Eco.business Fund Board Visits Central America and Colombia14-07-17
To strengthen ties with partner institutions and to promote sustainable practices in the region, members of the Fund's Board of Directors and Investment Committee visited selected countries in Latin America.
Bogota, 14 July 2017 - Jens Mackensen, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Karim Ould-Chih, Chairman of the Investment Committee and the Development Facility Committee of the eco.Business Fund, paid a visit to Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Colombia, between 3 and 7 July, accompanied by representatives of the fund advisor Finance in Motion. The purpose was to experience first-hand the impact the Fund is having on its clients and on the final recipients of financing. Meetings were held with two partner institutions of the Fund and with selected end-borrowers.
The visitors had the opportunity to exchange ideas with Bancentro Lafise in Nicaragua and with Banco Hipotecario in El Salvador. The visit made it possible to strengthen relationships with strategic partners and gain more knowledge about the implementation of sustainable practices by financial institutions in the region. In order to deepen the understanding of the impact of financing on the final beneficiaries, the group also visited coffee and rice producers. In El Salvador, the country’s coffee growing region was visited, which is also very important in terms of forest conservation. There the group was able to visit the farms of two end-borrowers, who are fully convinced that the only way to cope with the effects of climate change is to maintain environmentally sustainable practices, for example, by renewing crops with plants that are more resistant to drought and coffee diseases, such as rust. The visitors had the opportunity to participate in a coffee tasting, which allowed them to appreciate the characteristics of the coffee gourmets produced in El Salvador. They also visited the coffee shop of an end-borrower, where special preparations of coffee are made using a variety of methods, such as French Press.
In Jens Mackensen’s words, “Being close to the market and, therefore, to our partner institutions, is one of the Fund’s key principles and a cornerstone of our success. This visit is a prime example of the importance of this approach, which strengthens relationships with our partners. We obtain first-hand insight into the demands of the sector and to the different players of the full value chain. This insight helps us to take the right strategic decisions and to continue providing tailor-made solutions to our partner institution, both in terms of financing as well as technical assistance.”
About the eco.business Fund
The eco.business Fund is spearheading the promotion of business practices that contribute to the preservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of natural resources, and climate change mitigation and adaptation through private enterprises. By providing financing for business practices that conserve nature and foster biodiversity, the fund seeks investments with both financial and environmental returns. The fund mainly provides loans to qualified local financial institutions that lend the money to eligible borrowers, which include holders of recognized certifications or those making improvements in line with conservation and biodiversity goals. The fund supports sustainable operations in the sectors of agriculture, fishery, forestry and eco-tourism.
The eco.business Fund leverages contributions from donors, multilateral organizations, and development finance institutions and funding from private investors to maximize outreach and impact. Seed capital was provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and by the German Development Bank KfW acting as main sponsor. Finance in Motion, a leading impact investing company, is also an investor.
Operating hand-in-hand with the eco.business Fund, the eco.business Development Facility provides high-impact technical assistance to local lending institutions and final borrowers.
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