Letter from our managing director
Dear valued stakeholders,
With 2014 almost at an end, it’s a good time not only to reflect on the year’s achievements, but also to look forward to what 2015 may bring for us. We’ve had a good year in 2014, and experienced a number of positive changes as we continued delivering on our commitment to improve the lives of low-income earners.
This year was a year of growth and diversification for Oikocredit. Our development financing portfolio grew by 10.5% over the first nine months of the year to € 653 million at 30 September; staff numbers also grew, and we continued to invest in and support the expansion and strengthening of our activities. We opened a new agriculture unit to strengthen our ability to finance that sector of development, especially focusing on value chains and agricultural products that are local to the countries where they are produced. We also recruited a renewable energy expert who will work with the regional offices to grow a solid and sustainable portfolio in this sector.
In 2015, we will face increased competition and a low interest rate environment in both Europe and North America. However, we believe we are well positioned to continue the growth of our portfolio and to develop new products and sectors, and we will continue to invest in our business. We believe strongly in strengthening the MFIs and other businesses we work with, because it helps both us and them to achieve our respective social missions; in the end Oikocredit is all about serving people in low-income communities so they are empowered to realize a better future for themselves and their families.
Next year Oikocredit will turn 40, and we are looking forward to celebrating this significant birthday at the AGM week in Germany. On 11 June we will be in Berlin, which has a special place in the history of Oikocredit as it was there in 1974 that our founding members endorsed the cooperative which opened in the Netherlands the following year. Next year will therefore be a big one for us, and I look forward to contributing to another exciting chapter in Oikocredit’s history.
Heading into this holiday season, I want to thank you for your continued and ongoing support and look forward to another fulfilling year of investing in people.