The Foundation publishes its 2018 Integrated Annual Report

© Didier Gentilhomme

The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation publishes its 2018 Integrated Report, which describes the highlights, key figures and projects developed with its partners. 2018 was an important year for the Foundation. It marked the Foundation’s 10th anniversary with several commemorative events celebrated alongside its partners and founders, Crédit Agricole and Professor Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Grameen Trust. Ten years later, the Foundation is positioning itself as a recognized player in the inclusive finance sector and is strengthening its action to contribute to the fight against poverty.

2018 was also a year of growth. As at 31 December 2018, the Foundation managed €73 million in assets and supported more than 70 partners in 34 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. At the heart of its objectives, the Foundation promotes female entrepreneurship and rural economies through the institutions it supports: 75% of microcredit beneficiaries are women and 80% live in rural areas.

2018 was also a strong year for partnerships. Several projects have been launched with the Crédit Agricole Group: the development of cooperation schemes with Group entities abroad, the launch of the FIR, the Group’s first microfinance fund, and the implementation of “Banquier solidaire”, a skills volunteering programme open to all Group employees on behalf of the Foundation’s partners.

2018 was also the year of preparation of the Foundation’s Strategic Plan 2019-2022, which confirms the Foundation’s commitment to strengthening the microfinance sector, developing rural economies and promoting impact finance.

To download the 2018 Integrated Report, click here.


The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation publishes its Strategic Plan 2019-2022

© Didier Gentilhomme

The publication of the Strategic plan 2019-2022 anchors the Foundation’s positioning around three priority areas: reinforce our expertise and offer in favour of the microfinance sector, strengthen resilience in rural economies and promote social impact in the financial sector.

Created in 2008 by the joint initiative of the directors of Crédit Agricole S.A. and the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Grameen Trust, Professor Muhammad Yunus, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation is committed to promoting microfinance and socially responsible entrepreneurship. With more than €200 million in financing granted in loans and investments, a presence in more than 40 countries and a network of more than 100 partners supported since its inception, the Foundation represents for the Crédit Agricole Group a unique specialist centre in the field of inclusive finance in emerging countries.

Over the last ten years, the Foundation has established a solid experience in financing microfinance institutions and promoting rural economic development. It has developed several projects with the Crédit Agricole Group’s entities and Regional Banks: with cooperation schemes with the Group’s entities abroad, a skills volunteering programme and a social impact investment fund, the Foundation has been able to strengthen its action and increase its impact.

In order to address the challenges ahead and make a positive contribution, the Strategic Plan 2019-2022 has been developed over the course of 2018 by the Foundation’s team with guidance from the Board and consultation of partners and external stakeholders. The three pillars proposed in the Strategic plan (accompany MFIs, strengthen the resilience of rural economies and promote a social performance perspective in the financial sector) build on the Foundation’s strengths and focus on strategic axes that reinforce the Foundation’s positioning, permit to scale its impact and help balance the economic model.

To download the strategic plan 2019-2022, please click here.


Solidarity Bankers missions in Senegal Cambodia and Kenya

© Philippe Lissac

Solidarity Bankers is a new type of overseas volunteering mission offered to the Group’s employees on behalf of microfinance institutions or social impact companies, partners of the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation. Three missions are to be filled: a “digital” mission in Senegal, a “human ressources / management” mission in Cambodia and a “strategy” mission in Kenya.

Missions to be filled

A “digital” mission for Kossam in Senegal is planned for June-July 2019. Kossam is a social enterprise, whose mission is to develop and anchor an inclusive and sustainable dairy sector around Richard Toll in northern Senegal. To do so, ossam collects milk from 450 local breeders, provides them with market services as well as advice and training. The Solidarity Banker will be responsible for supporting Kossam in the deployment of a “commcare collection” digital application.

A “Human ressources / management” mission is planned for the second quarter of 2019 to support the Phare Circus (PPSE) in Cambodia. PPSE provides employment opportunities for Cambodian artists and sustains the arts sector in the country. PPSE has now entered a growth phase and requires strengthening some aspects of its management, including strategic, financial and human resources management. The Solidarity Banker will be responsible for proposing monitoring tools and making recommendations on the organisational structure.

A “strategy” mission for ACRE Africa in Kenya will take place during the second / third quarter of 2019. Based in Kenya but also present in Tanzania and Rwanda, ACRE Africa provides crop insurance services to smallholders farmers. ACRE decided in 2018 to diversify its activities to offer consulting services and to change its business model from a B-to-C to a B-to-B model. The Solidarity Banker will be responsible for analysing the organisation’s new strategy and evaluating its business model.

How to apply?

Go to the CA Solidaires website “Find a project”
Type in the keyword serach : “Fondation Grameen”. All the missions available will be displayed !
Click on the offer you are interested in to have all the information in order to apply.
For additional information:

Inclusive finance at Harvard Business School

By Hélène Keraudren Baube, Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation

© Harvard Business School

Led by Harvard Business School and ACCION, the Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance Program is a 5-day intensive course designed to reflect on the progress and challenges of the sector. This year, Hélène Keraudren-Baube, Chief Financial Officer at the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, had the opportunity to participate thanks to a scholarship granted by InFiNe Luxembourg. Here is a spotlight on this week in immersion.

We were about sixty participants, from all continents and especially from various backgrounds: microfinance practitioners, investors and donors, financial service providers, regulators… The programme is structured around a series of case studies and guided discussions, with a strong emphasis on digital finance – a theme that has become essential for microfinance institutions today.

Day 1: Financial inclusion in question

Our first working session aimed to introduce the theme of financial inclusion with case studies on public-private partnerships led by Mastercard in South Africa and Nigeria. Mastercard introduced its cards into government programs to, in the South African case, help dematerialize the payment of government benefits, and in the Nigerian case, provide identity documents to people who did not have them. However, in South Africa, most customers still prefer cash and find no real benefit in having a card. In Nigeria, very few people sought to obtain identity cards, as the process of obtaining them was quite cumbersome and tedious. This leads us to the conclusion that pushing technology does not lead to financial inclusion: for inclusion to be effective, solutions must be tailored to end-users.

Day 2: Changes in the microfinance sector

Our second day of work focused on the changes we are seeing in the traditional microfinance sector. In some markets, such as Peru, we are witnessing a shift towards mergers and acquisitions between microfinance institutions. On others, like Bolivia, we see microfinance institutions that have to adapt to regulatory changes. More recently, we see the arrival of digitization as a new phenomenon to which MFIs must adapt: how does technology affect internal processes, product distribution, payments, credit scoring? An interesting discussion that also raised other questions: Are the client’s needs always a priority? Is interaction with the customer preserved?

Day 3: What are the prospects for fintechs?

We continued our training with another series of cases on the arrival of Fintechs in the landscape. We studied an Indian system, where mobile payment providers are growing as long as they have replaced cash in many daily transactions. The corollary is that, in doing so, these operators collect large amounts of data on their customers, leading us to question ourselves: if the creation of a digital fingerprint may seem a good thing, how can we ensure responsible use and processing of customer data? In China, we examined a peer-to-peer platform created to enable individuals to finance micro-entrepreneurs. The platform has managed to grow very quickly and reach millions of people, going much further than its initial model. How can such platforms, which have multiplied in China in recent years, be regulated?

Fintechs therefore appear to be disrupters of inclusive finance, because they create new opportunities: they change the ecosystem and are able to evolve quickly. But if we want Fintechs to be part of financial inclusion, we must put customers at the centre of our concerns: how to protect them, provide them with appropriate products and services and ensure real inclusion, beyond the gender gap or the urban/rural divide?

Hélène Keraudren Baube’s detailed report is available on the InFiNe Luxembourg website.

[Webinar] What are the returns for microfinance?

© Didier Gentilhomme

On April 9, Philippe Guichandut, Head of Inclusive Finance Development at the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, participated in the webinar organised by Convergences and FinDev Gateway. The objective of this webinar was to reflect on the profitability of microfinance. The topics discussed were as follows: Why invest in microfinance? Between financial profitability and social performance, what balance? How to develop an economic model to reconcile double profitability? Feedback on Advans International’s experience

Although profitability is an indispensable requirement, this notion is nevertheless complex to grasp in a sector like microfinance whose purpose is to have a social impact. Thus, should microfinance necessarily be profitable? If so, can it be done in a socially responsible way? Can it remain true to its aspirations and contribute, through financial inclusion, to lifting 1.7 billion people out of poverty without access to banking services around the world? Between reasonable interest rates and sufficient profitability, what balance for microfinance institutions? What resources to finance the development of the microfinance sector?

This is what the various invited speakers tried to answer. Alongside Philippe Guichandut, Gabriela Erice Garcia, Senior Microfinance Officer at the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) and Frédéric Mille, Investment Director at Advans International, participated to the debated.


The Foundation and the EIB join forces to promote microfinance in Africa


On April 1, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and the European Investment Bank (EIB) organised, in Paris, a round table debate on the subjectf of the development of rural economies and the strengthening of microfinance in Africa by the EIB. The representatives of both institutions stated a common objective: the promotion of a more sustainable and inclusive economy.

Following the EIB’s grant to the Foundation of a EUR 12 million loan equivalent in CFA francs to support microfinance in West Africa, this round table was also an opportunity to discuss the challenges related to the development of rural areas in Africa. Several guests gathered to discuss rural microfinance, agriculture, gender and climate change.

For the Foundation, the acknowledgement of its expertise in microfinance

As Jérôme Brunel, Director of the Foundation and Secretary General of Crédit Agricole S.A., pointed out in his opening speech, the Foundation has lent more than four times its capital over the past ten years, i.e. €200 million in financing, in over 30 countries and has supported over 100 partners since 2008. At the end of 2018, the Foundation had an outstanding portfolio of €76 million and supported 75 partners in 35 countries. After excellent results in 2018, this new funding will allow the Foundation to extend its action in Africa in the field of microfinance and support to social entrepreneurship. “With this funding to the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, the European Investment Bank confirms its commitment to financial inclusion in West Africa alongside a committed player that has just celebrated its 10th anniversary,” stated Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President.

Mamadou Lamine Gueye, Managing Director of Caurie Microfinance, a Senegalese microfinance institution partner of the Foundation and beneficiary of the EIB funding, and Soukeyna Ndiaye Bâ, Managing Director of the INAFI International Foundation and a Board member of the Foundation, for their part, spoke of the importance of intermediaries such as the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, whose positioning enables small microfinance institutions to be funded, which otherwise would not be as they are not eligible for funding from large donors. Both agreed to recognize the role of the Foundation and other donors in the development of the African microfinance sector, hence providing opportunities for African youth.

Two institutions have already benefited from the loan granted by the EIB to the Foundation: Caurie Microfinance, whose mission is the social and economic empowerment of poor microentrepreneurs in Senegal, mainly women; and PAMF BF, which offers microloans to finance agricultural and economic activities such as market gardening or cereal production in Burkina Faso. These two institutions alone represent over 110,000 active borrowers, 79.87% of them women.

Africa remains a priority target for the Foundation

Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for around 30% of the Foundation’s funding. It focuses its action in favour of rural populations, with the objective of strengthening the resilience of the agricultural sector. “The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation is now present in a dozen African countries,” stated Jean-Marie Sander, President of the Foundation. For Eric Campos, Managing Director of the Foundation, “work on agriculture means to work on the future of Africa. We must free the development of products suited to the rural world: today, agriculture represents 60% of the workforce of the continent. Farmers represent only 3% of the banks’s clients!”

In line with the action undertaken by the Foundation, microfinance is a fundamental pillar for value creation in Africa. This is also what two of our speakers, Flora Helard and Mathilde Thonon, students at Sciences Po Paris and co-founders of In-Venture, found out during their one-year voyage accross West Africa and South-East Asia where they travelled to meet those who find financial solutions to the social and environmental problems of their community. In particular, they met with two MFIs partner of the Foundation in Benin: RENACA and ACFB. Their enthusiasm reflects the performance of a dynamic sector that attracts tomorrow’s young entrepreneurs.

The Foundation makes five new investments in Africa

© Didier Gentilhomme

During the first quarter of 2019, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation stepped up its presence with its African partners with the granting of five new financings, notably in the form of senior loans. At the end of March 2019, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation had 40 partners located in sub-Saharan Africa, which represents 42% of the Foundation’s commitments at the end of the first quarter.

As part of the African Facility programme, it has provided a loan in local currency equivalent to € 800,000 to Eclof Kenya, a microfinance institution that provides financial and non-financial services to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the country. while actively promoting savings. To date, the institution that finances 58% of women, has over 30,000 clients, 60% of them located in rural areas.

Also in East Africa, the Foundation has granted a new loan in local currency equivalent to €1 million to UGAFODE, a Ugandan microfinance institution whose main mission is to offer its clients affordable primary financial services. The institution currently has 17,300 clients, of whom almost 20% are women and about 80% are in rural areas.

In West Africa, the Foundation has granted a new loan to Togolese microfinance institution Coopec Sifa for a total amount in local currency equivalent to € 305,000. Coopec Sifa, which is funded under the African Facility programme, is a microfinance institution that offers small loans to its nearly 38,000 clients, mostly women (86%) in the north of the country.

In addition, ACEP Burkina has also been granted a new loan equivalent to €2.3 million in CFA francs. This microfinance institution, a partner of the Foundation since 2016, specialises in financing microenterprises and very small businesses in urban centers and near suburbs. It currently has 12,300 clients, 20% of whom are women.

Finally, in Senegal, the Foundation has strengthened its partnership with Laiterie du Berger, of which it has been a shareholder since 2010, with the granting of a loan in the form of ashareholders’ current account, for an amount in CFA francs equivalent to €229 000. Laiterie du Berger is a social company that collects milk from Fulani herders, in the North of the country, and transforms it into yogurts and other dairy products that are sold under the brand Dolima.


The EIB grants a €12 million loan to the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation


The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation received a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) of €12M equivalent in CFA Francs to support the development of microfinance in Western Africa. This financing operation in local currency is a true recognition for the Foundation that will be able to increase its presence in Africa.

The EIB, an operator committed to microfinance

The EIB has a long experience in the development of microfinance. With more than €1.2 billion implicated since the first microfinance operations in 1992, the EIB supports microfinance institutions as well as other actors in this field who promote inclusive and responsible finance. As part of the Cotonou Agreement signed in 2000 between the European Union and the ACP countries (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific), the EIB launched an investment facility to promote the private sector and fight poverty. Within the framework of this program, a loan a loan of €12M equivalent in CFA Francs was granted to the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation.

The Foundation, an industry expert

Investor, financier, technical assistance coordinator and fund advisor, the Foundation has supported microfinance and social business institutions around the world for 10 years. Ten years later, more than 200 million euros in funding, a presence in thirty countries and more than 100 partners supported from the start. In 2018, € 73 million in outstandings were monitored by the Foundation and 75 partners were supported in 35 countries. After its good results in 2018, this new funding will allow the Foundation to expand its action in Africa around microfinance and support for social entrepreneurship.

With more than 30% of funding in sub-Saharan Africa, the Foundation is positioning itself as an actor committed to the fight against poverty in the continent. It directs its action towards rural populations to support financial inclusion and strengthen the resilience of the agricultural sector. This alliance between the EIB and the Foundation meets a common objective: to finance and promote a more sustainable and inclusive economy, in line with the Global Development Agenda by 2030. By providing this funding in CFA francs, the EIB allows the Foundation to continue supporting its partners in West Africa with loans in local currency.

Already promising projects

Two institutions will already benefit from this joint support: CAURIE MICROFINANCE, in Senegal, which comes to contribute in a sustainable way to the social and economic empowerment of poor micro-entrepreneurs, mainly women, PAM BF, in Burkina Faso which grants microcredits to finance agricultural and economic activities, such as market gardening or cereal production. These two institutions together have close to 100,000 active borrowers.

“With this funding, the European Investment Bank confirms its commitment to financial inclusion in West Africa alongside a committed player who has just celebrated its 10 years of existence,” said Ambroise Fayolle , Vice-President of the EIB. “The ability to finance this operation in local currency is a key element in order to be able to reach the most vulnerable populations without putting the exchange risk on microfinance institutions. We particularly support the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation on its approach in favor of “employment of women. These are the values ​​carried by Europe that we support today.”

“The EIB loan allows us to leverage the action of the Foundation which concentrates more than a third of its funding in sub-Saharan Africa and is present in a dozen African countries. Africa will continue to be a priority target for the Foundation which will concentrate more than 30% of its funding in the continent by 2022. Thank you to the EIB for being part of the human and entrepreneurial adventure that Crédit Agricole and Professor Yunus started 10 years ago. ” , said Jean-Marie Sander, President of the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation.