In June 2001, the Government of Vietnam and the Government of Australia signed the Agreement “Expanding CEP’s Microfinance Services”. Through the agreement, the seven-year CEP Microfinance Extension will be implemented with funding of AUD 5.7 million provided by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). The project marked an important step in the development of CEP’s operations and facilitated the expansion of the CEP branch network, credit operations, and institutional capacity building. The overall objective of the project is to reduce poverty through the expansion of the CEP microfinance program and to develop a sustainable and beneficial Vietnamese microfinance model. The basic goals of the project are as follows:
- Organizational capacity building – building CEP organizational capacity to successfully manage the expansion project;
- Client expansion – assist CEP in implementing its expansion plan to serve more poor people in urban and rural areas of HCMC; and
- Implement a proof-of-concept model – support CEP in achieving its goal of becoming a sustainable and successful microfinance model of Vietnam, and encourage its replication.
CEP has continued to thrive to achieve the goals of the Expansion Project. After 4 years of project implementation, CEP has established 7 new branches and expanded the scope of activities in all 24 districts of Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City, continue to maintain a financially sustainable organization while focusing on serving the poorest and poorest.
The expansion project facilitated the improvement of CEP’s facilities, the development of a Management Information System, and improved the efficiency of CEP’s credit, accounting, and internal audit processes. . The project has also played an important role in developing CEP staff by increasing the provision of specialist training for staff and providing funding to establish CEP’s internal training capacity.
CEP has also been able to demonstrate a successful and sustainable operating model, maintaining high levels of financial and operational self-sufficiency. Furthermore, in 2003, 2005, and 2007, according to the Project Expansion Plan, CEP organized 3 international conferences on Vietnamese microfinance in Ho Chi Minh City to raise awareness and discuss issues. on the importance of microfinance in Vietnam and the region.