Biennial prize for an outstanding Congolese entrepreneur in the DR Congo
The Fund Corporate Governance in DRC has launched a call for projects for the 2015-2016 Prize for Corporate Governance in DRC.What is it about? The Prize for Corporate Governance in the DR Congo will be awarded every two years to a woman or a man, who manages her or his company in an exceptional way. With this Prize of € 25.000, 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. Since 2014, a partnership has been set up with BIO, the Belgian Investment Company for developing countries. Who is it for? The winner must: - Be of Congolese nationality. - Have her or his main residence in the DRC. -Manage a private medium-sized company since at least 1st January 2010, legally registered in DRC. Its business activities must take place mainly within the DRC.
BIO has disbursed a the first USD 500,000 of a USD 1 million senior loan to Electrical Controls and Switchgear (ECS) in Uganda. The company started in 1983 as an importer and trader of electrical switchgear and panels. These products are essentially the interfacing equipment between the power service utility provider and a final consumer power income in industries, factories or commercial installations, transforming voltage for consumption use. ECS has gradually phased out importation of fully assembled switchgear and has now become a local designer, manufacturer and supplier of this product.
Kinshasa, 23 February 2015 – On February 3rd, FPM SA (Fonds pour l’inclusion financière en République Démocratique du Congo) obtained the authorization by the Central Bank of Congo to operate as a Financial Company. FPM SA will be able to start financing the financial institutions that target micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (“MSME”) in the DRC. This new financial instrument will complement “FPM ASBL” which has been operating in the DRC since 2007 and focuses on providing Technical Assistance (TA) to the Congolese financial institutions that FPM SA is targeting as well. More than 50 TA-projects have been carried out so far. FPM SA benefits from capital contribution of KfW, the German Development Bank on behalf of the Federal Government, for about USD 13 Mio., the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) for USD 8 Mio., the Dutch Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid (Cordaid) for 4 Mio. USD and the Belgian microfinance fund Incofin CVSO for USD 100k. The objective of the fund is to provide up to USD 60 million medium-term credit lines to Congolese financial institutions in the coming 5 years. These credit lines will be used by the financial institutions to finance MSMEs in the DRC. Incofin Investment Management, a Belgian investor focusing on rural microfinance acts as the fund advisor for FPM SA, bringing on board its specific experience and knowledge of the financial services market for micro, small and medium enterprises.
On 9 January, the European Year for Development (EYD) was launched in Riga, Latvia. Under the motto « Our world, our dignity, our future », 2015 will become a special year, in which the development cooperation of the EU and its Member States will be presented to the European public.
On December 16th, the Board of Directors of the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) approved the new investment strategy 2015 – 2018 in line with the Management Contract signed with the Belgian State in April 2014. The Investment Strategy strongly focuses on micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, targeting specifically those that cannot appeal to commercial financing. An important change in the strategy is reducing the number of countries BIO will be active in from over a 100 to 52. In terms of sectors,
In December 2014, BIO signed a USD 1 million loan to support First Finance, a Cambodian MFI specialized in housing. First Finance seeks to build economic stability for low income Cambodian families by increasing access to home ownership. First Finance targets financially excluded and underserved clients in urban and peri-urban areas, providing them with the possibility of becoming a home owner. The purpose of BIO’s loan is to finance housing projects with a total building cost per unit up to an amount of USD 50,000. This will ensure that the financing will be targeted to the low-income population of Cambodia.
Alongside other Development Finance Institutions such as the Dutch Development Bank FMO and the British Development Bank CDC, BIO is participating with a USD 10 million stake in the Africa Renewable Energy Fund (AREF). The USD 200 million equity fund for renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa focusses on power generation using renewable energy resources from remote areas in “least developed countries” and “low income countries” as defined by OECD. These countries typically lack access to long –term financing, paramount to energy and infrastructure investments.
In November, BIO disbursed the first tranche of a € 1.5 million senior loan to the Malian MFI Microcred Mali. The MFI started operating in Bamako in 2013, and within its first year of operation, Microcred reached a loan portfolio of EUR 5.9 million outstanding to over 3,000 borrowers with three branches in Bamako. Microcred aims at reaching a EUR 100 million loan portfolio to 42,000 borrowers and opening a network of 10 branches within the next 5 years. The vast majority of Microcred’s clients belong to the informal sector, a group typically excluded from the traditional financial system. Microcred supports these clients not only financially, but also encourages them to formalize their business, which in turn contributes to the country’s tax base. BIO’s EUR 1.5 million loan will support Microcred’s efforts to further grow its financial services to microenterprises and SMEs and provide the MFI with a more stable and long-term source of financing.
The Foundation for Rural Economic Development Partner (Fundeser), originally a Nicaraguan NGO providing credit and technical assistance to small holders, has launched its operations as a fully-fledged financial institution, a financiera. The transformation into a financiera, regulated by the Nicaraguan Superintendence for Banks and other Financial Institutions, is paramount to allowing Fundeser to achieve greater scale and offer a wider range of services to rural populations. The transformation will allow to work in a secure environment and systematise all procedures and manuals that were not adequately developed before. The recent recognition as a financiera is the result of successful collaboration and efforts of Fundeser’s staff and management with several development finance institutes and investors, such as BIO, the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO) , the Belgian Microfinance Fund Advisor, Incofin Investment Management (IM), as well as the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation. BIO has been involved in providing technical assistance grants to support the transformation process: - one technical assistance project financed by BIO, FMO and Fundeser and managed by Incofin IM, was aimed at accompanying Fundeser’s staff throughout the transformation process into a regulated entity, generating the relevant capacity to support the change in the short and medium term. - a second technical assistance project co-financed by BIO focused on 3 areas: to provide Fundeser with transformation advice; implement an activity-based costing model; and implement an integrated branch management system.