AMERSFOORT, The Netherlands, March 11, 2013 /CNW/ - For the full year ended 31 December 2012, social investor and worldwide cooperative, Oikocredit, recorded another positive year of social and financial results. With 854 partners across 67 countries, Oikocredit continued its strategic focus on Africa, agriculture and inclusive finance. Loan approvals were at record levels in 2012, reaching € 234 million, up 11% from € 211 million the previous year. New equity investments totaled € 12.5 million of these approvals, bringing the total number of approved equity holdings to 49.
Total gross capital inflow from members increased to € 60.9 million, up 35% from € 45 million in 2011. A total of 3,000 new investors joined Oikocredit in 2012, taking total worldwide investors to 48,000. Investors will share in Oikocredit's net result of € 22.9 million, with € 10.5 million proposed as dividend. Given market uncertainty in many countries, all of the remaining net result will be added to reserves to support Oikocredit's social mission.
The development financing portfolio grew to € 530 million, an increase of 2% from € 520 million in 2011. This was lower than anticipated due to a weaker euro and write-offs in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Despite challenges in the microfinance sector, Oikocredit remained committed to inclusive finance and continued to address certain areas within the sector, such as over-indebtedness and irresponsible pricing practices.
Committed to clients
Throughout 2012, Oikocredit remained committed to improving social performance management and supporting partners through capacity building. The needs and interests of clients remained a top priority, with the development of social performance mentoring programmes for microfinance partners and other support initiatives. During the year, Oikocredit also increased disbursement of funds for capacity building to € 2.7 million, supporting over 90 initiatives with a special focus on the agricultural sector.
Focus on agriculture
As smallholder farmers are among the world's most disadvantaged people, agriculture remained a focus area for Oikocredit during 2012. Throughout the year, Oikocredit approved € 25 million in new loans to 38 agricultural partners. A total of € 35 million was disbursed in loans to the sector, including support to organic farming and agricultural processing. Oikocredit aims to increase its support of the sector over the coming years.
Oikocredit will continue to focus on Africa, agriculture and inclusive finance throughout 2013. The social performance mentoring programme will be expanded to four new countries and careful partner selection in relation to both social and financial performance will also remain a top priority for Oikocredit.
Oikocredit is one of the world's largest sources of private funding to the microfinance sector, providing credit and equity to small businesses through microfinance institutions across the developing world and directly to trade cooperatives, fair trade organizations and small-to-medium sized enterprises.
For further information:
Press contacts: Oikocredit International, Kawien Ziedses des Plantes, [email protected] , +31-(0)6-272-549-04; Oikocredit USA, Sharlene Brown, [email protected] , +1-202-728-41-40; Oikocredit UK & Ireland, Patrick Hynes, [email protected] , +44(0)1995-602806; Oikocredit Canada, Eugene Ellmen, [email protected] , +1-416-996-2392