BIO’s first investment in Paraguay

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In March 2014, BIO signed a senior loan agreement for USD 4 million with the Paraguayan bank Banco para la Produccion y Comercializacion (Bancop). The bank was incorporated in January 2012 and is the first cooperatively owned bank in Paraguay. The shareholders of Bancop are in fact the most important productive cooperatives in the country dedicated mainly to agricultural and livestock activities. They joined efforts to create a new bank with the objective of providing local producers an alternative for having access to financial products and services.

BIO is lending USD 4 million to Bancop to further grow its SME loan portfolio and increase its capacity to provide financing to rural smallholders. The loan will, among others, allow Bancop to provide increased funding to SMEs in rural and unbanked areas, which in turn will support the creation of employment and livelihood opportunities for a broader portion of the population.

This is BIO’s first commitment in Paraguay, a Lower Middle Income Country as ranked by OECD, with very high income inequalities and poverty levels. Cooperatives have been crucial in Paraguay’s development and by providing financial services to local producers in agricultural and livestock sectors, the pillars of the local economy, BIO contributes to the further development of the country’s private sector. The cooperatives of local smallholders still face difficulty in obtaining long-term financing from local banks. This limits their possibilities to increase their production levels and consequently improve their economic situation.