Increased activity in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

In the first half of 2023, the Foundation continued to consolidate its position in Eastern Europe and Central Asia with the granting of three new loans to 3 partners in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Foundation is granting a second loan to Mi-Bospo in the amount of 2,000,000 Euros. This microfinance institution operates mainly in rural areas, with 59% women among its 26,196 customers. Mi-Bospo offers access to credit and non-financial services to individuals, particularly women entrepreneurs.

A new loan in local currency equivalent to 700,000 euros has been granted to Oxus Tadjikistan, a partner microfinance institution since 2012. Founded in 2004 by the French NGO ACTED, Oxus Tajikistan is registered as a microcredit institution and is supervised by the National Bank of Tajikistan. Its mission is to provide transparent and accountable financial services to the working poor and unbanked. Oxus Tajikistan is committed to creating and delivering the most effective microfinance services to sustainably improve the living conditions of its clients. This is the fifth loan granted by the Foundation, strengthening its partnership with Oxus Tajikistan since 2012. To date, the institution serves 14,292 active borrowers (40% women and 82% in rural areas) and manages a portfolio of 16.6 million euros. Oxus Tajikistan operates in the eastern half of Tajikistan, from north to south, through a network of 27 outlets and branches and 186 employees.

In Kyrgyzstan, the Foundation granted a new loan to Oxus Kyrgyzstan in local currency equivalent to 1.5 million Euros. A partner since 2016, this microfinance institution, founded in 2006 by the OXUS Group and ACTED, is committed to providing financial services to the working poor and underbanked in Kyrgyzstan. To date, the institution served 10,895 active borrowers (56% women and 65% in rural areas) and managed a portfolio of 9.4 million euros. This is the 6th loan granted by the Foundation, and a technical assistance mission was carried out in October 2021.

With these 3 new loans, the Foundation is strengthening its portfolio in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which represents 29% of the total outstanding loans monitored by the Foundation at the end of April 2023.

To learn more about our partners, click here.

The Foundation consolidates its partnership with Faten

€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.

Immersion in the heart of a solidarity banker’s mission in Georgia

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

  • Episode 2: Immersion

  • Episode 3: Departure


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.

In Kazakhstan, first support to Arnur Credit

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.

Three new members appointed to the Foundation’s Board of Directors

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.

Andreas Brunner, a Solidarity Banker at the heart of financial inclusion in Kyrgyzstan

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 Crédit Agricole Foundation continues to develop its activities in Sub-Saharan Africa

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.

Representatives of the EU and the EIB visited social business Vert Ltd in Kenya, in which the Foundation is a shareholder.

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.

Facilitating access for farmers in rural areas to microinsurance: training for Foundation partners in Cambodia.

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

Solidarity Notebooks: a Solidarity Banker in Kosovo

Launched by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and Crédit Agricole SA in June 2018, Solidarity Bankers is a skills volunteering programme open to all Crédit Agricole group employees for the benefit of  microfinance institutions or impact enterprises supported by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation. Discover the testimony of Stéphanie Thibesard, Solidarity Banker of CACEIS Bank, Luxembourg Branch who carried out a risk management mission in Kosovo, in favour of the microfinance institution AFK.

What prompted you to apply for a Solidarity Banker mission?

I was familiar with the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation but not with the Solidarity Bankers programme that it offers to employees of the Crédit Agricole group. I discovered it during the broadcast of the podcast of a solidarity banker, Andreas Brunner, who shared his own experience. I admit that I completely recognised myself in what he was describing. I therefore consulted the “catalogue” of the Foundation to see the various missions offered. The mission at AFK in Kosovo matched my experience at CACEIS Bank Luxembourg Branch. So it seemed obvious to me that I had to apply, for several reasons: it allowed me to discover a business sector I was not familiar with (microfinance), to share my knowledge, experiences and skills (support and contribution to the improvement of a system) , it offered me a unique human experience (acting for others but also with others), it represented a new personal challenge and it was a unique opportunity to get out of my comfort zone!

To what extent is this mission relevant and enriching for your work within CACEIS?

As part of this technical assistance mission on behalf of AFK, we worked on setting up a mapping of operational risks, which until then had not existed within the MFI. This offered me the opportunity to share my knowledge on operational risks and more particularly on the mapping of these risks, to then work on a template adapted to the activities of the institution, both simple and functional, but above all effective (which can be enriched during subsequent reviews and according to AFK’s needs). This exercise allowed me to refocus on the essentials of a mapping, namely to identify the major risks linked to an activity in order to be able to remedy them through action plans. I realised that by sometimes wanting to enrich or expand it too much (both in terms of indicators and granularity), the cartography sometimes tends to lose in terms of readability.

What does this opportunity represent for you from a personal point of view?

Above all, this opportunity represents an incredible human experience! I met in Kosovo and in particular in the AFK teams, very welcoming people, available but also transparent in their communication (important for the smooth running of the mission). The discussions were really constructive and very enriching. I also discovered a culture: the recent history of this country and its reconstruction, a way of life and customs, a sense of hospitality, a geographical and economic environment… During this immersion I also observed a real faculty of resilience among the Kosovars. I think that we necessarily come back different from this kind of mission.

Would you be interested in new technical assistance assignments on behalf of the Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation?

Without a doubt ! If a new mission of this type is to be filled, I would certainly apply! But I still think that such an experience should be experienced by as many people as possible. I can therefore only encourage the group’s employees to embark on a Solidarity Bankers mission.


I warmly thank the Management of CACEIS Bank, Luxembourg Branch (Philippe Bourgues, Country Managing Director and Dominique Lapierre, Deputy Managing Director) as well as Human Resources (Anne-Catherine Loiseau and Pauline Duburquoy) for their support for this project. Thanks also to Séverine Pierret (ROCP Management) for her availability and sound advice, particularly during the mission preparation phase. And of course a very special thank you to the AFK teams (represented by Vahdet Anadolli, CEO and Xhevdet Spahija, COO) for their warm welcome as well as for the excellent conditions for carrying out this mission.

Discover the Solidarity Banker missions to be filled.