Empower Entrepreneurs in South Africa

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. 


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

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Project Leader

Ally Lynch

Oak Brook, Illinois United States

Where is this project located?