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Dec 27, 2013

Thank You for Supporting Entrepreneurs

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. With 31.3 percent of the population living below the poverty line and 10 percent of South Africans holding 80 percent of the country’s wealth, those at the bottom of the economic pyramid lack meaningful access to formal banking services.

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 International aims to be a key player in eliminating poverty in South Africa. Headquartered in Pietermaritzburg, we serve areas of the Kwa Zulu-Natal province where unemployment and extreme poverty are commonplace.

Opportunity South Africa operates 10 branches that provide a variety of services to SMEs, including:

  • SME Loans: Opportunity South Africa supports talented enterprises with loans that generate employment opportunities within their respective communities.
  • Rural Expansion: Opportunity South Africa is focused on expanding its distribution network into rural townships through kiosks located in building supply and hardware stores—places where clients purchase equipment and supplies. Additionally, Opportunity South Africa now offers mobile banking.
  • Solar Water Heating (SWH): The global use of SWHs is driven by the socio-economic need for job creation, environmental concerns, energy security, national economy and peak demand reduction. Opportunity South Africa has entered into a partnership with a supplier of solar-powered water heating systems. We finance these solar water heating systems for our low-income clients.
  • Education Finance: Opportunity South Africa designed and launched the school fee loan product in response to the low rate of kids in school within the rural communities surrounding Pietermaritzburg and Durban. School Improvement loans are also available.

Opportunity International is closing this project and rolling it into a broader project that includes South Africa in addition to 7 other African nations in need of our help and financial services. Africa is home to 24 of the 25 poorest countries in the world, and 75% of its population lives on less than $2 a day. With this project, we are able to provide financial services to the poorest of the poor in Africa in a more impactful way. Please now see the project "Banking on Africa" number 7660. 

Dec 27, 2013

Thank You for Supporting Entrepreneurs in Africa!

Ranking 185 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index, Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest economies. More than half of Mozambicans live on less than $1 per day. Within this context, Opportunity International is reaching out to serve the most impoverished working people in Mozambique. Opportunity Mozambique’s operations began in 2005 when two existing microfinance institutions joined together in partnership with Opportunity International. With a focus on rural expansion, Opportunity Mozambique serves clients via hub, satellite and container branches, plus ATM and mobile bank vans.

  • Agricultural Finance: By supporting Mozambican farmers with comprehensive financial tools and managing partnerships throughout the value chain, Opportunity International is providing a successful example of how to improve farm productivity and alleviate rural poverty, enabling them to increase their yields at harvest time so they can send their children to school and put more food on the family table.
  • Holistic Transformation/Training: In 2012, Opportunity Mozambique developed and launched training materials for a financial literacy e-learning platform that uses a train-the-trainers methodology. In addition to group training, the bank also expanded awareness training to clients in Nampula, Quelimane, Chokwe, Chimoio, Beira and Manica on the importance of savingsinsurance, business plans and cash flow management. One financial literacy training program is geared exclusively to farmers.
  • Credit Life Insurance: Opportunity Mozambique offers clients the protection of a credit life insurance policy that includes funeral coverage. This policy, developed with the help of Opportunity International’s microinsurance subsidiary MicroEnsure, helps families maintain the progress they have achieved even when faced with life’s tragedies.
  • Cell phone banking: Clients will have access to cell phone banking in 2014. The bank and clients chose to join phone service carrier M-PESA because it allows clients the convenience of receiving loan disbursements through their phones.

You have made all this possible. But the problem is larger than Mozambique. Most of the world's poorest countries are in Africa. Opportunity International has decided to roll this project into a larger one focused on impacting 9 additional countries with services similar to the ones listed above. Please refer to the project Banking on Africa, 7660) for all future support. Thank you so much. Feel free to email us at with any questions about this.

Dec 27, 2013

Thank You for Empowering Entrepreneurs in Africa!

Malawi is one of the least developed and most impoverished countries on earth. Nearly 53 percent of its 15 million inhabitants live below the poverty line. Opportunity Malawi was granted a full commercial banking license in 2002 and opened its first branch in Lilongwe in 2003. The bank targets the economically active but marginalized Malawians living in underserved areas, including semi-urban and rural areas.

In Malawi, 85 percent of the population lives in rural areas. Our goals in Malawi and throughout most of Africa are to reach these remote communities. Opportunity International uses mobile bank vehicles, ATMs and point-of-sale (POS) devices in local businesses. This allows people to access services right in their own villages, saving them the time and cost of travel. Opportunity International also offers biometric fingerprint identification on an ID card, keeping a client’s savings secure.

Becuase of your support, we have been able to offer 11 customized savings products, including youth savings accounts in Malawi. We have also invested heavilty in farmers. This initiative serves rural farmers in Malawi and other African nations with agriculture-centric loans, training and support. 

Thank you for all of your support for the thousands of impoverished Malawians. The problem is larger than just one country. 24 out of 25 of the world's poorest countries are in Africa. In order to have the largest impact on this region, we would like to combine this project into a broader "Banking on Africa, 7660" project. This project spans multiple countries including - GhanaKenyaRwandaTanzaniaThe Democratic Republic of CongoMalawiMozambiqueSouth Africa, and Uganda. This project has the same mission and vision of #6647 which is to provide access to financial solutions empowering people living in poverty to transform their lives, their children’s futures and their communities.

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