Spain’s Gawa Capital, the manager of the public-private partnership Huruma Fund, recently disbursed a loan of EUR 2.5 million (USD 2.6 million) from the fund to Coopérative Autonome pour le Renforcement des Initiatives Économiques par la Micro finance (CAURIE-MF), a microfinance institution in Senegal, with the objective of creating employment opportunities by expanding CAURIE-MF’s lending in Senegal’s agricultural sector. By 2025, CAURIE-MF aims to grow the number of smallholder farmers it serves from 9,400 to 17,000. In total, the cooperative serves about 85,000 people – mostly women living in rural areas – as of 2022. Among CAURIE-MF’s ongoing efforts is to digitize its agricultural lending process to reduce credit risk by taking into account information such as location data and crop yields.
Tomás Ribé, the Chief Investment Officer of Gawa Capital, called CAURIE-MF “a good example of an institution that is changing to support those most vulnerable farmers due to climate change.”
Based in the city of Thies, CAURIE-MF became independent in 2005 from its founding entities, Caritas Senegal, a member of Italy-based Caritas Internationalis, and Catholic Relief Services, a US-based NGO. The firm’s agricultural portfolio totals approximately EUR 5 million (USD 5.1 million).
The goal of Huruma is to improve financial access for small-scale farmers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. This is the fund’s first transaction in Africa. Huruma is led by Spain’s Compañia Española de Financiación del Desarrollo (COFIDES), a government-backed development finance institution. The fund has a volume of EUR 120 million (USD 140 million), of which three quarters is from private investors. As of April 2022, it had deployed EUR 45 million (USD 50 million) in debt and equity investments.