How MFIs provide stability in the turmoil of Central America ?
In an ever-changing world, Central America is no exception. To the contrary, people living in this region have to deal with many challenges such as climate change affecting agriculture coupled with high prices volatility of commodities, political instability, massive migration flows and dependence on remittances just to name a few.
In this context, how can the microfinance sector help poor people stabilizing their everyday life and building their future while maintaining its own financial sustainability ?
Geert Peetermans, Senior Managing Partner & Chief Investment Officer at Incofin Investment Management,took us through the global socio-economic context as well as the leading trends driving the microfinance sector in this region.
The Microfinance Lunchbreak welcomed Juan Luis Moreno and René Banegas, two seasoned microfinance institutions managers from AMC in El Salvador and Pilarh in Honduras. They shared with us their ambitions and challenges while Marjan Justaert, journalist at “De Standaard”, made a lively debate out of it.
Geert Peetermans, Senior Managing Partner & Chief Investment Officer, Incofin Investment Management
He has obtained a Master Degree in Applied Economic Sciences from the Catholic University in Louvain. After spending several years in development cooperation in Latin America, he co-founded Incofin in 2001 and holds the function of Chief Investment Officer.
He is Senior Managing Partner of Incofin IM, an impact investment firm with AUM of close to 1 Bn USD. Incofin invests in financial inclusion and the food/agriculture value chain with a range of debt and equity funds.
Currently, he is also a Non-Executive Director of Khushhali Microfinance Bank in Pakistan and of Kenya Women Microfinance Bank in Kenya.
René Banegas, CEO of Pilarh Honduras
Proyectos e Iniciativas Locales para el Autodesarrollo Regional de Honduras (PILARH) was created in 2008. It provides small loans to rural micro entrepreneurs, especially those involved in agricultural activities. In addition, it provides other services and products such as savings and deposits aimed at improving the socioeconomic situation of its clients.
Pilarh has 11 branches, 132 employees and 24.000 customers.
Juan Luis Moreno, CEO of AMC El Salvador
AMC is (today) a non-regulated cooperative MFI founded in 2000.
Headquartered in San Miguel, its network consists of 14 agencies and 4 service points in 12 departments of the country.
AMC has 168 employees and 15.000 customers.