Focus on Cooperatives

International Year of Cooperatives
Agricultural cooperatives are key to reduce hunger and poverty. Cooperatives offer opportunities that smallholders could not achieve individually

Smallholder farmers gain big benefits from agricultural cooperatives including bargaining power and resource sharing that lead to food security and poverty reduction for millions, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) stressed today on the occasion of the launch of the International Year of Cooperatives 2012 (IYC) in New York.

The importance of agricultural cooperatives in improving the lives of millions of smallholder farmers and their families cannot be overstated, the three Rome-based United Nations (UN) agencies said. Empowered by being a part of a larger group, smallholder farmers can negotiate better terms in contract farming and lower prices for agricultural inputs like seeds, fertilizer and equipment. In addition, cooperatives offer prospects that smallholder farmers would not be able to achieve individually such as helping them to secure land rights and better market opportunities.

Ranging from small-scale to multi-million dollar businesses across the globe, cooperatives operate in all sectors of the economy, count over 800 million members and provide 100 million jobs worldwide – 20 per cent more than multinational enterprises. In 2008, the largest 300 cooperatives in the world had an aggregate turnover of US$1.1 trillion, comparable to the gross domestic product (GDP) of many large countries.


Cooperatives: A pillar of agricultural development and food security
Agriculture, including farming, forestry, fisheries and livestock, is the main source of employment and income in rural areas, where the majority of the world?s poor and hungry people live. Agricultural cooperatives play an important role in supporting men and women small agricultural producers and marginalized groups by creating sustainable rural employment.?

Producer cooperatives offer men and women smallholders market opportunities, and provide them with services such as better training in natural resource management, and better access to information, technologies, innovations and extension services. In several countries, FAO provides quality seeds and fertilizers to farmers and agricultural cooperatives and works with them in applying more suitable and productive farming practices.

IFAD works with local agricultural cooperatives in Nepal on goat resource centres that help farmers develop markets for a sustainable supply of high-quality breeding goats. Under the Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot initiative, WFP and partners are working with smallholder farmers? organisations in 21 countries to help them produce surpluses, gain access to markets and increase their incomes.

Through support such as this, smallholders can achieve sustainable livelihoods, improve food security in their communities and play a greater role in meeting the growing demand for food on local, national and international markets.

In Brazil, cooperatives were responsible for 37.2 per cent of agricultural GDP and 5.4 per cent of overall GDP in 2009, and earned about US$3.6 billion from exports. In Mauritius, cooperatives account for more than 60 per cent of national production in the food crop sector and in Kenya the savings and credit cooperatives have assets worth US$2.7 billion, which account for 31 per cent of gross national savings.

Supporting agricultural cooperatives: the IYC and beyond
The Rome-based UN agencies will promote the growth of agricultural cooperatives by:

  • Carrying out initiatives to better understand cooperatives and assess their socio-economic development impact, and to raise awareness of their role and impact on the lives of men and women smallholder farmers – such as FAO?s database of good practices in institutional innovations.
  • Supporting cooperatives to form networks through which smallholder producers can pool their assets and competencies to overcome market barriers and other constraints such as a lack of access to natural resources.
  • Assisting policy-makers in the design and implementation of policies, laws, regulations and projects that take into consideration the needs and concerns of both men and women smallholder farmers and create enabling environment for agricultural cooperatives to thrive; and
  • Strengthening the dialogue and cooperation between governments, agricultural cooperatives, the international research community and civil society representatives on analysing the best conditions for cooperatives worldwide to develop.

During the year ahead and beyond, the Rome-based UN agencies will remain committed to supporting agricultural cooperatives, which provide members with economic advantages and offer them a wide range of services that build up their skills and improve their livelihoods. Cooperatives offer a sound and viable business model suited to the needs of rural communities in developing countries.

Source: http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/internationalyear-of-cooperatives-2012-agricultural-cooperatives-are-keyto-reducing-hunger-and-poverty


ILO Finances Cooperative Efforts in Four African States
Six proposals have been selected by the ILO project on Cooperatives Development in Africa (CoopAFRICA ) in the fifth call for proposals in 2011.

According to a press statement availed to ?The Guardian? yesterday the round, CoopAFRICA?s Challenge Fund, supported initiatives implemented by cooperative support organisations for the benefit of women and/or youth.

The statement said the call, which was made in March 2011, was open to 4 African countries ? Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania Mainland and Uganda, and through it projects could be supported on a cost-sharing basis with grants of up to USD 20,000.The project is set up to be a demand-driven programme, giving the national cooperative movements influence on how to invest the funds available.

In Tanzania two proposals were selected including Dunduliza focusing on increased incomes of women and youth, cooperative members of Tandale SACCOS through steady creation of decent work which was granted USD 18,000.

Another proposal from Tanzania was from Kilimanjaro Co-operative Bank Limited ? for creating Awareness Building and Economic Empowerment for Women in Kilimanjaro Region which secured a grant of 18,000 USD.

?The project will support 240 women from three districts of the Kilimanjaro region, providing them with the necessary knowledge and skills to produce more efficiently and to organise marketing through their co operatives, hence increasing production, incomes, and ultimately improve the livelihoods of their families.? the statement said

To date, since 2008, eighty (80) organizations from various countries have benefited from the CoopAFRICA grants, for a total funding of approximately USD 3,000,000.

In Kenya the Cooperative College won a grant of USD 15,720 which will go into Empowering ?Yatta South Women Help Group? Through Capacity Building in Cooperative Management and Formation of Cooperative.

The statement said the project aims at empowering women?s groups weaving baskets and selling them locally and internationally.

In Rwanda Cooperative Training and Research Center (IWACU) was granted USD 15,989 to support young women and men in Gicumbi District, in the Northern Province through training in poultry and managerial skills, technical capacity building and in-kind loans to enable them run a home-based poultry business and breed chickens for sale.

Rwanda ? Trends-Pro Inc. ? Coop Enterprise won a grant of USD 17,120 to implement a project focusing on strengthening existing cooperatives especially in building up their capacities among others on Business plan development, marketing of their products, Risk management, Basic book keeping and Risk management.

Source: United Nations, 10November 2011 (IPS)


Starting Small to Reach Big Goals: The Ndakana Farmers Cooperative
To defeat some of Africa?s largest problems ? including poverty and hunger ? the Amathole Economic Development Agency (a.k.a. ?Aspire?) has decided to start small.? In order to help communities in South Africa?s Eastern Cape improve their economic stability and quality of life, Aspire is working to revive small town economies from the ground up, starting with a strong foundation for local farmers.

The cooperative will help farmers register for organic certification in order to take advantage of the market opportunities in the entire Eastern Cape ? such as this organic market in Durban. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack.)

In October, Aspire launched a business plan for the Ndakana Household Agroecological Support Cooperative, a group that will help farmers coordinate and organize together from the planting to the selling of their crops.? The goal of the cooperative is to build the infrastructure for sustainable agricultural development in Ndakana over the next ten years by promoting agroecological farming practices, developing food processing opportunities, and establishing market connections for local farmers.

Like many other farming communities in South Africa, Ndakana is made up of mostly subsistence farmers that raise a variety crops in their home gardens, along with sheep and goats.?? For the first two years of the project, Aspire will help organize 100 of these farmers into a cooperative and train them to compost, use manure as fertilizer, and install more efficient methods of irrigation.

Not only are many Ndakana farms already equipped with the animals and garden space to use agroecological practices, but this kind of organic farming can help farmers build resilience to climate change because it uses less water and doesn?t require expensive inputs, like synthetic fertilizer.? In order to help farmers transition to organic farming in the first couple years, the Aspire will provide training and mentoring as well as a nursery, seed bank, and irrigation aid.

If the new organic farms are successful during the first two years of development, the cooperative will expand into a commercial stage with up to 160 farms.? With the farmers? increased yields, the cooperative will also help build extra food storage units and facilities for packaging and processing so that they can better preserve their harvest.? Being able to store and package more food means that farmers will be able to market their food to areas outside of their immediate villages, helping raise incomes and build connections to other customers.

This commercial stage is important because expanding the cooperative will include helping farmers register for organic certification in order to take advantage of the market opportunities in the entire Eastern Cape.? Currently, nearly 80 percent of fresh produce consumed in the Eastern Cape is imported from other provinces, and up to 95 percent of the most popular produce is imported as well.? Under these conditions, organic and locally produced food from the cooperative will be very competitive because they won?t have to deal with increased transport costs or the hidden costs of the carbon emissions related to related the ?food-miles? of imported food. And while Aspire has found that some supermarket chains have agreed to purchase from local producers, their main goal will be selling directly to consumers through farmers markets or consumer cooperatives that have increasingly high demands for organic produce.

If this pilot plan is successful, the Aspire hopes that they will be able to expand the cooperative program to include up to 1,000 farms ten years from now.? With such a large cooperative, Aspire will work to establish distribution linkages with the broader organic and international fair-trade markets through partnerships with organic certifiers such as Bio-Dynamic & Organic Certification Authority. Ultimately, Apsire believes that the cooperative initiative has the potential to be replicated and extended to the one million rural householders across South Africa and hopes that this bottom-up growth will promote more equitable access to markets for farmers throughout the country.

Elena Davert is a research intern with Nourishing the Planet.


Village Hands Join to Save Forest for Juice
By Charles Mpaka

Seventy kilometres outside Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre, a profitable cooperative enterprise is providing villagers jobs and preserving forests.

The Zalewa forest in the southern Malawi district of Neno, like other wooded areas within reasonable distance of urban areas, has long been under pressure from people seeking wood for fuel.

A study released in May by the United Nations Development Programme estimated firewood provides 95 percent of rural household energy and 55 percent for urban households and that this high demand is causing rampant deforestation in Malawi.??Zalewa has been no exception. The area lies in a rain shadow zone, experts say. Rainfall is unreliable, and the land is often dry and difficult to till, forcing many people to rely on charcoal and firewood to make a living.

“Until around 2000, people here didn?t know that we could benefit from this forest in a more profitable way while also sustaining it,” says Tedson Kameta, a former charcoal maker.

He said one of the trees prized for charcoal production is the tamarind, a common feature of the Zalewa forest. Tamarind produces a hard, durable charcoal that lasts a long time in stoves.??But Kameta is today a member of the Village Hands collective, which has turned from chopping down and burning trees to harvesting wild fruit for a growing domestic market in Blantyre and beyond.

Locals had long soaked baobab and tamarind in water to make a drink. David Zuzanani, operations manager for Village Hands, says until a project came in the area in 1996, the villagers had no idea that they could develop that drink into a commercial enterprise.

In 1996, the non-governmental organisation Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM), with support from GTZ (the German Technical Cooperation agency), had established a forest conservation project in the area. The project had established indigenous tree nurseries and income-generating activities including bee-keeping, raising guinea fowl and making cane furniture as alternatives to making charcoal.

The project also improved and commercialised juice production, which has had the most lasting impact, according to the villagers.

“As soon as people realised they could make money out of juice and the fruits, they started raising awareness in their areas to protect the forest,” says Zuzanani, who also worked with the WESM project.

The cooperative now bottles as much as 10,000 litres of juice each month, putting training from WESM and GTZ to use in producing quality beverages that have been approved by the Malawi Bureau of Standards.

The juice sells for the equivalent of $1.60 in major supermarkets like Shoprite, and at service stations, bringing in an average turnover of about two thousand dollars per month. The coop employs 11 local workers full time in its one-roomed factory. Others find work here on a casual basis, sorting and peeling and breaking fruit.

Production is entirely manual – soaking fruit in three large containers, before pasteurising it and straining it for pulp. One innovative technique extracts additional nutrients from baobab seeds to give one of their juices a distinctive taste and brown colour.

The cooperative buys all its fruit from villagers. In 2008, Kameta made a hundred dollars from the sale of baobab fruit from his field. He bought three goats and feed for his dairy cow. Last year, he harvested 40 bags and made two hundred dollars. He plans to buy an oxcart and start raising guinea fowl.

Village Hands is managed by 14 trustees, including a chief from each village. Its board of advisors comprises business people, environmentalists and quality assurance experts. Its mission statement is to “use indigenous forests in the area in a sustainable way and with local business development to create an alternative source of income to charcoal production for communities”.

In years of good profits, they share the returns through financing a project that a trustee village chooses.

“Some villages have chosen orphan care centres. We have financed several such small projects. But we intend to grow the business so that we can finance bigger projects such as boreholes and school blocks,” says Zuzanani.

In spite of progress, charcoal production still remains the company?s number one enemy.??”We have protected forest zones close to the populated areas,” says Zuzanani. “These ones cannot be touched by anyone. The villages guard them. So much of the destruction is happening further off. Those people have money and they can corrupt anyone.

Chiefs are working hard to stop this but we also need the forestry department to help us.”??A forestry official at the main road block on the Shire River through which the charcoal passes to Blantyre confirmed the corruption. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said it was difficult for his department to control the trade.

“Government says [charcoal] traders should be arrested. That?s not practical. There is no law for that. Besides, there are economically-powerful and politically-connected individuals in the trade they would get you fired if you gave them trouble,” he said.

But the villagers think the company is the most important instrument for poverty reduction in the area.

“The factory is the best tool to improve living conditions for many people here, if it can grow. So we hope government sees what we?re doing and get these merchants out,” says Belita Ngomano, owner of a small grocery shop near where the factory is located.

She claims she and her husband opened the shop in 2009 with capital raised partly from selling tamarind fruits to the factory.

Source: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=56021


ILO Mobile Learning Toolkit: the Power of Ideas
Over 70% of mobile phones are in developing countries. To reach as many participants as possible, the Turin Centre is promoting a new Mobile Learning Toolkit that will enable trainers in developing countries to integrate mobile learning into their work.

The 98?page open source toolkit can be downloaded free from http://jenniferparker.posterous.com/mobile-learning-toolkit . It contains 15 mobile learning methods for trainers to choose from.? The methods are classified as content, tasks, feedback or support. They only require simple devices (basic mobile phones with voice calling and SMS capabilities). They therefore make interactive learning possible almost anywhere.

The Mobile Learning Toolkit includes an overview of mobile learning, a set of practical tools and recommendations for customizing the methods to teach the principles of managing agricultural cooperatives in developing regions.

The Mobile Learning Toolkit has been designed for all kinds of training within any development context.? Anyone can pick up the toolkit and be inspired to use mobile learning.


ILO: New ILO funds available for youth employment through COOPAFRICA

Facility
The ILO Cooperative Facility for Africa (COOPAFRICA) has been supporting youth employment through the promotion of cooperatives in East and Southern Africa for over three years. While focusing on the formulation and implementation of policies supporting promotion of employment for young people through self-help, the programme aims at strengthening the capacity of service providers in offering youth-tailored cooperative services. For instance, cooperative colleges in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda received support in upgrading their entrepreneurship and innovation curricula.

Moreover, the Programme co-financed a Challenge Fund targeting projects directly contributing to boost youth employment. As an example, the Wider Opportunities for Women and Youth Services Savings and Credit Cooperative in Uganda received support to offer young women workers in the sex industry an alternative and safer means of making a living through cooperative poultry farming.


Conferences and Learning

Summary of 5th Rural Finance Thematic Workshop for ESA
The theme of the fifth annual thematic workshop for East and Southern Africa was ?Role of agricultural and rural finance in accelerating economic growth?. The workshop was held 28?30 September 2011 at Crossroads Hotel, Lilongwe, Malawi. The significance of this workshop is seen from the fact that much of the world?s population is dependent on agriculture. UNEP attests that three quarters of the world?s 1.1 billion extremely poor people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their survival.

Evidence suggests that the GDP growth originating from agriculture is significantly more effective in reducing poverty among the poor, most of whom live in rural areas. With the benefit of hindsight, most researchers today now agree that investments in agriculture can increase income and food security?and do so sustainably. It is against this backdrop that the co-hosts of the workshop, the Swedish Cooperative Centre (SCC), the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), and the Rural Finance Knowledge Management Partnership (KMP) that is supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) that this workshop was held. A running message in most of the presentations is that despite agriculture contributing at the very least 30 percent of GDP in most Sub-Saharan African countries, credit to the agricultural sector still remains dismal. Only 4 percent of development assistance goes to agriculture. Not even the promised 10 percent of national budgets promised by heads of state and government in the Maputo Declaration has been attained. It is the role?and responsibility?of governments to boost agriculture.

The African Union is making efforts for African countries to commit themselves to the principles of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) through country compacts to increase budgetary allocation to agriculture. The future for African agriculture might just lie in cooperatives. Cooperatives are not new to the continent. Traditional institutions of helping and leveraging each other existed among African communities long before the word cooperative was coined.

Four sub-themes were discussed:

  • Making markets work for rural and agricultural Finance
  • Role of cooperatives in the delivery of financial services for rural outreach
  • Forging agricultural finance innovations for private investments into rural areas
  • Policy options for promoting national agricultural and rural finance

At the end of the three days, the workshop came up with the following key messages.


Policy Options
1. Support the development of national development plans and relevant strategies and policies that support agricultural and rural finance
2. Institute appropriate structures at the relevant ministries and in Central / Reserve Banks to coordinate agricultural finance and keep it on the development agenda
3 Strategic credit programmes by governments (especially for marginalized persons) should focus on improving ?factor productivity? rather than reducing cost of access to finance
4 There should be clear exit strategies for institutional and operational takeover by beneficiary communities or the private sector



5 Leverage the formal financial sector by de-risking agricultural and rural finance 6 Support mechanisms for linking formal to informal financial institutions (banks to savings and credit cooperatives / village savings and loans associations) rather than creating new credit programmes and new institutions such as development banks that experience shows have not succeeded in many African countries
8 Develop value chain financing products and approaches to spur development in the rural sector
9 The formal banking sector does not understand the agricultural sector. There is need to build capacity in and manage knowledge to support the banking sector
10 Natural resources management, financial literacy and entrepreneurship and skills development should be embedded into agricultural and rural finance advisory systems that support financing


Role of Cooperatives
11 Provide / enforce legal regulatory framework to improve governance in cooperatives and to drive key issues
12 Institutionalize mechanisms for creating awareness of cooperative policies and ensure they are enforced
13 Member education needs to be relevant especially in the roles and responsibilities of members to ensure sound leadership of cooperatives
14 Develop agricultural markets to spur innovative financing including working with the regional economic blocs (COMESA, EAC, SADC, etc.) for improved access to the regional markets


Making Markets Work
15 Support development of market information and institutions by addressing macro-level constraints and lobby for sector specific policies
16 Provide capacity building of small producers, traders, support services that focus on the sector/value chain in private markets and public service delivery
17 Support vertical and horizontal value chain development relationship and business in order to facilitate public?private dialogue and cooperation
18 Build confidence of financial institutions through use of an Aggregator model (Savannah Ghana or Dedeby Green Ventures Capital, Kenya) between the farmer and the banks to build confidence
19 Use value chain development to identify viable businesses that could be used to attract financial institutions and provide links to markets
20 Support inclusive market development that includes marginalized individuals on both the demand and supply sides
21 Facilitate systemic market development and leverage innovations (e.g. ICTbased innovations like MPESA, invoice factoring)


Conclusion

  • De-risking the agricultural sector is key to attracting private investment to increase outreach of financial services
  • Provision of holistic financial services should include markets, enterprise development and skills,
  • Research
  • Financial literacy is important for financial inclusion especially for low-income groups
  • Product design and innovation is required with emphasis on listening to clients and developing appropriate products
  • Quality of financial services should emphasise price transparency, responsible financial practices and risk management assessment
  • Strengthen farmer organizations to support small producers in advocacy
  • There is need for analytical evidence-based studies for policy dialogue, hence there is a role for universities to work closely with practitioners and communities

World Microcredit Summit Ends with Self-criticism, but with Commitment to Combat Abuse
Self-criticism over actions by some microfinance institutions, especially in India and Mexico, and the need to set up control mechanisms over the institutions, were some of the subjects discussed at the World Microcredit Summit that ended on 17 November 2011 in Valladolid.

More than a thousand delegates from nearly a hundred countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America participated between 14 and 17 November in the scheduled sessions of the event held at the Miguel Delibes Cultural Centre.

The delegates from institutions and public and private entities, professors and university students, NGOs and banks, attending the sessions presented the most critical case studies of people burdened with excessive debt due to micro-loans or abusive interest the institutions charge the beneficiaries in some cases.

On the third day of the summit, 16 November, criticism was leveled against Compartamos during one of the debates, over its extremely high interest (100 percent) that exposed some of the abusive practices by that institution that operates in Mexico. The same debate examined the case of SKS in India and its refusal to float on the stock exchange. However, institutions In a country with a 13 percent unemployment rate, the cooperative provides insurance and credit at low interest rates, but it also offers health services, housing credit, education in politics, and union organizing services, as well as artistic, athletic, and children?s activities.

?If there is no added value, there is nothing we have to give incentive to the workers who come to us,? Becerra Sterling said. ?We have to give them a dignified treatment,? he added. Bolivia?s Pro-Rural cooperative, by contrast, was designed as a new microfinance prototype. Rather than a traditional lending operation, it is considered a ?joint venture in rural financial services?, according the project?s executive director, Flavio Ralde Laguna. ?We do not just manage the funds and give out loans,? he told IPS, ?we actually invest with the producers.? Ralde Laguna said he had examined microfinance in Bolivia and found it unresponsive to production costs. He noted that rural producers often ended up ?paying? for banks? investment fears.

?With all these questions, we started thinking that maybe we should start with a new model, based on investments,? he explained, adding, ?We want to make the producers the actors.? Pro-rural takes on up to 49 percent equity at the outset of each project. The organization then provides training and? capacity building programmes, and once businesses and producers are comfortably established, the organization withdraws its original capital investments. ?So it?s not just like a mini bank with microcredits,? Ralde Laguna added. ?We are taking risks.? Through small regional investment funds and joint ventures, Pro-rural representatives hope to develop financial tools together with rural producers and go beyond the role of creditor to that of partner, explained Ralde Laguna.

According to Miquel Mir?, executive director of Fundaci? SEIRA, however, the world has witnessed a general decline in cooperatives. While he observed this chiefly in his home region of Catalonia, Spain, he noted a similar trend occurring worldwide in the aftermath of the 2008 economic recession, when small entrepreneurial cooperatives were especially damaged. But renewed microfinance initiatives could provide a solution. ?The technology, the information, the investment needed to create a business is very small,? Mir? told IPS, noting that these costs could easily be covered by manageable microloans. ?With a computer, a cell phone, and a table, you can work,? he added, referring specifically to knowledge-based businesses. Microfinance is key because ?conventional banks do not make small loans, especially for smallscale entrepreneurs,? he said.

Successful microfinance projects have the added advantage of private investment and public support. Becerra Sterling said he hopes to ameliorate public and private strategic alliances with Utrahuilca. For his part, Ralde Laguna said that Pro-rural is beginning to receive support from the Bolivian private sector. ?We are seeing that as opposed to just investing??? they are actually feeling more comfortable going through our channel, our initiative, to reach the producers,? he told IPS. The Bolivian government has also given its blessing to the programme, and internationally, Pro-rural has received support from the Inter- American Development Bank.

?They believe very much in the model,? Ralde Laguna said. But, he cautioned, this is only the first step. ?It?s not the only step,?? he added, ?and if you don?t address a more integrated and comprehensive approach, and follow up like we do, then you?re going to end up with a very big population that doesn?t have access to financial institutions.? ?We have to build great trust and great credibility in the cooperative so that the community feels that this cooperative is truly different,? Becerra Sterling said.


Investment and Innovation in Microfinance: Africa
Transform Your MFI: Comply With Regulation, Strengthen Governance, Increase Funding, Adopt New Technology

Date: 18?19 October 2011, Nairobi, Kenya

This year?s Investment and Innovation in Microfinance Summit: Africa, charted the transformation of Microfinance in Africa. Through a 3-day intense learning experience, 24 leading, global, Microfinance professionals delivered the tools and knowledge to: Implement new regulation; Increase funding; Strengthen governance; Measure performance and Adopt new technology If you would like to find out
more or purchase the conference documentation (including presentations and audio recording) from the event, please contact: info@hansonwade.com.

Next year?s conference will be taking place between 25?26 September in West Africa. If you would like to register your place and benefit from a 20% discount, please contact: amy. miller@hansonwade.com.


Impact Investing Summit
Advanced investment strategies for the bottom of the pyramid,

Date: 25?26 September 2012, Washington DC

?Impact Investing will reveal itself to be one of the most powerful changes within the asset management industry in the years to come? (JP Morgan, 2010). Are you ready? Do you know what your next profitable move will be? Are you sure that you are getting the best returns possible? Driven with a commercial goal
in mind, this year?s Impact Investing Summit will bring together investors from across the financial spectrum including commercial, institutional and private investors as well as the social entrepreneurs and MFIs they invest in. Together, they will arm you with the tools and knowledge you need to commit
to tomorrow?s most profitable impact investments from water and energy to health and housing.
What will the agenda cover?

  • How to effectively capitalize on impact investing: Shell Foundation, water.org and Calvert Foundation help you to uncover the investable opportunities in health, energy, housing and water
  • First hands insights on what is worth investing in: Find out where the highest returns can be found, which investments are offering the greatest traction and which impact areas are reaching scale to ensure you are minimising risk
  • Understand how to penetrate this market: Which loan products should you explore and what channels can you use? Where are the investable funds and what returns are available? 30 expert speakers answer the questions that are keeping you up at night
  • Standardising impact measurement: Too many tools are fighting for their corner in the market. Join the industry discussion that will help determine ONE tool that will monitor social performance, track intended impact and measure reputational exposure. GIIRS, Grassroots Business Fund and the
  • Rockefeller Foundation share their insights.
  • Who will you meet?
  • Institutional Investors
  • Commercial banks
  • Private investors
  • Foundations
  • Investment advisors and asset managers
  • Development finance specialists
  • Social entrepreneurs and MFIs


Agricultural Value Chain Finance Training

Where: Accra, Ghana
Date: 17 ?18 January 2012
Venue: Novotel Accra City
Center, Barnes Road,

At the Agricultural Value Chain Finance Training, participants will learn value chain concepts and how to assess risks and to identify strategic opportunities to strengthen value chains. The participants will recognize how cohesive value chains can be used to reduce risks and facilitate access to finance. They will also learn how to apply value chain financial products to meet the needs of various actors in the value

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