04 maart 2006
ABN AMRO Foundation stimulates enterprises in poor countries
The Foundation, with a yearly budget of 5 million Euro, is legally independent of the bank itself, which implies that the projects or funds are of no financial benefit for any of the bank's business units. Sandra Kingma, previously ABN AMRO's Manager Sustainability, explains the motives to set up a foundation: "We felt the need to gather all our projects on community involvement worldwide, and present them more clearly. With the Foundation we hope to contribute to the first of the eight Millennium Development Goals, halving extreme poverty by the year 2015. Of course we will abide by what we are good at, which is stimulating communities and individuals to generate an income."
And that is the main aim of the Rural Wealth Creation Project in KwaZulu-Natal, recipient of the first substantial donation of 250,000 Euro. This project provides women with better business skills. Most of these women are the sole breadwinners and run a household of both their own children and 'AIDS-orphans'. The project is run by a South African partner organization of Oxfam Netherlands. Sandra Kingma: "We will always cooperate with well-reputed international development organizations, because they have a network of local NGO's, they have the expertise, and they can do the monitoring."
Beyond providing financial capital, the Foundation will add value to the partners and projects by structuring the project for optimal success and mitigating risks. Sandra Kingma: "The expertise of banking personnel, in fields like credits, ICT or project management, is highly wanted for, and that is what we can add to the projects. Our bank employees, especially in the countries where the income generating projects are run, are very eager to join, since they feel responsible for their societies."
The next donations of the Foundation will most probably go to projects in Brazil, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.
P+ Webtip: ABN AMRO Foundation