A new logistical support/purchasing mission in favor of Oshun Senegal is to be filled. The mission will last 10 days, including 4 remote and 6 field days in France and Senegal from June 2021, first remotely from France and then on the ground in Senegal if health conditions allow it.
Solidarity Bankers is a skills volunteering programme launched by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and Crédit Agricole S.A., open to all Crédit Agricole Group employees. The objective is twofold: on the one hand, to provide technical assistance to microfinance institutions and social impact enterprises financed by the Foundation, and on the other hand, to value the skills of Group employees who want to invest themselves in projects with strong social impact. The missions can be conducted during the working time of the Solidarity Banker (sponsorship by the employer of the Solidarity Banker) AND / OR during the holidays (volunteering).
Founded in March 2018, Oshun is a social enterprise that offers inclusive solutions, particularly by way of solar-powered water kiosks, allowing the most sensitive populations an access to clean water while fostering the establishment of a local community and virtuous ecosystem. Oshun Senegal is completing a process of administrative and HR structuring and wishes to strengthen its support functions, especially in logistics and purchasing.
The selected Crédit Agricole expert will support Oshun from June 2021 in setting up procedures to simplify and secure logistics, purchasing and supply management and to strengthen the staff concerned. The Solidarity Banker must have a solid experience in logistics and purchasing management and, ideally, a training and coaching experience in the purchasing field.
Jean-Marie Sander, Chairman of the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation until March 2021 and
Raphaël Appert, Chairman, Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, as of March 2021 and Vice-Chairman of Crédit Agricole SA and
Fédération Nationale du Crédit Agricole [National Federation of Crédit Agricole]
Just over 30 years ago, Michel Serres shared with us the need for a «Natural Contract» similar to the «Social Contract» which called for a reconciliation between man, nature and the living. 2020 was a terrible year for fragile economies.
The sound health of the Foundation, which has adapted to the economic effects of this crisis throughout the year, is not a mirror image of the dramas that have played out and are still playing out in the territories of our partners, where social shock absorbers are almost non-existent. Faced with the pandemic and its impact on daily life, family solidarity was often the rare relief very low-income populations could rely on.
Although its anthropocentric origin has yet to be demonstrated, this health crisis beckons us to become aware that we are part of nature, reminds us of our humility in the face of the natural order, and entrusts us with the task of not only developing but also of maintaining humanity.
The economic effects of the pandemic have affected the whole world but more particularly vulnerable populations: according to World Bank ﬁgures, 150 million people could be pushed rapidly into extreme poverty. For our part, we will avoid complacency about a probable ability to regain a semblance of economic growth, which we all know will not reach the most fragile populations quickly and evenly.
In this economic recovery, the Foundation will mobilise all its efforts in 2021, as there is still much to be done to try and change the mechanism that creates inequalities in the face of tragedy. We shall to that end have to rely on our professionalism, our determination and the values that guide our daily action.
It was with this ambition that we created the Foundation with Professor Yunus in 2008. It is still with this same ambition that we will continue to commit ourselves in the months to come.
The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation publishes its 2020 Integrated Report which traces the highlights and key figures of this year marked by the health and economic crisis linked to Covid-19. Thanks to close monitoring and collaboration with its partners and other players in the inclusive finance sector, the Foundation ended the year with solid results.
As of December 31, 2020, the Foundation followed an outstanding portfolio to €81.2 million in favour of 75 microfinance institutions and 12 social enterprises in 39 countries. Women entrepreneurship and the development of rural economies remain at the heart of the Foundation’s action: 73% of the 7.3 million beneficiaries of the institutions supported are women and 85% live in rural areas.
Since the beginning of the crisis, the Foundation has carried out surveys of the organisations supported to understand the impact of the crisis and better meet their needs. The Foundation also initiated a global coordination with other actors around the key principles to protect microfinance institutions and their clients in the face of the crisis. To date, 30 donors, investors and platforms have signed the engagement of the Coalition.
Thanks to this permanent dialogue with its partners and peers, the Foundation has implemented several measures adapted to support the sector. It has thus granted rollovers to 29 partners, mainly microfinance institutions, for a total amount of €9.4 million. In 2020, the Foundation also supported the organisations through 93 technical assistance missions, on priority topics such as business continuity plans but also on issues such as digitisation which is essential for the resumption of their activities.
The Foundation was able to count on the support of its funders to strengthen its action in 2020. It obtained funding from Proparco, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Crédit Agricole CIB to establish a Covid-19 envelope and support the economic recovery of its partners.
In 2020, the Foundation also worked alongside the Crédit Agricole Group. Via a new cooperation scheme with Crédit Agricole Romania, new funding granted thought the FIR –A CA’s microfinance fund–, and a skills volunteering programme called Solidarity Bankers, the Foundation and Crédit Agricole have stepped up their actions for financial inclusion of the most vulnerable populations. A mission that will remain a priority during 2021 which represents a year of recovery.
Soukeyna Ndiaye Bâ has been a Director of the Foundation’s Board since its creation. Engaged in the promotion of women entrepreneurs for more than 20 years, she is also Executive Director of INAFI (International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions) a global network of organisations that support microfinance programmes. Abdul Hai Khan is a Foundation’s Director and the Managing Director of Grameen Trust. He is also Board member of diferent microfinance and social business organisations in Australia, Bangladesh, China, France, India, Kosovo, Italy, USA and Yemen.
1/ Directors of the Foundation, you are also both international experts and microfinance practitioners. Can you share with us your analysis of the crisis and more particularly on the territories that you know well?
Soukeyna Ndiaye Bâ: In Africa, the current toll is close to 100,000 deaths and more than 3.7 million people infected, but these figures do not reflect the reality in the continent because there is no mass screening due to a lack of resources. Because of restrictions and border closures to contain the pandemic, the economic crisis has not spared the African continent. In this context, small-scale entrepreneurs, smallholder farmers and informal sector workers are directly afected. On the front line: women, both in rural and urban areas, who are very active in the informal sector. In Senegal, for example, about 94% of women entrepreneurs operate in the informal sector. In rural areas, in addition to the gravity of the economic situation, the already alarming health precariousness and dificulty in accessing healthcare may worsen.
Abdul Hai Khan: Current death toll in Asia is approximately 417,000, while the number of infected cases stands at more than 26 million. Schools in East Asia and the Pacific have been completely closed for more than 25 million children for almost an entire year. Covid-19 has slowed growth in East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) as it has significantly reduced economic activity, including tourism and trade. Growth in the AEP region, excluding China, is forecast to slow to 1.3% in 2020 from 4.7% in 2019. Millions of households have been afected by the loss of jobs and income (including remittances), while they still have to cover basic expenses or service debt. Consequently, the percentage of poor people has increased.
2/ How do microfinance and social business mitigate the efects of the economic crisis?
AHK: By improving access to essential services, microfinance institutions and social businesses strengthen the resilience of low-income populations, including small-scale entrepreneurs from the formal and informal sectors and smallholder farmers. They are therefore essential to protect the most vulnerable populations, severely afected by the efects of the economic and health crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic. To cope with this pandemic, many microfinance institutions have innovated and increased their support to their clients. For example, they have restructured loans to better support the most afected clients and accelerated their digital transformation, by introducing or improving cashless transactions through mobile banking channels and by creating virtual branches.
3/ What is the outlook for the years to come?
AHK: The magnitude of the damage that Covid-19 pandemic has brought in the world is huge. However, it ofers us a unique opportunity to improve, or even redefine, our economic structures by relaying on social and environmental consciousness. We should not call it a ‘recovery’ programme but a ‘reconstruction’ programme. In this comprehensive reconstruction plan, social entrepreneurship can play an essential role, as it can be a lever to transform unemployed people into entrepreneurs. Financial inclusion can help economic recovery go hand in hand with social development.
SB: The world is threatened with recession and food and social crisis. Building the «after Covid» world must therefore be multi-sectoral and focused on innovation. We must learn from the problems encountered during this crisis: better assess and anticipate risks, strengthen our socio-economic models and rethink our public policies to better protect the most vulnerable populations. Women entrepreneurs will have a key role to play in boosting the economy. Supporting female entrepreneurship will be a lever for women empowerment and the development of rural and urban economies. Digital will be a major tool to encourage entrepreneurship, modernise, develop and innovate.