The Huruma Fund, managed by GAWA and financed by the European Commission, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), through FONPRODE, COFIDES and private investors and savers, has closed its first deals in Panama, where it has invested a total of 5 million euros.

Centro Financiero Empresarial is one of the most inclusive Microfinance Institutions in Panama, offering financial products to MSMEs belonging to the “missing middle”, that is, those which are too large for microfinance and too small or too high risk for banks or private equity firms. The Huruma Fund will provide CFE with 3 million euros for projects that help meet the needs of underserved farmers.

CFE has a clear rural focus (61% of its customers), serves the farming sector through standard business loans, and intends to specialize in this market niche. Huruma’s technical assistance will support this strategy by helping to launch an agricultural product.

Likewise, the Huruma Fund has provided 2 million euros to Microserfin, a leading microfinance institution which belongs to the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, aimed at the financial inclusion of the most vulnerable micro-entrepreneurs in Panama. Microserfin is the only entity which offers a product that serves smallholder farmers through a method adapted to their needs, by financing activities such as cattle raising and corn cultivation. Microserfin has an agricultural risk system, which will be redesigned with digital tools.
Both entities have demonstrated decisive support for the farming sector in a small and highly fragmented microfinance market, providing new ways of improving their services for Panamanian farmers.
With these projects, the Huruma Fund has now surpassed 30 million euros in investments in projects in Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Panama.

The Director of Investments at GAWA Capital, Tomás Ribé, states that, “with these investments, the Huruma Fund is supporting smallholder farmers in Panama to fund working capital and fixed assets through two entities which are sound and established on the market”.

The Chairman of COFIDES, José Luis Curbelo, points out that “the Huruma Fund is a clear example of a blending project, as it has allowed public resources from the European Union, AECID and COFIDES to mobilize private investors, enabling the financing of the Fund and the technical assistance given by the EU to benefit a larger number of farmers”.

The Huruma Fund is the first project led by COFIDES within the framework of agriculture blending facilities in the European Union. Managed by GAWA Capital, it has 120 million euros contributed by the European Union, FONPRODE (the Development Promotion Fund) of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), COFIDES and private investors, thanks to the collaboration of CaixaBank Private Banking, which has distributed the fund through its national network. The objective is to provide access to loans to farmers in underserved rural areas in Latin America, the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. It includes a Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) to provide consulting services and training related to agriculture, and to help improve the entities the Fund invests in, enhancing the impact on excluded rural populations.

Established in 2010, GAWA Capital is the leading firm in impact investing in Spain, having mobilised over 195 million euros in public and private investments. Its objective is to improve the lives of low-income communities by promoting investing in social enterprises, while providing their investors with a financial return. GAWA was a pioneer in the introduction of impact investing in Spain, launching three funds which invest in emerging countries with an inclusive approach to market solutions for social issues.

COFIDES, a State-owned company engaging in the management of State and third-party as well as its own funds, pursues a number of aims: internationalisation of Spain’s economy, furtherance of economic development and fortification of the solvency of companies affected by COVID-19. In addition to the Spanish State, its shareholders include Banco Santander, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Banco Sabadell and Development Bank of Latin America (CAF).

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