€3 million to Faten, a microfinance institution established in 1999 by Save-the-Children in the Palestinian territories. Faten is registered as a non-profit limited liability company and is supervised by the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA). Faten’s mission is to meet the financial services needs of low- and middle-income Palestinian entrepreneurs and individuals.
The partnership between Faten and the Foundation started in 2012 and since then, 3 loans have been granted for a total amount of 4 million Euros.
As of April 2022, Faten was serving 25,981 active borrowers (33% women and 68% in rural areas) and manages a portfolio of 135,947,533 euros. The institution operates throughout the Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza) through a network of 35 branches and 266 employees.
The Foundation currently has 2 partners in the Palestinian territories where it is present since 2012, Faten and Acad.
To learn more about our partners, click here.
The Solidarity Bankers program, launched in 2018 by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and Crédit Agricole S.A., enables the Group’s employees to contribute to socially useful projects using their skills. A variety of assignments are offered, either face-to-face or remotely, to support the Foundation’s partner microfinance institutions and social and environmental impact businesses.
In this context, Anya Lounis from Crédit AGricole Leasing & Factoring and Anne Elizabeth Starr from CACIB went to Georgia for a two-week mission with Lazika Capital, a microfinance institution. Their objective was to analyze existing marketing initiatives, collaborate with local teams to develop the 2023 marketing plan and improve the management of financial product sales. Their testimonials reflect the positive impact of this experience.
Learn about their day-to-day mission on video through 3 vlog episodes :
- Episode 1: Arrival in Georgia
Anne Elizabeth Starr, CACIB’s Trade Finance Sales Manager for Financial Institutions, emphasizes the importance of the human aspect of this mission: “Anya and I had a common vision for this mission in Georgia: to accompany Lazika Capital in its objectives as best we could and to live this human adventure to the fullest! She also mentions the inspiring meetings with Lazika Capital’s farmer clients, which enriched their understanding of the local needs and culture.
Anya Lounis, Marketing Project Manager at CAL&F, shares her enthusiasm for this professional and personal experience, which allowed her to put her skills to work in the field of financial inclusion: “This opportunity allowed me to take a step back and be open-minded. With Anne Elizabeth, we had to adapt since we were not familiar with the microfinance sector.”
Lazika Capital, founded in 2000 in Georgia thanks to Oxfam UK, is a Tier 2 microfinance institution (organization with a portfolio between $10 million and $100 million). Based in Zugdidi, it operates through 18 branches in western Georgia and provides financial services to primarily rural, low- and middle-income entrepreneurs. Lazika Capital has 280 employees and 77 loan officers.
The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation is strengthening its commitment in Central Asia by granting a first loan of 3 million euros to Arnur Credit, a microfinance institution based in Kazakhstan. Founded in 2001 by Orda Credit, a Kazakh MFI specializing in transfer operations and business loans, Arnur Credit is registered as a limited liability company and is supervised by the Agency for Regulation and Development of the Financial Market of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Its mission is to help improve the quality of life of the economically active population of South Kazakhstan by providing microfinance services.
Arnur Credit offers loans according to the individual methodology. As of June 2022, the institution served 18,458 active borrowers (44% women and 88% in rural areas) and managed a portfolio of 52.6 million euros. It operates in the southern part of Kazakhstan (including Turkistan) through a network of 43 offices and 235 employees.
With this investment, the Foundation has, today, in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a portfolio of € 25.7 million and has 15 partner organizations supported, that is to say 24% of microfinance institutions and impact enterprises.
To learn more about our partners, click here.
The Foundation elected three new members to its Board of Directors at its last meeting on April 25, 2023 in Luxembourg. The Foundation’s Board of Directors is chaired by Raphaël Appert, 1st Vice President of the Fédération Nationale Crédit Agricole and Managing Director of Crédit Agricole Centre Est. The Vice-Chairman is Mohammad Shahjahan, representative of the Grameen Trust.
The Foundation thanks all those who have actively contributed over the past years!
The new members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors are
- Nicolas Mauré, President of Crédit Agricole Toulouse.
- Pierre Fort, Director of Crédit Agricole Sud Rhône-Alpes.
- Tanguy Claquin, Global Head of Sustainability, Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank.
They join the current members.
The Chairman of the Board, Raphael Appert, and the Managing Director Véronique Faujour, are excited to work with these new members.
The 2023 Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the Crédit Agricole Group, representatives of Grameen Trust and qualified personalities.
In 2018, the Foundation and Crédit Agricole S.A. launched the Banquiers Solidaires program, a skills volunteering scheme accessible to all Crédit Agricole Group employees. This technical assistance program is designed to support microfinance institutions and social impact businesses financed by the Foundation.
Andreas Brunner, currently an Inspection Supervisor at Amundi in Paris, led a field mission to the Oxus microcredit institution in Kyrgyzstan in October 2021, when he was working at Crédit Agricole Assurances.
Testimony of experience in video:
Andreas Brunner was tasked with working on two main objectives: developing an annual marketing plan and implementing a customer loyalty program for OXUS Kyrgyzstan. To do this, he had to produce two key deliverables in English. At the end of the first week, he presented a first feedback to the OXUS team to check if the direction taken was the right one. The feedback was very positive, and he was able to continue refining his proposals during the second week.
OXUS Kyrgyzstan provides financial services to the working poor and underbanked in Kyrgyzstan. With approximately 10,000 clients, it is present in various regions of the country through a network of 15 branches and 130 employees. Its headquarters are based in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital. The Solidarity Bankers program aims to support these actors through technical assistance and to enhance the skills of the Group’s employees involved in projects with a strong social impact.
Denis Khomyakov, General Manager of OXUS Kyrgyzstan, underlined the positive impact of Andreas’ mission: “Andreas met and trained all the people involved in the marketing process, from the Financial Director and Operations Director to the loan officers and branch managers. The results are impressive, and we are now using the documents created with Andreas, perfectly adapted to our context. The assignment was excellent and exceeded our expectations.”
The Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation participated as a Founding Partner in the first 60-Decibels microfinance index. The list of the best performing institutions in 2022 was recently unveiled. Five of the Foundation’s partners are included in this ranking:
Top 10 best performing MFIs:
ACEP Burkina Faso
Advans Côte d’Ivoire
LAPO Sierra Leone
Top 3 best performing MFIs in Africa:
LAPO Sierra Leone
Top 3 best performing MFIs in Asia:
Of the 72 institutions surveyed in 41 different countries, these MFIs scored highest in all categories of the index: Access, Business Impact, Household Impact, Client Protection and Resilience. The Foundation applauds this performance and congratulates ACEP Burkina Faso, Advans Côte d’Ivoire, Lapo, Eclof Kenya and Annapurna for being identified as the most influential MFIs. This is a great recognition for all the stakeholders who have contributed to the growth of social impact and fostered a more human client relationship.
Alongside its partners, the Foundation’s financing, which is mainly granted to small institutions located in rural areas and reinforced by our technical assistance mechanisms, makes it possible to strengthen support for local economies.
18,000 clients of 72 microfinance institutions in 42 countries were surveyed to measure the results of microfinance.
Read the full ranking on the 60-Decibels website.
In the second half of 2022, the Foundation granted two new loans in Sub-Saharan Africa, confirming its commitment to the region’s economic and social development.
A first loan of €457,500 was granted on November 28, 2022 to the microfinance institution ACFB in Benin. A partner of the Foundation since 2017, ACFB’s mission is to facilitate access to financial services for low-income populations and micro entrepreneurs. ACFB’s social mission is to support the economic and social development of households, particularly women in rural areas. By the end of the second half of 2022, ACFB had a growing number of active borrowers (approximately 35,433), the vast majority of whom are women (94%) and clients living in rural areas (90%).
On December 1, 2022, the Foundation also granted a €500,000 loan to VisionFund Uganda. This microfinance institution, created to support vulnerable populations and microenterprises in Uganda, offers financial services adapted to the specific needs of its clients. VisionFund Uganda focuses on group lending methodology and, by the end of the second half of 2022, had a significant number of active borrowers (approximately 46,761), the vast majority of whom are women (95%) and clients living in rural areas (60%).
To learn more about the partners supported by the Foundation, click here.
On Thursday, April 6, a delegation of members of the European Parliament and the European Investment Bank (EIB) visited Kenya to see how the EIB is supporting investments in 60 high impact projects in the country. The MEPs visited the site of one of the high-impact projects: Vert, Ltd, a social enterprise specializing in the export of fresh fruit and vegetables, located in Kathome and in which the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation has been a shareholder since 2016.
“We are very pleased with the work and impact that EU and EIB funding is having on the ground. […] We look forward to a continued partnership between the EU and Kenya.” Irene Giribaldi, Head of Delegation.
Vert Ltd’s social mission aligns with the EIB’s policy and purpose: to transform rural life and foster economic development.
“We support a base of over 5,000 smallholder farmers throughout the country, from whom we source fruit and fresh produce that is then mainly exported to the European market. The funding we received allowed us to increase the amount of mangoes we were buying from smallholders, creating and supporting 95 permanent jobs and over 300 temporary jobs during peak seasons, as well as countless other indirect jobs along the chain. I am just one example of many businesses that have grown or expanded with EIB funding” Jane Maina, Managing Director of Vert Ltd.
Watch the Citizen TV Kenya report:
The company Vert, Ltd, created in 2000, has implemented a sustainable model by working directly with small local farmers organized in small groups. Vert Ltd significantly increases their income and the possibility of diversifying their production and promotes stable export or local market outlets.
The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation facilitates the emergence of more inclusive and resilient agricultural value chains by investing in agribusinesses with high social impact.
To learn more about Vert Ltd, click here.
The International Labor Office (ILO), Proparco and the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation organized a training session on microinsurance in March 2023 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This training, intended for the Foundation’s Asian partners, brought together representatives from Chamroeun (Cambodia), Annapurna and Pahal (India), and VisionFund (Myanmar). It is part of the technical assistance program coordinated by the Foundation, organized by the ILO and funded by Proparco.
The training, led by Mr. Craig Churchill, head of the ILO’s Social Finance Enterprise Department, and assisted by Mr. Ali Tareque Parvez, lasted two days. The objective was to equip partner institutions with the tools to design a comprehensive strategy to improve the effectiveness and value of microinsurance and enhance its contribution to their business strategy. Participants shared their experiences with microinsurance and learned about the main principles of setting up a microinsurance program.
The beneficiary institutions appreciated the relevance and the adaptation of the training content to their needs. Several video testimonials from the partners are available online illustrating the positive feedback on this training.
- Interview with Yanick Milev, CEO of Chamroeun and Member of the Board of Directors of Prévoir. Read more about Chamroeun.
- Pramod Panda Head of Insurance Department and Amrit Sarangi Head of MSME Microinsurance. Read more about Annapurna.
- Interview with Alok Rajpat from Pahal. Read more about Pahal.
- Interview with Gaw Mu, Head of Product Department at VisionFund Myanmar. Read more about VisionFund Myanmar.
This training is part of a larger technical assistance program offered by the Foundation. This program also includes the development of a customized technical plan, including product design, internal process adaptation, partnering with insurers, and product marketing.
The ultimate goal of this program is to develop microinsurance in rural areas and facilitate access to better risk management solutions for vulnerable people. By strengthening the microinsurance skills of its Asian partners, the Foundation is helping to improve insurance products and services for underserved communities in developing countries.
To learn more about the program, click here
The Foundation’s funding are contiuning in Southeast Europe with the granting of a first loan in local currency equivalent to 600,000 euros to the microfinance institution KosInvest in Kosovo, over a two-year period. The Foundation currently has two other partners in Kosovo.
KosInvest is a microfinance institution that aims to improve the living standards of rural communities in Kosovo through a wide range of financial products and services: business loans, agricultural credits and consumer credit. The new loan from the Foundation will allow KosInvest to strengthen its impact by supporting mainly low-income people, farmers and small and micro enterprises.
To date, KosInvest finances 2,400 clients of which 34% are women and 55% of clients live in rural areas.
More information about our partners here