Internationally, Shared Interest has a team on the ground in Costa Rica, Kenya, Ghana, and Peru. The organisation opened its first overseas office in Kenya in 2006 and the latest in Ghana in 2012. This means that our Africa offices have each experienced winning a Queen’s Award, as Shared Interest was recognised in the Sustainable Development category both in 2008, and 2013.
Shared Interest Managing Director, Patricia Alexander said: “Establishing regional offices has been critical to the growth of our direct producer lending. In addition to the geographical advantages, we value the linguistic and cultural connection with our customers. This presence means that we have the local knowledge needed to help producers in rural or marginalised communities.”
According to a joint report by Dalberg and KfW cited in the Rural and Agricultural Finance State of the Sector Report 2019, there is an estimated annual lending gap of 100 billion US Dollars to the agricultural sector in sub-Sahara Africa. Shared Interest lends to smallholder farmers and artisans in this region, providing them with the opportunity to grow their businesses and improve their income.
Grace Akuba A. Kuwornu, Customer Representative in West Africa, said: “This Award is a reflection of our unwavering commitment to our customers.”
Kennedy Mwasi, Lending Officer for Africa said: “For me, this Award is true greatness. Many of our regions are on full lockdown, with only businesses providing essential services being authorised to operate. It gives us some positive news in these challenging times.”
John Dossou, Lending Manager for West Africa said: “Covid-19 is a major threat to livelihood of small producers in Africa. Winning the Queen’s Award at this time shows how vital our work is, and we must celebrate our services being recognised in this way. Now, more than ever, we need to offer producers ‘finance with a human face.”