MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EFSE, Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rabo International Advisory Services Facilitate Capacity Building Plan for FED Invest to Support Farmers, SMEs in Rural Albania

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based investment fund focused on 16 Central Asian and Southeast European countries, in partnership with the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Rabo International Advisory Services (RIAS), a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Rabobank Group, recently announced that the EFSE Development Facility will “cover part of the costs of a multi-year capacity building plan” aimed at expanding Albania-based FED Invest’s ability to provide financial services to farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas. The funding is slated for investment in technology and human resources, which FED Invest CEO Zana Konini says “will be translated into better services for the development of our farms and villages.”

FED Invest was established in March 2016 when 70 member organizations of the Albanian Savings and Credit Union merged to form a single “savings and credit society.” It serves clients in 1,080 villages. Financial information on FED Invest is unavailable. As of 2016, EFSE reports investments of EUR 898 million (USD 1 billion) outstanding to its 63 partner lending institutions, including 35 microfinance organizations.

By Michelle Dold, Research Associate

About FED Invest

FED Invest was established in March 2016 when 70 member organizations of the Albanian Savings and Credit Union merged “by absorption” to form a single Albanian “savings and credit society.” As of 2016, it serves clients in 1,080 villages in Albania. Financial information on FED Invest is unavailable.

About the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE)

The Luxembourg-based European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) focuses on the development of local financial sectors in Southeast Europe and parts of Central Asia by providing “long-term” funding for micro- and small enterprises (MSEs) as well as private households via partner retail institutions. EFSE also operates the EFSE Development Facility, which provides technical assistance, consulting and training services to support capacity building within these partner institutions. EFSE was established in 2005 by German Development Bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (which is also known by its German acronym BMZ) and the EU’s European Commission. The fund is privately managed, with Oppenheim Asset Management Services of Luxembourg acting as fund manager and Finance in Motion GmbH of Germany acting as fund advisor. EFSE operates in 16 countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. As of 2016, EFSE reports investments of EUR 898 million (USD 1 billion) outstanding to its 63 partner lending institutions, including 35 microfinance banks and microcredit organizations. As of 2016, EFSE holds a microfinance label from Luxembourg Fund Labeling Agency (LuxFLAG), an NGO that certifies that social investment vehicles actually invest as advertised.

About the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands is a government body based in the Hague that is responsible for carrying out Dutch foreign policy. It focuses on “international stability and security, energy and raw material security, the international legal order (including human rights) and the commercial and economic interests of the Netherlands and Dutch businesses.” As of 2014, the ministry reported a provisional budget for foreign affairs of EUR 9.1 billion (USD 10 billion) and a provisional budget for foreign trade and development of EUR 5 billion (USD 5.5 billion), out of which EUR 3 billion (USD 3.3 billion) was designated for development cooperation. More recent financial data is not available as of 2016.

About Rabo International Advisory Services

Founded in 1989 as a subsidiary of the Netherlands-based Rabobank Group, Rabo International Advisory Services (RIAS) provides business advisory and technical assistance in ”rural banking, cooperative development and agricultural chain development” with the goal of increasing financial inclusion in 50 countries. RIAS, the Rabobank Foundation and Rabo Financial Institutions Development comprise Rabobank Group’s development program, which aims to support the provision of financial services to farmers and agricultural small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries. As of December 2015, Rabobank Group reports total assets of EUR 670 billion (USD 717 million).

Sources and Additional Information:

[1] EFSE Press Release: EFSE DF, FED Invest to Foster Rural Development in Albania,

[2] MicroCapital Universe Profile: FED Invest

[3] MicroCapital Universe Profile: European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE)

[4] MicroCapital Universe Profile: Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs

[5] MicroCapital Universe Profile: Rabo International Advisory Services

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