Inclusive financial services
An estimated 2.5 billion people have no access to formal financial services. They are unable to open a bank account, negotiate a loan to start a business, or buy insurance. Access to these financial services has a fundamental impact on the lives of millions of people. It enables them to build their assets gradually, develop micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and improve their income earning capacity, to create employment and provide a financial cushion for the future.
As investor we are committed to contribute to the development of an inclusive financial sector in developing countries that provides access to transparent financial services to all. We do this by providing finance, both debt and equity, to banks and microfinance institutions that demonstrate a sustainable approach toward providing financial services to underserved client groups.
Since 1994, our assets under management in inclusive finance have increased to EUR 536 million, making us one of the leading investors in the industry. At year-end 2013, we provide finance to 110 up and coming and well established microfinance institutions and banks in 44 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. These institutions offer a variety of financial services to underserved client groups, serving 8.4 borrowing clients (of which 66% are women) and 7.9 million savings clients. 48% of clients live in rural areas.
Our impact in sustainable trade and agriculture
With our innovative trade finance loans, we play a key role in building sustainable long-term trading partnerships between agricultural exporters in developing countries and buyers in Europe and the United States. In 2013, over 100,000 small-scale farmers in 22 countries worldwide are paid directly upon delivery of their harvest through our trade-finance facilities, bringing 13 different fair-trade and organic products to western markets.
A dedicated investment team
Our highly experienced Emerging Markets investment team combines banking experience with a values-driven approach. They perform on-the-ground due diligence and regularly visit the institutions and co-operatives in their portfolios.