During the first half of 2019, the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation funded three new partners in Africa and Central Asia. With these three new partners, at the end of August 2019 the Foundation supported 81 organisations in 38 countries.
It has thus granted a first loan in FCFA equivalent to € 1.5 million to Vital Finance in Benin, a microfinance institution founded in 1998. Launched as a microfinance project funded by USAID, Vital Finance has gained impressive experience in the field of microfinance. Its constant evolution in terms of both its activities and its profitability places it among one of the largest microfinance institutions in the country. The institution is mainly active in peri-urban areas with very active populations, economically viable but without access to traditional banks. To date, Vital Finance has 29,000 active borrowers, 66% of whom are women.
Also in the first semester, in Zambia, the Foundation provided a loan in local currency equivalent to € 1.5 million to the microfinance institution Entrepreneur Financial Center Zambia (EFC). It is the largest regulated microfinance institution in the country. EFC offers loans to individual businesses and loans for housing. It also offers deposit and savings products to its clients. The institution, established by CARE Zambia in 1996 as a microfinance project, aims to provide working capital solutions for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), with a focus on innovation customised products. To date, it has nearly 4,000 active borrowers, 44% of whom are women and 6% of whom are located in rural areas.
Finally, the Foundation also granted a first loan in local currency equivalent to € 890,000 to the microfinance institution Salym Finance in Kyrgyzstan. This institution, created in 2007 by four Kyrgyz entrepreneurs, aims to create the financial conditions to support and develop client activities and improve the standard of living of the population. Salym offers loans following the individual methodology. Currently, the institution has nearly 12,500 active borrowers, 53% of whom are women and 74% of whom are living in rural areas, and manages a portfolio of €16.5 million.
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