Empower Entrepreneurs in South Africa

 
$145
$855
Raised
Remaining
Jun 6, 2012

Microfinance brings new energy to South Africa

2012 has been named the United Nations’ “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.” In the UN’s own words, “Energy is opportunity. It transforms lives. Economies. The planet.”

Many of Opportunity's clients live in the sunniest parts of the world, but experience some of the darkest nights because of a lack of electricity.  In fact, over one billion people around the world lack basic electricity and rely only on kerosene light after the sun goes down. This energy poverty–a lack of access to electricity, fuel and more efficient cooking technologies–creates many safety and practical issues around the world.

In South Africa, microfinance is helping create more sustainable energy initiatives. CEO of Opportunity South Africa said that they have recently entered into a partnership with a supplier of solar-powered heating systems. Low-income clients of Opportunity in South Africa are able to finance these heating systems very inexpensively, significantly improving their quality of life by providing an easier way to acquire sanitary water for cooking, drinking, and washing.

Your gift to Opportunity South Africa will provide life-changing opportunities such as these to the entrepreneurs across the country who are continually working to lift themselves out of poverty.

Feb 14, 2012

The Importance of Microfinance in South Africa

There is a great need to build trust in financial institutions among South Africans, who are often denied access to credit from regular commercial banks. South Africa is home to over 50 million people but only has a life expectancy of 51.6 years. Less than 35 percent of the people hold formal employment, and poverty is rampant at the bottom of the economic pyramid. 

Opportunity South Africa started in 2006 in response to the country’s socioeconomic inequality and the high potential of its small and medium enterprises (SMEs). By equipping entrepreneurs with the tools they need to bring employment to their communities, Opportunity aims to be an important instrument of poverty alleviation in South Africa. Headquartered in Pietermaritzburg, Opportunity serves areas where unemployment hovers at 40 percent and people live in extreme poverty.

In a country where racial distrust had led to the deterioration of the culture of loan repayment, Opportunity was determined to succeed. Relying on academic and industry experts to help design products based on the needs of our clients, Opportunity South Africa offers micro- and small business loans and–very importantly–training to small business owners creating jobs and opportunities where there once were none. 

This project aims to bring millions of South African's closer to the day when they can safely deposit their savings, access loans to grow businesses, and purchase affordable insurance to protect their families—right in their own communities.

Take for example,  Thiembe Radebe, with Opportunity South Africa he has improved his welding business and been able to better provide for his family. See his image below. He is just one of the almost 5000 clients Opportunity serves in South Africa through our 5 branches. 

Nov 9, 2011

Activity Highlights

Opportunity South Africa serves 4,380 clients from five branches, a growth of 5% from 2010 year end, with a $6.4 million loan portfolio. Small and Medium Enterprise business loans and training are the backbone of our clients’ success in South Africa. Loans are disbursed individually rather than in groups and clients receive services that fit their small business’ needs. Loan officers provide extensive training to increase skills in financial literacy, business development, budgeting, marketing and planning. Opportunity South Africa is introducing credit life insurance to clients and their family members this year. 

Aug 12, 2011

Bank on South Africa

Bank on Africa
Bank on Africa

This summer, Opportunity International has launched the Bank on Africa campaign, designed to bring financial services to Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa. At Opportunity International, we are working toward the day when all South Africans can safely deposit their savings, access loans to grow their businesses, and purchase affordable insurance to protect their families- right in their own communities. You won't want to miss this campaign!

To learn more about Opportunity International's Bank on Africa campaign visit www.opportunity.org/africa.

May 18, 2011

Youth Take Action Against Poverty

The World Festival of Youth and Students in Pretoria took place in South Africa this past year, the largest youth festival in the world. More than 500 young people from around the world gathered to discuss social, political and economic issues that affect their generation. Youth represent a growing share of the population in many developing countries, particularly those like South Africa, where the adult population has been heavily affected by AIDS deaths. Based in Pietermaritzburg, on South Africa’s eastern coast, Opportunity has five branches providing economic opportunities to the marginalized.

In a country where racial distrust had led to the deterioration of the culture of loan repayment, Opportunity was determined to succeed. Relying on academic and industry experts to help design products based on the needs of our clients, Opportunity South Africa now offers micro- and small business loans and–very importantly–training to small business owners creating jobs and opportunities where there once were none.
These financial opportunities are empowering entrepreneurs like Beauty Zulu, who wanted to grow her tiny sewing business but repeatedly has been denied loans by big commercial banks. When she found Opportunity South Africa, they approved her for a no-collateral loan to buy extra sewing machines, enabling her to hire two people. Subsequent loans for more machines enabled Beauty’s small business to now support 23 employees, many of them formerly unemployed youth who are gaining training, job skills, and a paycheck.
Manfred Kuhn, CEO of Opportunity South Africa, is particularly proud of Beauty. He says, “This woman has truly benefited from the loan form OFSA. It is these clients that we are actively targeting as they can make the biggest impact on poverty alleviation in South Africa.”
If today’s leaders can listen to the ideas of tomorrow’s leaders at the World Youth Festival this week, and support smart solutions like microfinance, the future will be bright for the youth of South Africa and other nations.

Links:

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

Funded

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?
Support another project run by Opportunity International that needs your help, such as:

Organization

Project Leader

Ally Lynch

Oak Brook, Illinois United States

Where is this project located?