Face to Face with our Members: François Legac, Partnership Manager, SOS Faim Luxembourg

Face to Face with our Members: François Legac, Partnership Manager, SOS Faim Luxembourg

An interview with François Legac, SOS Faim Luxembourg


François Legac joined SOS Faim in 2005 where he is in charge of partnerships with local organisations.

What are your current responsibilities and what is a working day at SOS Faim like?

At present I am responsible for partnerships in Ethiopia. I also deal with financing issues in Luxembourg. As the SOS Faim team is rather small, I work on several projects at the same time. My main task is to monitor the projects which SOS Faim is running in Ethiopia with 3 partners. I split my working time between field-work and desk-work at the SOS Faim office in Schifflange. I go on assignments of around ten days about 4 times a year. In Luxembourg, my work consists above all in analysis, writing notes and memos and creating monitoring tools for the partners. For example, I recently worked on the implementation of an Excel management tool for a producers’ co-operative in Ethiopia. SOS Faim helped the partner identify its management needs and then helped it draw up specifications to implement a management system.

How is SOS Faim involved in inclusive finance?

In the inclusive finance sector, SOS Faim works on two aspects of microfinance: support for farmers’ organisations and support for Microfinance Institutions (MFIs). In practice, SOS Faim helps the MFIs to identify their needs and accompanies them in their development. For example, a MFI wants to develop a savings product. SOS Faim defines the MFI’s needs and then identifies the expert who will help to set up the product.

What is your key interest in inclusive finance?

The pioneering aspect of microfinance is very interesting. Even though the microfinance sector has developed considerably in the last 10-15 years and is much more structured, its penetration remains weak in certain countries and for certain target groups, such as for example small farmers. Their savings and credit needs are far from being satisfied.

The double or even triple mission of microfinance is also attractive because it has contributed to popularising the idea of linking the desire for economic profitability with a desire to analyse the social impact. We speak of a triple mission because now there is also a desire to take into account the environmental aspects of economic activities financed by microfinance.

For you Inclusive finance is a passion, job or learning experience?

Microfinance has progressed significantly, in particular with the development of its digital aspect. I have learnt a lot during these 15 last years and microfinance is a good learning tool. It’s also my professional sector. SOS Faim intervenes in zones which have great needs. The growth of inclusive finance has enabled processes to evolve in populations which otherwise would not have had the chance to develop their activities. It’s really challenging and interesting.

What is the biggest project you have handled for the moment?

SOS Faim has just started a 7 year project in Mali and Burkina Faso, AGRI +, financed by the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg. Its aim is to provide a solution for the lack of access to finance for small family undertakings.

This project consists, on the one hand, of training for producers’ organisations to improve their knowledge of methods of finance, and on the other hand, the development of two financing tools: a credit line and a guarantee fund. The aim is to incite the banks and MFIs to work with small producers and dialogue with them. The MFIs’ problem is also to provide finance for small producers over longer periods, from 2 -3 years.

In this project, I am specifically responsible for implementing the financial tools.