Madrid, June 10 2021. Today COFIDES held the first “Meeting on technical assistance in financial inclusion”, to discuss the role of technical assistance in facilitating access to financial products. The meeting, which included presentation of the program, TIF, (acronym for Triple Bottom Line Inclusive Finance in Latin America), was led by COFIDES and AECID, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.
The purpose of the TIF program is to facilitate the access of low- income populations in Latin America to loans and finance and ensure greater social and environmental sustainability. The TIF program, supported by the Latin American Investment Facility (LAIF), is the first blending finance project led by COFIDES in Latin America in collaboration with AECID, through the Development Promotion Fund, (FONPRODE), and Team Europe. The TIF program funding provides for loans (€ 53 M approximately) and technical assistance (€ 5.75 M). The loan funds are provided by FONPRODE, through authorized financial service providers (mainly micro-finance service providers). Technical assistance payment is through LAIF EU funds. The aid of the TIF program is earmarked for lending financial institutions, to be applied by these to benefit both current and future clients.
Participants in today´s meeting included Spain´s State Secretary for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Ángeles Moreno; the European Commission Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jolita Butkeviciene; COFIDES Chairman, José Luis Curbelo, and the General Manager of FONPRODE, Carlos Jiménez.
The State Secretary for International Cooperation, Ángeles Moreno, underscored the importance of technical assistance for financial inclusion measures. “Thanks to EU funding, and COFIDES management, this is the start of a new ambitious program to provide technical assistance to over 50 financial institutions in Latin America, participating in this project. Combining technical and financial assistance is a great step towards the improvement, expansion and deepening of inclusive financial systems.” Furthermore, “technical assistance is essential to achieve the goal of making financial entities taking part in this program of financial inclusion stronger.” Finally, she has pointed out that an example of the TIF program’s relevance is that “seven FONPRODE borrowers have already been identified as recipients of technical assistance”.
The Director for Latin America and Caribbean, DG International Cooperation and Development, Jolita Butkeviciene, added that “At INTPA, we consider the TIF initiative the first step in our alliance with Spanish cooperation, through AECID and FONPRODE, which is now including a player such as COFIDES, who contribute a differential experience and a direct relationship with the private sector, making them a key partner. Expanding the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) to Latin America and the Caribbean provides us with new channels of cooperation where COFIDES and lAECID already have experience, but these are new products for these regions. We see a lot of potential in guarantee operations in open architecture finance and we are particularly interested in expanding our portfolio to support SMEs and digitization, where we believe we can help and complement each other very well”.
As José Luis Curbelo, Chairman of COFIDES explained, “TIF is our first technical assistance program, to encourage, with the funding support of FONPRODE, the financial inclusion of the business sectors suffering most. It is a key tool, necessary for proper identification, monitoring and evaluation of investment across the region.” To make TIF possible, “collaboration with LAIF in the new EU multiannual financial framework is key for COFIDES”. He further recognized, “the trust” placed by AECID to support management of the financial cooperation funds. Rounding out his comments, he stated, “We are proud to support the region’s efforts to overcome challenges and, among others, increase ‘green financing’ for small companies. Now more than ever, we need to join forces to achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda”.
Today´s session was comprised of three panel discussions: The role of technical assistance in financial inclusion; Green micro-financing in Latin America and Digital eco-systems post COVID-19, with the participation of various experts on technical assistance from Latin America, the European Commission LAIF program; Triple Jump Advisory Services, Green Inclusive and Climate Smart Finance Action Group (GICSF); CAF-KFW, Amarante Consulting Latinoamérica y Caribe, as well as potential beneficiaries of the TIF program.
COFIDES is a state-owned company which has been offering financial support to Spanish companies investing abroad since 1988. COFIDES is accredited to the European Union (EU) to manage funds coming from the EU budget, allowing the structuring of transactions with a high impact on development. COFIDES is also accredited to the UN’s Green Climate Fund (GCF) and can therefore structure operations on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Moreover, COFIDES is the exclusive manager of FIEX and FONPYME funds on behalf of the Secretariat of State for Trade attached to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and also supports AECID in managing FONPRODE funds. COFIDES’s shareholders include Banco Santander, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Banco Sabadell and CAF-Development Bank of Latin America.
AECID is the main management body of Spanish Cooperation and is oriented to the fight against poverty and to sustainable development. The Agency encourages the full exercise of development, conceived as a fundamental human right, with the fight against poverty being part of the process of building this right. To do this, it follows the guidelines of the V Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation, paying attention to transversal elements: the approach based on human rights and fundamental freedoms, the gender perspective, environmental quality and respect for cultural diversity; all in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. AECID belongs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation through the State Secretariat for International Cooperation.
The Latin America Investment Facility (LAIF) is one of the European Union’s regional blending facilities, aiming to mobilize funding for development projects by combining EU grants with financial resources from European and regional financial institutions, governments and the private sector.
LAIF promotes the mobilisation of funds from European and regional financial institutions, governments and the private sector to carry out sustainable development projects in Latin America.