37 microfinance institutions from 23 developing countries contended for this award, which this year focussed on “microfinancefor housing”.
The 2017 European Microfinance Award honours a microfinance institution, based in a developing country, that implemented innovative solutions to support access to better quality residential housing for low income, vulnerable and excluded groups, with no or limited access to housing finance in the mainstream sector.
The Cooperativa de Ahorro y Préstamo Tosepantomin helps marginalised rural Mexican communities with their residential housing building projects by offering savings and home loan products paired with technical support. The cooperative is also recognised for its promotion of eco-friendly building techniques.
This award, a EUR 100,000 prize from the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of Luxembourg’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, was given at a ceremony held at the European Investment Bank, in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses the Grand Duchess and the Hereditary Grand Duke.
The President of the High Jury, His Royal Highness the Hereditary Grand Duke, has said he was “very impressed by the respect this initiative shows for the natural environment and its degree of rooting in the local community, which fosters the trust of indigenous populations”.
The Award, which pays tribute to the importance of microfinance in the fight against poverty, addresses economic and social issues impacting low-income families and communities. What caught the attention of Mr Romain Schneider, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and also a member of the Grand Jury: “Thiscooperative does not only adopt a holistic approach to the multiple housing issues, but also promotes environmental responsibility in a truly remarkable way.”
For his part, Dr Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, also underscores the importance of such an award for the sector. “Withat least 1.6 billion people living in substandard housing conditions, the need for better housing solutions is pressing. The microfinance sector, which responds to the needs of the financially excluded, is heeding the call to provide housing loans to low-income groups unserved by the traditional financial sector. I am convinced that we can all learn from the example set by the contestants in this year’s competition, and especially by the winner of the 2017 Award: Cooperativa de Ahorro y Préstamo Tosepantomin.”
New this year, the two finalists, Mibanco from Peru and The First MicroFinance Bank- Afghanistan, each received EUR 10,000.
The only one of its kind in the world, the European Microfinance Award was launched in October 2005 by the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to nurture innovative microfinance initiatives. It is jointly organised by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) and the Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg (InFiNe.lu).
UCI has become the first Spanish financial institution to receive the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) programme for the development of its Residential Energy Rehabilitation (RER) project over the next three years.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and UniCredit Bank Serbia (UniCredit) have officially launched a €30 million credit line aimed at supporting the employment, professional training and long-term retention of people from vulnerable social groups. These funds will enable UniCredit to on-lend to Serbian companies that are committed to improving the social impact of their businesses and creating long-term employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for women, young people and segments of the population that face higher entry barriers to the labour market. Representatives of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the EU Delegation to Serbia attended the launch ceremony, expressing support for this kind of socially-oriented financial instruments.
The European Investment Bank is expected to strengthen backing for climate action, clean transport, renewable energy, healthcare, education, agriculture and business in Ireland, in addition to enhancing support to sectors such as energy efficiency and peatland’s rehabilitation, following the meeting of the Ireland-EIB Financing Group held at Department of Finance today.