Meet the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation at the Convergences 3Zero World Forum

Since its creation in 2008, the Global Forum has already brought together more than 50,000 participants from all sectors and from all over the world. It calls on all actors of change to come together: companies and SSE actors, non-profit organisations, public bodies, financial actors, the scientific and innovation sector, citizen and youth networks and the media…

Its programming is the result of collaborative work and reflects multiple areas of expertise: environmental action, impact finance, the fight against inequalities, youth mobilisation, international solidarity. The Forum is both a meeting place and a space where committed young people come to challenge decision-makers from all sides!

Today the Forum strongly reaffirms its ambition: only the reconciliation of social, economic and environmental issues will make it possible to deal with the crises we are going through. Through around forty conferences and events, multiple players will share their expertise and best practices!

Among these players, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation will participate on September 5th during a session on “What resilience of impact finance in the face of exogenous shocks? – Launch of the 2022 Impact Finance Barometer” with Philippe Guichandut, Head of Inclusive Finance Development.

To find out about the Convergences Forum 2022 programme and to register, click here.

The Foundation is pursuing its activity in Eastern Europe

The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation granted three new loans to its partners in Eastern Europe. The Foundation’s portfolio amounts to 14.2 million euros in this region where it is present in six countries with nine partners.

In Montenegro, the Foundation granted a new loan to the microfinance institution Monte Credit for an amount of €600,000. Founded in 2005, Monte Credit is a microfinance institution whose mission is to empower rural families to create income-generating activities and jobs that unlock economic potential for communities to thrive. The institution currently has more than 4,000 clients, 54% of whom are women and 51% of whom are rural clients.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Foundation granted a new loan to the microfinance institution Mikra for an amount of €1.9 million. Mikra is a microfinance institution that began operations in 1993. Its mission is to provide access to financial services in a responsible manner to the poorest but economically active population of the country, mainly women. The institution offers access to affordable and quality financial and support services in order to reduce poverty and encourage entrepreneurship. The institution serves nearly 15,000 clients, 68% of whom are women and 58% of of whom clients in rural areas.

Finally, in Moldova, the microfinance institution Microinvest was granted a new loan for an amount of €1.2 million. Microinvest, a partner of the Foundation since 2020, provides microloans and business start-up assistance to small entrepreneurs in many regions of the country. 70% of the institution’s portfolio corresponds to loans granted to private entrepreneurs living in the rural areas of this country landlocked between Ukraine and Romania. To date, Microinvest has around 37,000 clients, 41% of whom are women.

More information about our partners here

The Foundation grants a new loan in Kyrgyzstan

The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation pursues its funding in Central Asia with a new loan granted to a microfinance institution located in Kyrgyzstan where the Foundation has three partners.

The Foundation thus granted a new loan to the microfinance institution Salym Finance for an amount in local currency equivalent to €860,000. Salym Finance is a microfinance institution whose objective is to support, develop and improve the living conditions of the population by creating favourable financial conditions for economic development. The new loan granted by the Foundation will enable Salym to strengthen its impact by mainly supporting people with limited incomes who come from rural areas or urban peripheries. The institution offers different products to its clients: housing loans, consumer loans, agricultural loans and business loans.

To this day, Salym Finance has over 17 000 clients, 53% of whom are women and 71% of whom live in rural areas.

It should be noted that this funding was finalised during the first quarter of 2022, shortly before the start of the Ukrainian conflict.

More information about our partners here

Sumac, partner of the Foundation, wins 4 awards at Think Business Banking Awards 2022

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Sumac Microfinance Bank, partner of the Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation, was feted at the Think Business Banking Awards 2022 with four different Awards, a sure message of the Bank’s steady growth in the last few years.

Sumac emerged the Winner in Agriculture & Livestock Financing [Microfinance banking sector], for a third time, having won it in 2019 and 2021. The Bank was also declared the 2nd Runners Up, Best Microfinance Bank in Kenya, which is the first time this Award has been extended to Sumac. There was also two more awards in the Most Efficient Microfinance Bank category and the Fastest Growing Microfinance Bank in Kenya category. Sumac emerged second in both of the two categories.

We are absolutely delighted by these Awards,” said Eva Wambui Muchina, the bank’s Business Development Manager, whilst receiving the Awards. “This shows the confidence that our clients have bestowed opon us. From here, we can only get better each day as we improve our service delivery to our clients. We dedicate this Award to all our Shareholders, the Board of Directors, Management and Staff and most importantly, our clients who have made us number one. We Thank you all.

Over the years, Sumac Microfinance Bank Ltd has developed a broad range of product offerings which include various accounts, loan products, Forex, Trade Finance and Bancassurance. In 2018, Sumac was Awarded at the Annual Think Business Banking Awards as the 2nd Fastest-Growing Microfinance Bank in Kenya.

In 2019 Sumac Microfinance Bank Ltd was recognized at the same Awards as the top Microfinance Bank in Agriculture and Livestock Financing; while in 2021, Sumac was recognized as the Most Efficient Microfinance Bank in the Country, while still toping in Agriculture and Livestock Financing.

Further information on Sumac here.

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Source : SUMAC website

The Foundation grants four new loans in sub-Saharan Africa

During the first half of 2022, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation continued its investments by granting four new loans in sub-Saharan Africa, a region in which it has 40 partners, which corresponds to 53% of the total of partners financed.

In Burkina Faso, the Foundation granted a new loan to ACFIME for an amount in local currency equivalent to 457 000 euros. Founded in 1992, ACFIME (Community Agency for the Financing of Micro Enterprises) is a microfinance institution whose vocation is to offer financial and non-financial services adapted to promoters of micro and small enterprises in urban and rural areas, in particular women, in order to improve their economic and social well-being. ACFIME contributes to filling the gap not covered by the large MFIs that operate throughout the country. To date, the institution, which manages a portfolio of 2.3 million euros, has more than 23 000 clients, 90% of whom are women. Only 9.4% of its customers are located in rural areas.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Foundation is continuing its support for the microfinance institution PAIDEK with the granting of a new loan for an amount in USD equivalent to 550 000 euros. PAIDEK is a microfinance institution present mainly in the Kivu region where it operates in both rural and urban areas. The institution participates, through its activity, in the revitalization of the economy, the regression of poverty and the establishment of an economic fabric that can constitute a solid basis for the development of the country. To date, PAIDEK has nearly 16,000 customers, mainly in urban areas, 55% of these customers are women.

In Niger, the Foundation is also continuing its support for the microfinance institution ACEP NE, a partner since 2019, with a new loan in local currency for an amount equivalent to 762 000 euros. ACEP NE is a microfinance institution created in 2012 that manages loans and savings products for urban and peri-urban micro and small businesses rejected by the traditional banking system. ACEP is committed to contributing to the economic development of Niger by promoting the development of small local entrepreneurs. To date, the institution has nearly 4 000 active borrowers, 30% of whom are women and 71% in rural areas.

Finally, in Zambia, the Foundation granted a new loan to the microfinance institution MLF Zambia for an amount in local currency equivalent to 500 000 euros. Established in 2008, MicroLoan Zambia Foundation is a non-profit microfinance institution. Its main activity is to provide low-income women living in the predominantly rural areas of the Eastern, Southern and Central Provinces of Zambia with affordable commercial loans and training programmes. As of June 2022, the institution has 33,948 clients, all of whom are women living in rural areas.

More information about our partners here

The Foundation grants a first loan to Vision Fund Senegal

The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation is continuing to invest in West Africa with a first loan in local currency equivalent to one million euros granted to the microfinance institution Vision Fund Senegal, over a three-year period.

Vision Fund Senegal is a microfinance institution established by World Vision International and whose mission is to facilitate rural and vulnerable populations access to a conventional financial system, to local financial services, the opportunity to launch or develop income-generating activities and, in general, the possibility of improving their living conditions. Vision Fund Senegal primarily targets women microentrepreneurs, using the group lending methodology. To date, the institution has nearly 40,000 clients, 95% of whom are women and 86% of whom live in rural areas, and manages a portfolio of €9 million.

For more information on the organisations supported by the Foundation, click here.

The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation becomes a member of the MFC (Microfinance Center)

In May 2022, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation became a member of the MFC (Microfinance Center).

The MFC is a social finance network that promotes fairness, inclusion, equality and responsible service. This netork, located in Poland, unites over 100 organisations across 36 countries of Europe, Central Asia, who together deliver responsible microfinance services to almost 2,000,000 low-income clients.

The MFC is also a broad and diverse community of organisations interested in and practicing sustainable social finance. ​Together with its members – microfinance, financial cooperative systems, social finance banks, social investors, academic institutions, national and international support organizations and networks – it seeks to make financial services work effectively for people, communities and the planet by embracing sustainability good practices and standards, sharing knowledge, advocacy and networking in the region of Europe and Central Asia.

On the 29th and 30th of June 2022, the MFC held its 24th Annual Conference to explore the microfinance investment landscape and opportunities, important sector updates, and the latest approaches to gender, green finance, technological challenges and financial inclusion of refugees and migrants. The event welcomed more than 400 microfinance practitioners, policy makers, experts, investors, IT providers, donors, social finance enthusiasts from 40 countries, including representatives of the Foundation.

With this partnership, the Foundation aims to develop new synergies and better impact the social economy and impact investments, particularly in the regions of Eastern Europe and Central Asia where the MFC operates through its network of partners.

For more information about the MFC, click here.

The Foundation grants a first loan to the microfinance institution Baobab in Burkina

The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation continues to fund in West Africa with a first loan in local currency equivalent to 3.05 million euros granted to the microfinance institution Baobab in Burkina Faso.

Baobab is a financial services group present in eight countries on the African continent, including Burkina Faso, and in one province of China. Through its subsidiaries, Baobab provides financial services to half a million microentrepreneurs and small businesses, thus allowing access to financing to people who are not currently supported by traditional banks. Its product range includes microloans, savings solutions, transaction and day-to-day banking services as well as innovative banking products such as mobile payments, buy now, pay later options and digital nano-loans.

To date, Baobab Burkina Faso has nearly 13,000 borrowers, 41% of whom are women.

For more information on the organisations supported by the Foundation, click here.

Spotlight on the Solidarity Bankers podcasts

Launched by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and Crédit Agricole S.A. in 2018, Solidarity Bankers is a skills volunteering programme aimed at all Crédit Agricole Group employees in favour of microfinance institutions and impact businesses supported by the Foundation. Since 2018, this programme has enabled over 30 employees to carry out missions in some twenty countries, for the benefit of nearly 30 institutions. For each mission,  Solidarity Bankers spend from one to two weeks in the field or are available remotely to provide their expertise to the operational teams of the supported institutions.

The feedback is very positive for each party. Beneficiary organisations greatly appreciate the contribution of technical expertise to develop their projects. Managers consider the commitment of their employees as a real lever for skills development. Crédit Agricole employees are proud to participate in solidarity projects initiated by the Group, to live a unique human experience and to enhance their professional experience.

It is within this context that the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and CACEIS Luxembourg have launched a series of podcasts giving the floor to Solidarity Bankers who have carried out a mission, either in the field or remotely. These testimonials allow us to better understand the motivations of these volunteer employees who decide to leave their professional daily life to share their skills and expertise.

These podcasts gave the floor to 5 Solidarity Bankers and to the Head of Communication and Partnerships of the Foundation who coordinates the programme. Discover or rediscover their testimonials:

  • Podcast #1 : Carolina VIGUET, Head of Communication and Partnerships, Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation
  • Podcast #2 : Andreas BRUNNER, Inspection Supervisor, Amundi
  • Podcast #3 : Veselina PETROVA, Accounting Standards Analyst, CACIB and Ali LHAF, Credit Risk Analyst, CACIB
  • Podcast #4 : Eva HOGLUND, Chief Financial Officer, EFL & Anne-Sophie DELATTRE, IGL BPI Officer, Crédit Agricole SA

More information on Solidarity Bankers here.

Access the Soundcloud playlist