6th European Microfinance Award won by Crédit Rural de Guinée

20 November, 2015

The 6th European Microfinance Award is won by Crédit Rural de Guinée for its Innovative Response to the Ebola Outbreak starting in early in 2014. This year, the Award's theme was Microfinance in Post-disaster, Post-conflict Areas & Fragile States. 

The winner

Crédit Rural de Guinée (CRG) has been announced as the winner of the 6th European Microfinance Award, focusing this year on Microfinance in Post-disaster, Post-conflict Areas & Fragile States, for its innovative response to the Ebola outbreak in Guinea. The Award was presented during European Microfinance Week by Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, during a ceremony on 19th November held at the European Investment Bank (EIB) Headquarters in Luxembourg.

Crédit Rural de Guinée (CRG) was hit by the Ebola virus outbreak beginning in early 2014. Unlike many others, CRG continued to operate, while taking special measures to prevent infection and protect both clients and staff. This included contacting clients and processing payments by phone, rescheduling loans for affected entrepreneurs (including cancelling debt in cases of death), continuing disbursement of new loans, and providing clients with the means to withdraw their savings. CRG also provided grants to the families of staff who were victims of Ebola. In addition, CRG launched a national awareness campaign to inform clients and the general population of measures to prevent the transmission of the virus. Over 4,000 people participated in these sessions. With support from the World Food Programme (WFP), CRG is currently distributing compensation to over 1000 Ebola survivors who continue to be stigmatised by their communities, as well as to 55,000 affected families.

Three finalists, selected out of 47 applications from 28 countries

CRG was one of three finalists for the Award, alongside First Microfinance Institution (FMFI-S) from Syria, which has been operating in the country since 2003, including throughout the civil war that has ravaged the country and its people for the past four years, and Taytay Sa Kauswagan Inc. (TSKI), from the Philippines, which suffered a devastating earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. These three finalists were selected from an impressive list of semi-finalists, which in turn were selected from the original 47 candidates from 28 countries. The semi-finalists are Al Amal Microfinance Bank, Yemen; Fonkoze, Haiti; Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF), Philippines; PAIDEK, Democratic Republic of Congo; Palestine for Credit and Development (FATEN), Palestine; Rural Finance Initiative, South Sudan; Standard Microfinance Bank, Nigeria. 

To know more about all three finalists, watch their videos here!

The important role of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in offering (financial) relief in contexts of post-disaster/post-conflict

In light of the greatest refugee crisis since WWII engulfing the Middle East and Europe, along with the growing threat of natural disasters due to climate change, the Award highlights how MFIs can operate in post-disaster/post-conflict areas and provide critical financial and non-financial services to clients at a time of their greatest need.

The importance of these services was highlighted during the ceremony by the inspiring keynote address of amongst others Mr. Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)Dr. Werner Hoyer, President of the EIB, welcomed the finalists, dignitaries and microfinance practitioners from around the world attending the annual European Microfinance Week in Luxembourg. He emphasized the EIB's proudness of supporting the European Microfinance Award and the active promotion of stability and economic development also beyond European borders. Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg announced the winner, adding “Even in times of war, epidemics and natural disasters, institutions such as Crédit Rural de Guinée have continued not only to provide services to their clients, but also to adapt their services to the needs of their population.”

A final word from the winner: planned purpose of the €100,000 prize

When accepting the prize, the Director General of Credit Rural de Guinee, Mr. Lamarana Sadio Diallo said: “We are proud to accept this Award and will use the €100,000 prize to continue supporting clients, mitigating the impact of Ebola and boosting the solidarity fund to help clients increase their resilience against the outbreak and economic challenges”.

To read the full press release and/or for press contacts, click here.

The European Microfinance Award was launched in 2005 by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs – Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, and is jointly organized by the Luxembourg Development Cooperation, the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), and the Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg (InFiNe.lu), in cooperation with the European Investment Bank.

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