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Alterfin CVBA
Equity & withdrawable shares

Provides working capital to microfinance institutions (MFIs) and Fair Trade producers

Alterfin is a co-operative society established under Belgian law in 1994. Alterfin's shareholders are nongovernmental development organisations, banks and more than 2500 individuals. Alterfin is financing microfinance institutions and fair trade producers in Latin America, Africa and Asia. It contributes to the construction of a financial network in the South that is accessible to small entrepreneurs and farmers.

Alterfin's mission is to achieve human dignity in developing countries by promoting individual and collective economic activities, which, started up locally, help to achieve sustainable development.  Their vision on poverty and development in the South is related to a vision on dealing differently and ethically with money in the North. Alterfin wants to link people in the North willing to invest their money in a sensible way to organizations in the South that extend credit to local entrepreneurs and farmers who can use such a loan to build a better future.


Shares are the most important financial product for Alterfin. The share capital constitutes indeed the financial basis that allows Alterfin to execute its investments.

Every investor is entitled to an annual dividend (participation in the profits) as far as the General Assembly decides to pay out a dividend. The dividend is the annual financial compensation participation in Alterfin. Alterfin's activities have been profitable since 1998. Since the year 2000 Alterfin has been able to pay out an increasing dividend on the basis of its results (between 3.5% and 4% since 2008, 3.75% in 2011).

At the end of June 2012, the capital amounted to USD 27.9 million owned by 2,670 shareholders. Private persons are the largest contributors to the capital of Alterfin: they brought together USD 22.5 million (81% of the total share capital). The rest is represented by NGOs, companies or other institutions.

Investment Criteria

Alterfin’s investments have to comply with a set of financial and social criteria. All financing requests are assessed by a credit committee which takes into account both types of criteria. Regarding the social relevance, the credit committee makes sure that:

  • The project provides social and economic benefits to marginalised people. Profits should be used to the benefit of those people.
  • These people are involved in the project in an organised way. This involvement should be reflected in the property structure.
  • The project uses as much local human and natural resources as possible in order to keep the ecological impact as low as possible.
  • The project not only benefits marginalised groups, but is also economically, socially and culturally meaningful to the broader community that goes beyond those groups.
  • The project takes into consideration the proper tasks and responsibilities of men and women and aim at a fair distribution in this respect.
  • There is no doubt about the bona fide character of the project organisation.

Social Impact

By year-end 2012, Alterfin was managing a portfolio of over US $50 million, directly financing 112 partners in 24 different countries.  52.5% of Alterfin’s portfolio is invested in microfinance institutions, and the rest (47.5%) is invested in farmer cooperatives and their value chain companies.  This reflects the policy of Alterfin to keep a balance between investments in microfinance and investments in sustainable small-holder farming.

At the end of 2012,  partners were working with around 1,210,000 microfinance clients and 75,000 producers throughout the world.  Of these 1,285,000 clients or producers, 50,675 persons (and their families) were being reached through the funds of Alterfin; further, 67% of these clients are women, and 70% live in rural areas, where the need of financial services is greater.  Many of Alterfin's microfinance partners offer more than business loans alone; 57% also provide other financial services to their clients, including savings accounts and insurance, 65% offer women's empowerment services, 61% offer adult education services, 45% offer micro-business services, and 14% offer health-care services.  Of Alterfin's agricultural partners, 91% of Alterfin's are Fair Trade certified, and 85% are organic certified.  A growing number of these partners also require environmental policies for themselves (50%) and their clients (43%), so that finance activities do not have a negative impact on the environment.




Transaction restrictions:

Minimum: £215.00
In multiples of: £215.00

Alterfin CVBA

Impact sectors:

Fair trade
Sustainable agriculture
Impact locations:

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