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FSVC Update – June 2024

Iraq: U.S. Study Tour on Enhancing Access to Finance

FSVC study tour meetings with community banks and implementation partners, Miami, Florida. May 2024

FSVC, with support from the U.S. Department of State, works in Iraq to bolster the growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). FSVC’s program seeks to improve the legal and regulatory environment for MSMEs, expand access to finance, and strengthen the MSME business support ecosystem.

As part of this initiative, FSVC recently held a study tour in Miami, Florida, for representatives from the Central Bank of Iraq, Iraqi state-owned banks, and Iraqi private banks on lending to small businesses. The tour included meetings with five community banks, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and six of its implementation partners, and the Small Business Development Center at Florida International University. Discussions covered risk management strategies for MSME lending, typical loan terms (e.g., collateral), interest rates and key factors when evaluating MSME loan applications. The SBA and its implementing partners focused on lending strategies for SMEs owned by women and minorities, and discussed business support programs and resources available to MSMEs.

The study tour provided a unique opportunity for exchanging knowledge, fostering partnerships, and identifying potential new approaches to increase lending to small businesses in Iraq. FSVC looks forward to continuing this work in Iraq!

Mauritania: Promoting Fiscal Transparency

Nouakchott, Mauritania

With funding from the U.S. Department of State, FSVC is working to strengthen public financial management in Mauritania by building the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) to advocate for budget transparency, and of government to plan, disclose and audit its budgets.

FSVC recently provided four small grants to local CSOs to conduct projects that increase fiscal transparency and accountability in the country. One of these CSOs – Sahel pour la Communication Culturelle et Sociale (SCCS) – recently implemented its project. It held three workshops on principles of fiscal transparency and the role of civil society in public financial oversight for local authorities, labor unions, and CSOs in the Wilaya of Tiris Zemmour, a region central to Mauritania’s iron mining industry. The workshops provided the participants with a better understanding of these principles, and of the importance of civil society in overseeing and managing local public finances. Discussions also centered on local budget allocations, monitoring the performance of the extractive industry sector, and advocacy strategies to urge the government to increase local content requirements for the state-owned mining company.

Many thanks to SCCS for their work and contribution to the program’s goal!

Eswatini: Assessing Corruption Risks

FSVC’s training for the Anti-Corruption Commission on developing a corruption risks framework, Mbabane, Eswatini. March 2024

In Southern Africa, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), FSVC is strengthening anti-corruption efforts and procedures in the region. The program’s key objectives are to build the public financial management capacity of key government institutions, and to enhance the oversight capability of government and civil society to minimize fraud, waste, and abuse of state resources.

As part of this initiative, FSVC recently conducted a training for the Eswatini Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on developing a framework to assess corruption risks at various government institutions. The FSVC volunteer experts delved into methodologies and strategies for implementing corruption risk assessments, a tool designed to help organizations identify weaknesses in their systems that could potentially be exploited for corrupt purposes. The FSVC volunteer experts then helped the ACC conduct a risk assessment of the ACC itself, covering various functional areas (e.g., operating procedures, procurement systems, inventory management). As a result of this training, the ACC is now better equipped to develop and implement corruption risk assessments of other government institutions.

FSVC remains committed to supporting the ACC in this effort, to help effectively combat corruption in Eswatini.

Roundtable on FSVC’s Work in Sudan

Roundtable on Sudan at FSVC, New York, USA. May 2024

FSVC recently hosted a roundtable in New York, bringing together volunteer experts, friends of the organization, and representatives from the U.S. Departments of State and of Treasury, to engage in a discussion about FSVC’s work in Sudan. The event was co-led by FSVC’s President & CEO, Andrew Spindler, and FSVC’s Country Director in Sudan, Mubarak Abdalla. Mr. Abdalla gave an overview of FSVC’s program “Countering Corruption in Sudan,” addressing milestones, challenges, and upcoming initiatives. This work is building the capacity of local civil society organizations and media to monitor conditions, expose corruption, and advocate for reform in the extractive industry sector, particularly the gold sector. Mr. Abdalla also offered insights into the current conflict in Sudan, emphasizing the resilience of local counterparts to sustain their reform efforts.

FSVC is grateful to Mr. Abdalla and all attendees for their time, valuable contributions to the discussions, and their continued support for the organization.


If interested in attending similar FSVC events in the New York City and Washington DC areas, please contact FSVC Program and Communication Coordinator, Alyssa Friend (