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Monday, 25 July 2011

Africa’s first microfinance fund for sustainable farmers launched

Africa’s first specialist rural microfinance fund supporting fair trade and organic small business, FEFISOL, the European Solidarity Financing Fund for Africa, was launched by the European Investment Bank, Agence Française de Développement and a broad grouping of development bodies, social investors and microfinance service providers. The EUR 15 million FEFISOL fund will provide much needed microfinance funds for poor rural households across Africa and help finance small scale investment in agricultural activities.

Three social investors with more than 25 years of experience working with microfinance institutions, agricultural cooperatives and small businesses in emerging countries will provide specialist support to the fund. These include French development association Solidarite International pour le Developpement et l’Investissement (SIDI), who will manage of the FEFISOL fund, Belgian development organisation Alterfin and Etimos from Italy. The FEFISOL fund is expected to double in size by 2013 and will assist microfinance institutions that help poor households in rural areas where no formal lending exists. Rural microfinance will support income generating activities and reduce dependence on outside help. […]

“Microfinance is key to enhancing economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. The FEFISOL initiative will reach remote rural communities, helping small businesses develop and progressively reduce poverty,” said Marie-Hélène Loison, Head of the Private Equity Department of PROPARCO, the private sector arm of AFD. […]

FEFISOL will fund microfinance institutions and producer organisations across the continent in local currency. African microfinance bodies will benefit from a subsidised loan provided by AFD that absorbs foreign exchange loss on local currencies. Dedicated support for fair trade and organic producer organisations will help improve the quality and development of their activities over the long-term, notably by gaining access to new market sectors. SOS Faim and the African Microfinance Institutions Network will assist in this process, along with specialist fair trade organisations based in Africa.

Source: EIB