Oikocredit Increases Investments in Low-Income Countries

AMERSFOORT, The Netherlands, June 23, 2014 /CNW/ - Social investor and worldwide cooperative, Oikocredit, today released its social performance results for 2013. The results reflect data reported by 608 of Oikocredit's partner organizations.

At 31 December 2013, Oikocredit's development financing portfolio stood at $814 million, with $665 million invested in microfinance and the remainder in social enterprises including fair trade organizations, cooperatives and agricultural enterprises.

Investments in low-income countries (GNI per capita ≤ $1,035) increased to $129 million in 2013 from $107 million in 2012, with $56 million invested in Africa and $72 million in Asia.

Through Oikocredit's microfinance partners, 28 million borrowers were reached in 2013. Of those 28 million microfinance borrowers, 81% were women and 24% active in agriculture.

Oikocredit partners involved in agriculture, trading and other sectors outside microfinance reached 315,000 farmers and 1.5 million cooperative members. Of those partners, 70% reported having an environmental policy, with 29% having a policy on gender.

The social performance results also showed that 71% of microfinance partners endorsed the client protection principles in 2013, up from 59% the previous year.

Throughout 2013, Oikocredit provided $4 million in capacity building funds, approving over 130 support initiatives as well as strengthening its social performance management mentoring programme.

Positive social results

Oikocredit social performance and credit analysis director, Ms Ging Ledesma, said the results were positive, showing Oikocredit's continuing efforts to keep client benefits and welfare at the heart of Oikocredit's operations.

"The data shows that our current strategy and activities are contributing to positive social change, in particular financial inclusion and women's empowerment," said Ms Ledesma.

"We're also pleased to see that partners are paying closer attention to the environment while maintaining social and financial commitments," Ms Ledesma added.

Outlook 2014

In 2014, Oikocredit will continue to ensure that its partners deliver real benefits to low-income earners and their communities. A key task for the year will be further embedding Oikocredit's environmental policy into its new agricultural and renewable energy units.

Ms Ledesma said Oikocredit will be working to achieve a positive triple bottom line of social, environmental and financial results.

"In 2014, we'll also be focussing on longer-term programmes for microfinance and agricultural value chains as well as sharing successes to build a community of practice," said Ms Ledesma.

Oikocredit is a worldwide cooperative and social investor, providing funding to the microfinance sector, fair trade organizations, cooperatives and small to medium enterprises.

SOURCE: Oikocredit

For further information: Press contacts: Oikocredit International, Kawien Ziedses des Plantes, kziedsesdesplantes@oikocredit.org, +31(0)6-272-549-04; Oikocredit USA, Sharlene Brown, usa@oikocredit.org, +1-202-728-41-40; Oikocredit UK & Ireland, Monica Middleton, uk@oikocredit.org, +44(0)1995-602806; Oikocredit Canada, Eugene Ellmen, eellmen@oikocredit.org, +1-416-996-2392

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