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).
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and RLB NÖ-Wien will support investments in small and medium-sized renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Austria. The EIB will make a framework loan of up to €100 million available to the Austrian regional bank, which will then create a credit portfolio of up to €200 million for financing clean energy projects.
VieCuri Medical Centre has taken out €160 million in loans with the European Investment Bank (EIB), Rabobank and the Dutch Guarantee Fund for the Healthcare Sector (WfZ) to fund its major investment plan. This will cover projects including the renovation and expansion of the operating theatre complex and medical imaging department in Venlo, a new building in Venray and sustainability investments, as well as vital ICT innovations such as electronic patient files.
The EIB Group, consisting of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), has issued a guarantee to AS Citadele banka to support new lending to companies based in all three Baltic States. The Group’s first agreement with AS Citadele banka, the deal will provide capital relief for the bank and enable it to grant at least €460 million in additional loans and leases to businesses in the Baltics over the next three years. Against the uncertainty of the current economic climate and geopolitical situation, the agreement is especially welcome and affirms EIB Group’s status as a countercyclical investor.