In 2018, The Foundation continued to invest in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, granting a total of seven loans to six partners for a total of €7.6 million, wich represents 19% of the new investments made over the year.
The Foundation invested for the first time in Bosnia-Herzegovina, granting a loan of €2 million to Mi-Bospo, a micro-finance institution that provides access to credit and non-financial services to private individuals, in particular to women entrepreneurs. The institution moreover provides responsible financing by applying the consumer protection principles which play a significant role in the development of female entrepreneurship. Mi-Bospo has more than 22,500 clients at this time, 64% of whom are women. The Foundation also provided a first loan of €1 million to Mikra, a microfinance institution founded by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) which provides access to affordable, quality financial and support services to the poorest working populations (mainly women who account for 70.2% of its 13,400 clients).
In Kazakhstan, the Foundation granted a second loan in local currency equivalent to €608,000 to Bereke, a microfinance institution which it has financed since 2017. The mission of Bereke, which has 5,200 clients, 76% of whom are women, is to help improve the standard of living of citizens through economic support provided by means of loans to small and microenterprises as well as by means of agricultural, consumer or housing loans.
The Foundation has also granted a new loan (the third since 2016) to the microfinance institution Oxus Kirghizstan, for an amount of €687,000 over a period of three years. The institution provides individual and group loans to nearly 7,000 clients, most of whom work in agriculture and livestock breeding.
The Foundation has also financed a new partner Agency for Microfinance in Kosovo (AFK) with a loan of €1.4 million over three years. AFK is an institution that aims to improve the living conditions in the country by offering small and microenterprises access to sustainable financial services. It has 17,500 clients, 78% of whom live in rural areas.
Finally, in Tajikistan, the Foundation granted two loans for a total amount of €1.9 million to Humo, an MFI partner since 2017. The Foundation has thus granted a total of three loans to this institution, the main activity of which is to provide affordable, quality financial services to people living in rural areas, as well as to promote the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in the country’s poor regions. Humo has nearly 50,000 clients at this time, 81% of whom live in rural areas, and 44.4% of whom are women.