Washington D.C., December 21, 2004—The
International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World
Bank Group, and the Kenyan company Honeycare Africa Limited have signed
a loan agreement worth $178,000 for strengthening the company’s Kenyan
Honeycare is a socially responsible Kenyan small business that sells hives
to local subsistence farmers and then buys their honey at guaranteed prices.
The market Honeycare creates for locally produced honey increases incomes
in rural areas with few economic opportunities, typically doubling local
beekeepers’ income. Honeycare also provides training in beekeeping and
equipment and technical support to the farmers, helping increase entrepreneurial
values in local communities. Many of these farmers are women and earn less
than $1 a day. To date, Honeycare has provided sustainable economic opportunities
to more than 2,500 poor farmers in rural Kenya.
With the assistance of IFC’s Strengthening Grassroots Business Initiative,
Honeycare intends to refurbish and upgrade its processing capacity to meet
international standards, strengthen its management information systems,
and increase its level of extension services to the beekeepers, collection
centers, and distribution facilities. This will enable Honeycare to increase
geographical coverage in Kenya, assist a larger farmer segment, and enter
the export market.
Honeycare started its relationship with the World Bank Group in 2002 when
it won a Development Marketplace Award. The Development Marketplace
is a competitive World Bank program to identify and support innovative
grassroots development ideas that can be expanded or replicated elsewhere.
Strengthening Grassroots Business Initiative
Jointly with the World Bank, IFC has launched a new initiative to support
efforts by poor, marginalized people to expand revenue-generating activities
that bring them into the market economy. This initiative can provide
technical assistance or patient capital investments to strengthen organizations'
access to markets, management capacity, and capital structure. Recipients
can be not-for-profit or for-profit. The initial focus is to provide
direct support to pilot projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The
initiative will also seek effective ways to reach a wide range of grassroots
businesses and promote a wholesale approach to supporting this sector.
For more information, please visit www.ifc.org/gbo
The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org)
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries,
helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private
sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international
financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44
billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143
companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio
as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held
for participants in loan syndications.