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June 28, 2012

Success Story: Banking on Africa Campaign

By Diane Ferguson

Agnes is one of Opportunity’s first clients in the DR Congo, and she is now able to support herself and her family.In 2008, Opportunity embarked on its most ambitious effort to date, a $123.6 million Banking on Africa campaign to expand financial services for impoverished families throughout sub-Saharan Africa. With the partnership of our committed supporters, we’re celebrating the successful completion of this campaign and we’re confident we’ll reach our Banking on Africa goal: to reach five million African clients by 2015, impacting families, communities, and an estimated 30 million people in total.

Banking on Africa relied on a model of grant-funding for the initial development costs of each bank focused on people living in poverty. After that, today, most of the funding comes from client deposits, fueling bank growth from within the communities and attracting debt capital. This model has proven successful. And many of you also made contributions to the online, interactive part of the campaign last summer. We’re so grateful to the individual and corporate partners who helped us reach our goals. As of yearend 2011, our growth in Africa more than doubled the funds available for people in poverty. Thank you to all those that helped us get there.

Agnes (pictured right) is one of our first clients in the DR Congo. As the sole provider of her large family, she lived with the constant worry that she would not earn enough each day to put food on the table. In the past six months, this wife and mother of seven joined the Yunus Trust Group in Kinshasa’s Masina market. Agnes sells vegetables that she grows on her small plot of land. Having increased her daily income by 60%, Agnes has transformed herself into a provider and a businesswoman. Today she is able to afford school fees and has added meat as a source of protein to her family’s diet. With a renewed sense of hope, Agnes is already making plans to start a second business for her daughter to operate when she graduates from school this year.

Want to see Opportunity’s impact in Africa firsthand? Travel with us on an Insight Trip to meet the clients, staff, and experience the cultures of these places where we’re making a difference.