Launched in 2008, the Rating Initiative (RI) is transitioning into a new phase and will phase out its subsidies for social ratings[1] by the 21st December 2011 thereby effectively terminating its MFI rating co-funding mechanism.

Demand for rating co-funding surpassed initial expectations as a total of 334 ratings have been co-funded since the launch of the project, including 206 social ratings and 125 financial ratings. In that sense, the objective of increasing demand at the MFI level for microfinance ratings has been achieved, particularly with regard to social ratings.

The RI has also been active in promoting the concept of microfinance ratings via regular participation in relevant international conferences, the organization of workshops and the development/dissemination of promotional tools (newsletters, flyers and website).

Finally, the RI has contributed towards generating market information via the regular publication of studies focused on microfinance ratings, including the "Rating Market Review" - which provides a general overview of the microfinance rating market as well as an analysis of its regional maturity.

After more than three years of successful activity, the RI  is now entering a new  second/exit phase which will last 2 years (2012-2013) and will be focused on ensuring the sustainability of the microfinance rating market, notably (but not exclusively) by helping to guide the RFR towards general market recognition and acceptance.


The exit phase of the Rating Initiative will be guided by a new strategic orientation focused on contributing towards the development of a sustainable rating market and will be driven by the following six key objectives:

  1. Terminate the MFI rating co-funding scheme from the first phase;
  2. Support the four specialised rating agencies in the finalisation of the initial development of the RFR rating      product and encourage them to use it as their core rating product;
  3. Increase homogeneity among RFR methodologies and communicate a coherent message to the industry;
  4. Strengthen demand for ratings through awareness-raising at investor level;
  5. Engage with the established global and regional bodies in order to convince them to continue the communication on rating issues after the end of the first phase of the Rating Initiative;
  6. Continue being (for a limited amount of time) a platform through which interested funders can coordinate their activities in support of social ratings.

As mentioned above, the Rating Initiative will continue its efforts to raise awareness on microfinance ratings at all levels but will begin to place more emphasis on mobilising investor and donor interest for these services. Furthermore, as demonstrated by the closure of the co-funding scheme and the launch of the RFR, the RI has decided to focus on contributing towards the qualitative and sustainable development of the rating market.

The exit phase of the Rating Initiative is scheduled to take place over two years (2012-2013). The transition from the first phase of the project to the exit phase will take place from December 2011 – March 2012. Exit phase activities will be officially launched in March 2012.


[1] Subsidies for financial ratings were phased out in April 2011.


Appui au développement autonome Le Forum d'African Microfinance Transparency Direction de la Coopération du ministère des Affaires étrangères Microfinance Initiative Liechtenstein Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Oxfam Novib Coopération Internationale BlueOrchard Microfinance Investment Managers responsAbility Social Performance Task Force Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank Interchurch organisation for development cooperation