On December 5th 2013, the Belgian Chamber of Representatives approved a new law modifying the Law of 2001 addressing the constitution of BIO, Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries. BIO is delighted with this new law, which turns BIO into the reference on local private sector financing within development cooperation. Developing a strong private sector is an important pillar for global, significant and sustainable improvements in the livelihoods of local households. The new law recognizes that BIO, a development finance institute, is the instrument to support the private sector in developing countries. The reform forms an integral part of a modernization process of the Belgian development cooperation.
The Microfinance Institution, Entrepreneurial Financial Center (EFC) Zambia won the annual Zambia Institute of Marketing (ZIM) award for Best SME Organisation for 2013.
Prize for Corporate Governance 2013-2014
BIO is proud to announce its collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation for the Prize for Corporate Governance 2013-2014 for an entrepreneur in DR Congo. The Prize, which concedes a financial support of € 25,000, is awarded every two years to a woman or a man, who manages her or his company in an exceptional way. With this Prize, the founders of the Corporate Governance Fund wish to project a positive image of a particular company in the DR Congo that contributes to the economic development of the country for the benefit of the local population.
As part of the Rift Valley Railways railway network, the line connecting the boarder to Kenya with the North of Uganda has been rehabilitated. BIO, as one of the lenders to Rift Valley Railways, is proud to have taken part to this rehabilitation process. The 500 km track has been out of service for over 20 years and will be crucial as an economic artery linking eastern Uganda to northern Uganda, as well as the neighboring countries of South Sudan and DR Congo. There is no doubt that the reopening of this key trade route between Kenya and North Uganda will boost Ugandan economy.
This October 30, 2013 Grand Place Vietnam received an Excellence Award at the “Salon du Chocolat” in Paris, for the best cocoa in the Asia-Pacific region. The “Salon du Chocolat” is a worldwide reference for quality producers of cocoa beans and chocolate. Cocoa of Excellence is the entry point for farmers to participate in the Salon du Chocolat's International Cocoa Awards, the only competition of its kind rewarding the work of cocoa farmers and celebrating the diversity of cocoa flavors.
On 15th of October 2013, BIO signed a USD 4 million senior loan contract with Fondo de Desarollo Local (FDL), a microfinance institution in Nicaragua. The investment is a much needed sign to other investors that the Nicaraguan microfinance market is ready to climb out of the steep crisis it has suffered since 2009.The microfinance sector in Nicaragua was booming when in 2008 the global financial crisis hit. This originated an abrupt decline in remittances, which quickly led to repayment problems as clients were over indebted. As the economy deteriorated, the microfinance industry was further affected by a political and social movement of delinquent borrowers known as the “No Pago” (No Payment) movement. In this context MFIs and banks, needed to reschedule and restructure loans, and some of the MFIs went bankrupt. International funders grew nervous about the country risk and massively and abruptly retrieved their investments causing further trouble in the sector. After 3 years, signs of improvement are arising. The worst impacts of the crisis have been overcome and there is a positive outlook for the future of the microfinance industry in Nicaragua. Lessons have been learnt from the crisis, the MFIs now focus on sustainable growth through a balance in their growth objectives and the use of credit information bureaus to improve credit risk management and manage multiple borrowing. Furthermore, new microfinance law closes any space for the non-payment movement to maneuver, and the government is putting its best efforts to regulate and supervise the Microfinance Sector through the creation of a new organism CONAMI.
On 15th of October 2013, BIO signed a USD 4 million senior loan contract with Fondo de Desarollo Local (FDL), a microfinance institution in Nicaragua. The investment is a much needed sign to other investors that the Nicaraguan microfinance market is ready to climb out of the steep crisis it has suffered since 2009.
Citizens Development Business Finance PLC in a breakthrough transaction obtained its first foreign funding line from a multilateral agency for US$6M (Equivalent of Rs.800mn approximately) from BIO. The funding line is with a tenure of 4 years and has been fully hedged against any exchange rate fluctuations on a fixed interest rate.
Over 20 International Financial Institutions, including BIO, pledged closer collaboration to support private sector development. To this end, they co-signed a Memorandum regarding “IFIs Harmonized Development Results Indicators for private sector investment operations”, during a meeting hosted by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, in Washington this October 12th, 2013.
In order to provide small business owners with the financing they so often lack, Développement international Desjardins (DID) sets up, operates and is developing Entrepreneur Financial Centers (EFC) using its investment funds, strict operating methods and specialized solutions, and with the support of strong international partners. A 2012 impact assessment of EFC Zambia, the Entrepreneur Financial Center set up in Zambia in 2009, confirms that it is creating wealth and opportunities for small business owners and is contributing to the development of the middle class in that country. The study also deeply underscored the fact that this Entrepreneur Financial Centre, by providing financial services that are adapted to small businesses, is filling a pre-existing void. BIO supported the DID initiative with a EUR 1,5 million loan in 2013. Learn more about BIO’s investment here. See the full report here.