International micro-lending allows investors to invest in micro-businesses in developing countries through an intermediary organization in Canada or capital matching platform which conducts due diligence and provides matching services designed to link investors with impact ventures.
To gain a better understanding of international microfinance, watch this video produced by Kiva.
Example – Oikocredit Canada
Oikocredit Canada is an example of an intermediary organization offering microfinance investment opportunities to Canadians. An international organization, Oikocredit boasts 52 000 investors backed by a network of volunteers and staff tasked with attracting investments in 15 different countries. The following videos provide examples of their work and detail the impact of this type of investment:
Oiko Credit Corporate video
Cocovico Cooperative Market, Ivory Coast
Kiva.org is an example of a capital matching platform. Kiva enables people worldwide to lend as little as US $25 to the entrepreneur of their choosing. Investments made through Kiva are interest free, but the capital invested is returned to the investor at the end of the loan term. The current rate of repayment stands at 98.96%.
The Story of a Kiva Loan is a video which explains the Kiva investment program. The following page provides examples of risks involved in lending online through Kiva.
Strengths and weaknesses
- High, direct, generally measurable impact
- Loans help communities spur economic growth and build productivity but are not intended to replace donations which remain key for the provision of health care, education and emergency relief during humanitarian disasters.
- Albeit competitive, interests rates charged to the poor loan recipients can be alarmingly high. To provide for financial sustainability, microfinance institutions sometimes relinquish their social function and charge excessively high interest rates to boost profitability. Others yet tend to cut back on their portfolio of very poor borrowers to reduce overall risk. (Source : Microfinance Gateway)
- Precious few financial planners and advisers know much about international microfinance investment options, and have no monetary incentive to refer investors to them.
Want to know what happens to your microfinance investment cheque? Click here.
Some organizations such as Oikocredit provide investors with impact reports.