Oikocredit: Investments that really do change lives

Initiated by the World Council of Churches and established in 1975, social investing pioneer and co-operative, Oikocredit, invest in more than 800 social enterprise partners across 70 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and central and eastern Europe. We raise our capital via individual and organisational investors across Europe and North America.

Significantly, churches have always played an important role in Oikocredit with both the Church of Scotland and Scottish Episcopal Church being founding members alongside many churches across Europe
Oikocredit remains guided by the principle of empowering people in low-income countries. They believe that the most effective and sustainable means of assisting those in need is by providing them with an opportunity to create their own paths out of poverty through the instrument of investment.  Since 1975, Oikocredit has disbursed over €2 billion of its investors’ capital in 1,670 social enterprise partners (such as Divine Chocolate, Cafédirect and their co-operative farmers). They provide vital finance and technical support to the most disadvantaged communities in the world so that people can build their own ventures, whilst overcoming challenges such as financial literacy or the impact of climate change on crops.

Mercy Zaah, cocoa farmer and district vice president, Kuapa Kokoo cooperative. Photograph: Divine Chocolate

Investors’ capital is focused primarily on inclusive finance projects, small-scale agriculture and renewable energy. In 2015, the latter ensured that 46 million people (particularly women and rural communities) received vital access to finance as well as training and other services.

Oikocredit’s mission aligns with many of the United Nation’s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to reach by 2030.  Their activities, and related social impact monitoring, connect in particular with SDGs 1, 2, 5, 7 and 8.
Today, Oikocredit has become a unique, worldwide network of more than 51,000 individual and institutional investors. As part of Oikocredit’s 2020 strategy it aims to increase its development finance portfolio by 50% so that it can expands its reach and positive impact.

Investment is open to all institutions and eligible individuals via non-listed depository receipts in the Oikocredit International Share Foundation, which have historically created a positive social impact whilst generating an annual gross dividend.

For more information, visit www.oikocredit.org.uk

If your church or community is interested in a talk from Oikocredit please email our Scottish Colleague, David Cousland at david.cousland@fairfinanceagency.com.
Written by: Monica Middleton, National Director Oikocredit UK and Ireland.