What makes Alterfin distinctive in the microfinance sector?

What is special about Alterfin’s investments in the microfinance sector? What is its added value and what undertakings does it adhere to? We take a look at microfinance, Alterfin style. After 20 years of work in the field of microfinance, Alterfin has funded 112 microfinance institutions (MFIs), and currently works with 69, not only in Latin America where the majority of its investments are still concentrated, but also in Africa and Asia where the sector is growing rapidly. Alterfin the pioneer Alterfin plays a pioneering role in this sector. In 1995 it made its first investment in an MFI in

Alterfin Celebrates 20 Years!

On 5 June, Alterfin celebrated its 20th anniversary with flashbacks, a meeting with our partners from the South and a look forward at Alterfin’s future. If you weren’t able to attend, don’t worry: we have put together a little summary for you! Les Halles des Tanneurs were completely full on 5 June on the occasion of Alterfin’s 20th anniversary. The weather was tropical, and 300 people attended the event, including many members from all over the country and various NGOs and Alterfin partners from the North. Flashbacks and illustrations of our fieldwork The programme consisted of a look back

Strengthening the position of small producers in the South

More than a billion people live on less than one euro a day. Almost two-thirds of these live in rural areas and most of them depend on agriculture. This is why Alterfin has financed sustainable agriculture for the last twenty years. For the last twenty years, Alterfin has been financing organisations of small producers. By ‘small producers’ we mean small family farms which work no more than two hectares of land. Initially, this financing was for producers selling their products through fair trade channels: this was true of Ecookim, for example, a union of cocoa cooperatives in Ivory Coast.

Microfinance: an Alterfin Pillar

Once upon a time, there was microfinance at Alterfin… During Alterfin’s early years, the founding NGOs played an important role in making contact with partners. Hugo Couderé, Alterfin’s director for 18 years, recalls: ‘On my first trip to Peru, I was assisted by Freya Rondelez, the local head of 11.11.11. And in Ecuador, Dominique Morel, now Chair of the Board of Directors of Alterfin, but at that time a development worker at Coopibo (later Vredeseilanden), introduced me to the first local partners.’ Important role played by the NGOs The presence of the founding NGOs in Latin America explains

A strong partnership with a Nicaraguan MFI : FDL

FDL, a microfinance institution in Latin America, is an example of a strong partnership with Alterfin. FDL has been our partner for over fifteen years, despite all the difficulties that have been encountered. In the Nicaraguan microcredit world, FDL has become a key player. A strong partnership Fondo para el Desarrollo Local (Fund for Local Development) or FDL, is a Nicaraguan microfinance institution (MFI) that began operations in 1997. The fund provides microloans in rural areas where no financial service was previously available to the local population. FDL’s customers are small businesses

Kampani: a New Social Fund Is Born!

Alterfin, a number of NGOs (including Vredeseilanden and Louvain Coopération) and some private investors have created a new social investment fund: Kampani ! This fund is intended for agricultural organisations in Africa, Latin America and Asia that are considered too large to benefit from microloans, but too small to receive a loan from conventional banks. Examples of such organisations include African banana cooperatives wishing to export their bananas. What makes Kampani special is that it provides support to small and medium-sized agricultural businesses by entering their capital

Ecookim, Ivorian cocoa farmers' cooperative

A sustainable union in Ivory Coast: Ecookim Alterfin financed the Ecookim organisation in Ivory Coast for the first time in 2011. Back then, this union comprised seven cooperatives with over 3,000 producers. Since it was set up in 2004, Ecookim has welcomed new cooperatives active in the cocoa, coffee and cashew nut sectors, reaching a total of 23 member cooperatives in 2014. Over 10,000 producers now benefit from the support of Ecookim. Everyone wins Ecookim’s main task is to market and export cocoa beans; it does this with a view to increasing farmers’ income and improving the position of

The First Alterfin Credit Facilities

Alterfin began strongly, granting its first credit facilities to partners in the South. Ever since, Alterfin has been fulfilling its mission: to promote access to financial services for people who are socially and economically disadvantaged. First loans Alterfin granted its first loan in 1995, to a Chilean wine cooperative called ‘Los Perales’. This was followed the same year by a partner in Peru and another in Ecuador. The first partners were producers’ cooperatives engaged in fair trade. The financing of microfinance institutions and the expansion to other continents began shortly

Creation of Alterfin: collaboration between NGOs and banks

We would like to take you back to the start-up of Alterfin, the beginnings of the cooperative, the search for capital and the key partnerships, thanks to which it was born and has grown. This is how it all began… In the 1980s, Hugo Couderé worked as a development agent in Africa, where he was in charge of a number of rural development projects. Back in Belgium, he gained his doctorate at Antwerp University in this subject. In addition, at the time he sat as an adviser on a project commission at 11.11.11, the network that represents the North-South movement in Flanders. This commission is

Alterfin is 20!

Alterfin was officially established twenty years ago, on 16 November 1994. And since the past should provide guidance for the future, as they say, throughout the coming year we will be devoting as many articles as possible to the history of our cooperative. Alterfin, a Belgian success story How did our cooperative, a pioneer in Belgium in the field of aid for developing countries, start up in the first place, and how did it tackle its mission? How did it finance its first partners before going on to support over a hundred today? How did it manage to attract more than 4,500 shareholders,
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