Three questions to Raphaël Appert, Managing Director of CA Centre-Est Regional Bank
Raphaël Appert sits on the GCA Foundation Board of Directors. He also chairs its Project Committee
How do you assess the work carried out by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation over the past eight years?
In eight years, the Foundation has succeeded in developing an original model of a not-for-profit foundation: it pursues a social mission for fighting poverty in developing countries through financial instruments. It is very close to our Group but pursues a social mission completely independent of the commercial interests of Crédit Agricole, although fully integrated into the Group's strategy. It combines financial professionalism with a strong commitment to the challenges of development, food security and financial inclusion.
During this period, the Foundation has reached a specific position in the field of microfinance and social business. It was able to manage its endowment in a responsible way to accompany microfinance institutions in areas where often the other funds do not intervene although it still has to find the right balance for its business model. Today, it supports 48 MFIs and has invested in 14 social business companies in 28 developing countries. The Foundation has also launched an Investment Fund entirely dedicated to investing in the capital of social business companies while helping to promote an innovative model of agricultural microinsurance based on weather data indexes, to protect small farmers against climate risks.
For me, the Foundation is an essential and necessary tool for fighting poverty that, personally, opens the world to me and constantly reminds me that economics and finance are worth only if used for the good of humankind.
In your opinion, are the actions of the Foundation consistent with Crédit Agricole's DNA?
The Foundation's actions cannot, in my opinion, be more consistent with the mission and essence of Crédit Agricole. It was the cooperative values that led to the creation of Crédit Agricole in the 19th century. These values of solidarity, responsibility, sustainability, proximity and service constitute the very basis of the Foundation's work with the microfinance institutions it finances and the social business companies in which it has invested. These are values that the Foundation develops on a daily basis and which it reinforces by committing itself in the field of microinsurance, which aims to protect small farmers in developing countries. The values of proximity, responsibility and solidarity in particular, which are the founding values of Crédit Agricole and which are intimately linked to its cooperative identity. Each entity of Crédit Agricole shares the belief that they are not only modern but also key factors of robustness and development, as does the Foundation.
According to you, what are the common points between the mission of the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and that of Regional Banks?
The Foundation's mission is to fight poverty in developing countries. To this end, it has taken up to help disadvantaged populations by facilitating their access to essential goods and services, primarily micro-financial services such as credit, savings or insurance. To do so, the Foundation encourages the development of local microfinance institutions and social business companies it helps to finance.
In the same way, Regional Banks meet the expectations of their customers and their territory, in particular when these expectations are in line with its core business (bancassurance), and bear the Crédit Agricole corporate values, namely values of proximity, trust, solidarity and human support of a territory. These same values the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation shares and contributes to develop through its partnerships.