Niche Cocoa Industry, Ltd purchases beans from Ghana's Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), who in turn sources them from local farmers. Niche processes these beans into high quality finished products such as cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder, then exports them around the world. BIO has been a partner in the development of this successful start-up enterprise since 2011, when BIO financed the acquisition of a press to transform cocoa liquor into cocoa butter and powder. With a strong foundation in place, Niche is ready to introduce two new product lines which target the local Ghanaian market: chocolate spreads and chocolate bars. Years of research and testing have gone into developing palate-pleasing products which do not melt in tropical environments, and the results will soon be evident. These products will fill a void in Ghana as spreads are not readily available and high quality chocolate bars are not sold at a generally accessible price point.
BIO and the Dutch Development Bank, FMO, have disbursed a loan to the Indonesian microfinance institution PT Mitra Bisnis Keluarga Ventura (“MBK”) to support its expanding outreach and portfolio. The support of the development finance institutions is crucial to MBK since it does not have access to deposits from the public. Funding from local banks is limited due to their usual requirement of fixed assets as collateral. Supporting the expansion of MBK will have a positive impact on economic growth by enhancing business activities for self-employed women in rural areas. This MFI provides access to finance in underserved areas in the form of working capital to increase the clients’ economic activities. Read more on BIO’s investment in MBK
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.