03 februari 2007
Terrafina starts microfinance in Burundi
It is the mission of Terrafina to stimulate microfinance in so-called difficult countries. Cor Wattel: "Investors shy away from countries with a long history of conflict, deep poverty or detrimental regulations. Terrafina specifically aims at this kind of countries that tend to be neglected. Foreign support mainly goes to established microfinance institutions, whereas we search for young, small institutions that have a great potential but have not yet been able to prove it. They are what I refer to as pearls in the muddle."
Since its inception in 2005 Terrafina has taken up projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Mali and Burkina Faso, amounting to some two million euros support for young micro credit institutions. Last year a successful mission took place to Burundi. Cor Wattel: "We got a picture of the players in the field of micro credits and of the national policy. We identified several local microfinance organisations that target the rural poor, people who combine agriculture with all kinds of small businesses, because they have a hard time to make ends meet. We are now starting our first partnership with Burundian microfinance organisations."
Terrafina is a joint microfinancing programme of three Netherlands-based organisations, ICCO, Oikocredit and the Rabobank Foundation. Terrafina uses the existing structures of these organisations and combines their strengths to maximize service to microfinance institutions in Africa. ICCO is specialized in poverty reduction and capacity-building. Oikocredit is strong in market-based loans with a current outstanding portfolio of 163 million euro. And the Rabobank Foundation has longtime experience in grants and loans for cooperatives.
It sounds complicated to work in such a consortium. What is so attractive about it? Cor Wattel: "With Terrafina we can get more things done than the three organisations separately. We deliver a package that offers much more than simply the sum of instruments of each of the partners in the consortium. Local counterparts highly appreciate dealing with one complete programme, with the full range of services, from financial support to banking expertise."
Terrafina has partnerships with some 30 micro finance institutions in Africa, serving some 200,000 clients.
P+ webtip: Terrafina