In October, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation invested for the first time in South Africa with the microfinance institution Phakamani Foundation. The Phakamani Foundation is a microfinance institution that empowers poor women to succeed at microenterprise. The Phakamani’s microenterprise programme is modelled on the internationally renowned Grameen Bank. Its system of training, group borrowing, and on-going support brings both accountability and practical assistance to the development of the microenterprises.
The programme targets rural and peri-urban areas with very high unemployment. The neediest people within these communities are identified by using a household index, an asset test, and a basic interview. Women who may be interested in starting their own microenterprises are invited to learn about Phakamani’s programme. To date, the institution has over 31,000 female clients all located in rural areas and manages a portfolio of nearly € 3 million.
A second investment in South Africa is being finalised in favour of SEF, a microfinance institution that serves 197,359 active borrowers (99% of women).