Study tour heads to Dominican Republic
A microfinance borrower in the Dominican Republic
This year Oikocredit will be hosting two study tours, its first to the Dominican Republic. A group of volunteers, members and investors of Oikocredit in Canada and the USA will visit partners across the Dominican Republic from 27 April to 2 May 2014. The second tour heads for Bolivia in May.
The annual tours are designed to give Oikocredit investors, staff and volunteers the opportunity to learn more about the financing of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and agricultural enterprises. Study tour participants will have the opportunity to meet with staff of Oikocredit and experience how Oikocredit contributes to financial inclusion and women’s economic empowerment in rural and urban areas of Central America.
Why the Dominican Republic?
For many years, the Dominican Republic was primarily an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, with majority of its inhabitants employed in the agricultural sector. Nowadays, with most of the population employed in services such as telecommunications and tourism or industry, the agricultural sector only employs 5.8% of Dominicans. Despite steady economic growth; the country remains poor, with a gross national income per capita of US$ 5,400, as opposed to $US 52,000 in the USA. Approximately 35% of Dominicans live in poverty. In rural areas, even more. For all of these reasons, Oikocredit supports various microfinance institutions and agricultural businesses to provide people with access to finance.
What Oikocredit’s brought to the region
Oikocredit established a country office in the Dominican Republic in 2008; however, operations in the country began a decade earlier. Today, the Oikocredit country office has a diversified portfolio totalling almost € 11 million, divided into loans and credit lines for 13 partners, 11 MFIs and two agricultural fair trade partners.
As well as providing financing, Oikocredit Dominican Republic promotes social performance management (SPM) among its partners. All partners value their clients and the communities they serve, with many providing programmes aimed at social and economic development.
Participants of the study tour will visit partners of Oikocredit to see first-hand the financial and social benefits Oikocredit has brought to the country. This will include meeting borrowers and employees of three microfinance institutions and a fair trade and organic cocoa partner.