Alterfin is a cooperative society which was set up in 1994 and stems from a collaboration between NGOs and banks. The Alterfin membership numbers around 6,000 private citizens, social organisations (like the Damien Foundation, SOS Faim (SOS Hunger), Réseau Financité (Alternative Financing Network), Entraide et Fraternité (Mutual Aid and Fraternity), Oxfam Wereldwinkels and Oxfam Magasins du Monde (Fair Trade Shops) and a number of companies.
The objective of Alterfin is to help build a financial network that is accessible to groups of socially and economically disadvantaged people in developing countries who rarely have access to financial resources.
Alterfin raises capital in Belgium and invests it in microfinance institutions and organisations active in sustainable agriculture.
The Alterfin Vision
Close on 1 billion people - mainly living in the Southern Hemisphere - have to manage on an income of less than 1 euro a day. To get out of that poverty trap, many of them use the few means they have to set up small businesses or engage in commercial or production activities, usually in the informal economy. More often than not, these small entrepreneurs or farmers do not have any or have very little access to credit, a lever that would in fact allow them to improve their situation. They need capital to invest in and expand their businesses. Their main problem is that they do not have any access to loans. The local financial institutions often have very little money at their disposal or feel that these particular applicants are not creditworthy. In other cases, there simply are no local lending institutions to approach.
Alterfin wants to enhance human dignity in the developing countries by promoting individual and collective economic activities that contribute to sustainable development.
To do so, Alterfin raises capital in the North that is ethically invested in the South. By subscribing to Alterfin shares, you contribute to the capital that is used to sustain Alterfin's social mission.
Thus, Alterfin forms the link between people living in the North who wish to invest some of their money in a meaningful way, on the one hand, and the organisations in the South who extend loans to small entrepreneurs and farmers to help them build a better future.