Flag of WAEMU


The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) consists of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. In WAEMU, the microfinance sector predominately consists of mutual or cooperative savings and credit institutions, as well as credit-only institutions, which operate as non-government organizations and associations. In 1993, the Council of Ministers of WAEMU adopted the PARMEC law to regulate mutual or cooperative savings and credit institutions. In 1996, the Council of Ministers adopted a framework convention to be used for institutions that do not meet the registration criteria outlined under the PARMEC law. A major purpose of this framework convention was to provide operating and monitoring procedures for financial intermediaries working in informal sectors.

In 2007, the Council of Ministers adopted a new law establishing regulations for decentralized financial systems, which will repeal and replace both the PARMEC law and the framework convention. As compared to the PARMEC law, the decentralized financial systems bill provides regulations for both deposit and non-deposit taking microfinance institutions. More specifically, this bill provides for the sharing of supervision between the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), the WAEMU Banking Commission, which is mainly responsible for the organization and implementation of controls for financial institutions, and the respective Ministry of Finance for each member country. The decentralized financial systems bill was passed in Guinea Bissau and Senegal in 2008, Mali and Burkina Faso in 2009, Niger in 2010, and Togo and Cote d’Ivoire in 2011. It will become operational once it is adopted by the final WAEMU member country, Benin. BCEAO issued instructions on the decentralized financial systems and consumer protection-related transparency in late 2010.

Read more about the individual WAEMU countries at MixMarket: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo.


Microfinance & Banking

Consumer Protection

Branchless Banking