Together supporting microfinance
and microinsurance in the South

Microcredit

When you’re poor, you cannot get a loan from the bank. Rokia experienced this first-hand.
A microcredit is giving her the opportunity to turn her life around.

Rokia's story 

Rokia Degbevi from Benin has her own small cassava field just outside her village. It is far from big and it is hard work to scratch a decent harvest out of the arid African soil.

 

 

But Rokia is tough and hard labour is no trouble for her. Armed with a hoe and her two bare hands, she digs cassava roots up from the red soil for hours on end in the burning sun. At home, she makes these into gari, a local dish that she sells in the market in the mornings. This is how Rokia earns her own money.

Rokia has no lack of energy and determination. However, she lacks financial means. To grow the cassavas and make gari from these to sell at the market, she got a microcredit of EUR 45 from the local savings and credit cooperative.

With the profits from her sales, she has succeeded in paying back her loan after six months. A little profit is then left over for her, extra money that she can use to feed her children and send the oldest ones to school.

Once one loan is paid off, Rokia can take out a new one. Her little business is flourishing and the gari saleslady is proud of the results of her hard work. Thanks to the EUR 45 starting capital, she now has her own income and she can maintain her family.

Everyone at the market knows her and she is a respected entrepreneur. So it is also with pride that Rokia poses in front of her cassava field, which she has transformed with the help of a little credit into a source of personal income.

There are many Rokia's out there

Rokia’s story is a textbook example of what microcredits are all about: extending loans to poor people with an economic activity who are prepared to take action to improve their quality of life themselves.

People like Rokia cannot turn to ordinary financial institutions for the microcredits they need. This is due among other things to the fact that:

  • they are not creditworthy (they have no money or possessions, which they can put up as collateral)
  • the basic costs of a microcredit can be very high, in some cases higher even than the amount borrowed
  • they live far away from banks

Microfinance provides a solution for these people. Poor people can take out a microcredit close to home, and benefit from services that are tailored to their needs. 

The chance to live a dignified life

A microcredit is so much more than a loan.

Rokia’s microcredit gives her:

  • the opportunity to create her own income
  • independence (not only in financial terms)
  • a place in society and in the economy
  • the opportunity to improve her family’s quality of life
  • the opportunity to send her children to school

So a microcredit involves much more than creditworthiness. It involves human dignity, a dignified income, a dignified life.

Life as it is … : microcredits

A day in Honhoué, Benin.

Here, microfinance and cooperatives are a part of daily life.
The people of Honhoué explain how it works and what this signifies for them.