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PRESS RELEASE

BEI/12/162

Luxembourg, November 16, 2012

Celebrating Microfinance initiatives as a valuable tool in assuring food security

The winner of the 4th European Microfinance Award –

ASKI, supporting farmers in the Phillippines

During European Microfinance Week, held 14-16 November 2012 in Luxembourg, the 4th European Microfinance Award was presented to the Philippine organization Alay Sa Kaunlaran Inc. (ASKI) for their efforts to support the local Philippine agricultural sector.


The European Microfinance Award is jointly organised every two years by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Directorate for Development Cooperation, the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) the Luxembourg Round Table on Microfinance, and the European Investment Bank (EIB). It was created to highlight contributions to the sector and to support innovative thinking in microfinance.

In 2012, the 4th European Microfinance Award identified the issue of “Microfinance for Food Security” and focuses on microfinance initiatives which contribute to improving the supply of safe and better quality food and distribution conditions in developing countries.
Applications came from 15 countries, from Latin America (50% of them), Africa (30%) and Asia (20%). After a rigorous three phase selection process during which they were appraised, the High Jury selected from among the three finalists: ASKI, from The Philippines; Banco FIE, from Bolivia and Kompanion from the Kyrgyz Republic.

ASKI won the coveted award, gaining recognition for their micro-credit initiatives to improve food security, strengthen food distribution networks, increase yields and empower farmer communities.

Additional to international recognition, the award also encompasses a cash prize of 100,000 euros.

Mr Rolando VICTORIA, CEO of ASKI said: “To date almost 19,000 Philippine farmers are benefiting from these loans, which are making a valuable contribution to the needed food security initiatives of our country. We are honoured to receive recognition from such an esteemed Jury. We will use the funds to invest in further opportunities for the farming community which would provide them with additional sources of income to sustain the daily needs of their family.”

The two other finalists were also highly praised by the jury and by the public audience during the award ceremony.

Banco FIE (Banco para el Fomento a Iniciativas Económicas S.A), represented by Ms Elisabeth NAVA, CEO, is supporting food security in Bolivia through their exemplary role in sustainably financing the local farming community. To date, almost 13,000 farmers have been able thanks to FIE to access the agricultural loan making Banco FIE one of the five principal funders of the Bolivian agricultural sector.

Kompanion, represented by Ms Olesya PAUKOVA, CEO, is supporting food security in the Kyrgyz Republic through their comprehensive initiatives to improve livelihood opportunities for the local farmers and their communities. In 2011, Kompanion offered loans to close to 1400 farmers with about 100 specific participating to its ‘Home Garden Development Initiative’ (which comprises several technical assistance schemes and a credit component called Credit for conservation). It is aiming to promote biodiversity for long term nutrition benefits and sustainable land management.

The Award ceremony was hosted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) on November 15 where the award was presented by HRH Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, with Professor Muhammad Yunus, Chair of the High Jury, President of the Yunus Centre and Nobel Peace Prize 2006, in the presence of the Luxembourg Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Marie-Josée Jacobs, the President of EIB, Werner Hoyer and (by video link) the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs.

EIB President Werner Hoyer in his welcoming remarks congratulated all the finalists selected by the Luxembourg Roundtable on Microfinance, for their remarkable work and the results they demonstrated in promoting microfinance to alleviate food shortages. He also highlighted the important role of the European Microfinance Platform in coordinating actions of NGOs, donors, financial institutions and academics in promoting responsible microfinance, particularly in this specific sector, in trying to make financial inclusion for the poor a reality.

Note to the editors on the EIB and Microfinance

The European Investment bank has a long-standing track record in microfinance, supporting leading microfinance institutions, fund providers and stakeholders, helping them to address specific market failures and promoting financing solutions to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as to low-income groups.

Since 2003, the EIB Group has committed close to EUR 1 billion to microfinance activities, in nearly 50 countries inside the European Union, in EU Neighbouring and Candidate countries, and outside the EU, where the Bank is active across the sub-Saharan African, Caribbean and Pacific regions as well as in the Mediterranean partner countries.

Press contacts:

European Investment Bank: Sabine Parisse, +352 4379 83340, gsm : +352 621 459 159, s.parisse@eib.org

Website: www.eib.org/press - Press office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org

European Microfinance Platform: Niamh Watters, +352 2627 1356, +352 621 19 04 78, nwatters@e-mfp.eu

Presentation of the three finalists

Background on the European Microfinance Award and the 4th Award for Food Security

EIB President Hoyer Welcome speech

Photographs of the ceremony are available online

The EIB - Microfinance outside the EU

More information on the 4th European Microfinance Award: www.lrtm.lu


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