A US Govt $20 million loan will help Catholic Church support development activities in sub-Saharan Africa
📌 Missio Invest Current Footprint
▪ Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria, Tanzania
▪ Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Cote D’Ivoire, The Gambia,
New York, US | THE INDEPENDENT | Missio Invest, an impact investor that provides loans and technical assistance to social enterprises operated by the Catholic Church in Africa, has secured a $20 million loan facility from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
Missio Invest, through Missio Invest Social Impact Fund (MISIF), has developed a unique model to drive change via the Church’s vast network of already existing social service organizations, the land attached to those organizations, and the people who run them in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It mainly works through priests and nuns already in the region, provides training, technical assistance and capital to create and sustain jobs, fight food insecurity and help combat the effects of climate change.
“Missio Invest is reaching the underserved and often overlooked communities of entrepreneurs in Africa, some 40% of whom are women, who we believe are real agents of change generating economic growth for the common good on the continent,” said Missio Invest CEO, Father Andrew Small after securing the $20 million Anchor Investment on March 17, 2021.
Missio Invest provides financing not only for agribusinesses, but also health and education enterprises as well as Church-run financial institutions that administer loans and banking products in underserved communities.
Father Andrew added that , “Unlike grants, MISIF’s loans act as catalytic investments, helping investees to create recurring local income to sustain and expand their social service programs. We believe that the Development Finance Corporation’s anchor investment is a testament to the strength of our impact investing model.”
Leveraging the Church’s presence in Africa of 74,000 Sisters and nearly 50,000 priests and brothers that oversee a vast pastoral network of schools and clinics, Missio Invest has grown significantly since its inception six years ago.
Its portfolio now supports 588,200 students educated in 668 schools and nearly two million people served in over 950 social outreach facilities. Missio Invest has made 40 loans totaling $4.5 million to 38 agribusinesses, one microfinance institution, and one school across six countries, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, and is actively expanding to other countries in West Africa (Ghana) and East Africa (Rwanda, Ethiopia).
An impact-first fund that evaluates success by measuring its investments’ effect on jobs, food security, resilience, and access to basic services, Missio Invest has supported 2,000 local jobs, trained over 4,300 farmers, generated over $3 million per year for local economies through wages and payments to local suppliers, and brought more than 9,800 acres of land under sustainable management.
Founded in 2014 by the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States (TPMS-USA), Missio Invest is a new vehicle to strengthen the network of crucial services in Sub-Saharan Africa, where Church-run schools and health facilities are attached to an abundance of farmable land, much of it underutilized due to lack of funds and commercial experience.
Hope for Kabingo
The Missio Invest initiative is not the only programme on the continent focusing on changing the fortunes of the societies they serve.
There are many others, including Hope for Kabingo (HFK), founded by Comboni Missionary Father Richard Kyankaaga that focuses on a little village in southwest Uganda.
The creation of the Hope for Kabingo Organization aims to change the fortunes of the community by boosting its education, health and economic vitality.
Among their programmes is a ‘Sponsor a student to defeat the cycle of poverty’ scheme, while improving their health, agricultural development and providing clean water.
The HFK programme is 11 years old now. (read full story here)
“It all started with a medical mission by our American friends who, I am sure thought were doing a one time experience in Africa. What has happened in these last ten years is difficult to describe in a few lines. The creation of the Hope for Kabingo Organization a couple of years later went ahead to set up priority goals. These priorities were in the fields of “Education”, “Health and Wellness” and “Economic Vitality”. These have generally been met in these last ten years,” wrote Father Kyankaaga on the 10th anniversary for HFK last year.
Father Richard was born and raised in Kabingo. He was ordained a Comboni Missionary Priest in1992. He has served God through the poor in the Arab World since his ordination. He is currently the Provincial Superior of Comboni Missionaries working in Sudan, Egypt and Lebanon.
He narrates that in the area of education, there has been an increase from 110 kids frequenting Kabingo High School ten years ago to a total of 900 in 2020. The number of sponsorships at all levels, from kindergarten to University has reached 400 kids and still growing.
“Over a hundred of these have completed their courses and are now employed in the different fields according to their training. The beautiful thing is that some of these are back to serve in Kabingo as teachers, medical workers or administrators in our different projects,” Father Kyankaaga said.
Father Kyankaaga add that, “In the area of health and wellness, we have held every year a medical camp program for two weeks in the month of July where over 3000 patients are treated each time. Our local clinic continues to serve the villagers through the year.”
In this same field, a water project started four years ago and currently serves 500 households with about 3000 people. This same project also serves the three schools in the area that have a population of over 1300 children.
” In the field of economic vitality, we have seen the development of a Women’s Bank where women can acquire loans to run their little business. We have developed a cooperative of basket weavers and these do hundreds of baskets every year which they put on sale to earn for their livelihoods.”
A few months ago another group has been created that produces both solid and liquid soap. Another successful activity in this field of economic vitality is agriculture where people are taught new and modern methods of farming.
“These activities are changing the face of Kabingo. I am sure someone who visited it ten years will not recognize it today. This has been possible thanks to the contributions from both our friends from the USA and the collaboration of the people of Kabingo. We think that the skies are the limit. We will continue to grow given the increasing number of young people getting educated and ready to give back to their community,” concluded Father Father Kyankaaga.