Rural Finance Equity and Innovation window gives preference to innovations that focus on improved participation of rural women and youth as well as products and services that are critical to rural enterprises but have been inappropriately presented or misunderstood. This window is more flexible and opportunistic, responding to demand side opportunities that arise from other windows to improve access or increase the range of services offered. The new services could compliment ongoing ones such as adding savings and or insurance to credit activities.

The minimum co-finance ratio is 90:10, with a maximum contribution from RUFEP of $25,000. In which case, the applicant would contribute a minimum of $2,777, for a project total of at least $27,777.