MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Canada’s Development International Desjardins (DID), Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries Partner to Finance Small Enterprises in Central Africa

Development International Desjardins (DID), the social arm of Canadian cooperative financial firm, the Desjardins Group; and Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries has recently agreed to provide support to small enterprises in Central Africa. The agreement includes providing investment and technical assistance to microfinance centers called ‘entrepreneur financial centers’ (EFCs), that have already been set up in the region by DID. EFCs provide financial products and services to small enterprises in markets such as Tanzania, Zambia and the Republic of Congo. The Ugandan EFC is DID’s most recent center, which will be the focus for this initial strategic agreement.

EFCs are supported by DID’s implementation of training programs, lending strategies, procedures to assist operations and management as well as audit services. For instance, the EFC in Zambia, which was established in 2009, turned a profit after two years in operation, serving 40 percent of the Zambian microfinance market.

Mr Claude Royer, DID’s Vice President for Investment and Management Contracts, said, “We are extremely pleased with this new partnership designed to support a strategy that has already produced excellent results to date. In fact, the EFCs set up by DID in Zambia and Tanzania have helped maintain and create over 6,000 jobs since their creation in the East African region [1].”

By Amira Berrada, Research Associate

About Development International Desjardins (DID): Development International Desjardins (DID) is the social arm of Canadian financial cooperative, the Desjardins Group. DID has been serving the developing world for 40 years with the goal of providing disadvantaged communities access to financial services that fit their needs. As of December 2011, the Desjardins Group’s total assets were at CAD 190 billion (USD 191 billion). Financial information for DID has not been disclosed.

About Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO from French translation): The Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries, acronym BIO for French translation, established in 2001, works to promote the creation of a strong private sector in developing countries to enable them to gain access to sustainable development and prosperity. BIO has invested in approximately 90 private sector projects and is present in nearly 60 countries. At fiscal yearend 2010, BIO had EUR 377 million (USD 498 million) in total assets, a 3 percent increase from 2009. The Belgian government has committed to allocate EUR 105 million (USD 138 million) in 2011.

Sources and Additional Resources:

[1] http://www.bio-invest.be/en/news/40-did-and-bio-join-to-help-develop-sma… enterprises-in-central-and-east-africa.html

MicroCapital.org article, April 16, 2012, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Investment Bank (EIB) Launches $65m East African Community Microfinance Facility” https://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-european-investment-bank-eib-launches-65m-east-african-community-microfinance-facility/

MicroCapital.org article, March 20, 2012, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Progression Eastern African Microfinance Equity Fund (PEAMEF) Launches Operations in Kenya” https://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-progression-eastern-african-microfinance-equity-fund-peamef-launches-operations-in-kenya-2/

MicroCapital Universe Profile for Belgian Investment Company: https://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Bel…

MicroCapital Universe Profile for Development International Desjardins (DID): https://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Development+International+Desjardins

Browse the MicroCapital Universe and add your entry to the wiki at: https://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/

Amira joined MicroCapital while working at Export Development Canada (EDC) as a Credit Insurance Underwriter. Amira holds a Bachelor degree in International Business and Finance from Concordia University in Montreal. While completing her bachelor degree, Amira spent a semester in France and upon graduation, three months in India working with non-governmental agencies, political and spiritual groups for various socioeconomic initiatives such as the advancement of women. While travelling to different cities and rural areas in India, Amira was touched by the poverty she witnessed and was dedicated to finding a way to intertwine her business interests with her passion for development. She hopes this internship in microfinance will provide the framework to integrate an element of development into her professional career as well as positively contribute to the field of microfinance. Amira speaks English, French, and Spanish fluently and has conversational knowledge in Portuguese and Arabic. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, trying new restaurants such as molecular gastronomy, restaurants made out of ice and Nicaraguan meals wrapped in banana leaves. Most of all, she loves to travel with loved ones.