"Leaving no one behind" is the motto under which the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations were adopted in September 2015. The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals from the year 2000, which they are intended to expand and complete at the same time. The 17 SDGs with a total of 169 sub-goals understand the term sustainability comprehensively in its three dimensions: economic, social and ecological. If the SDGs are to be achieved by 2030 as targeted, major efforts are still necessary. Even before the spread of the Corona virus, the global community was in danger of missing the targets, which is why the United Nations has declared the remaining time a "Decade of Action". The pandemic and its economic impact have further exacerbated the situation. Redirecting private capital (estimated volume worldwide: 317 trillion US dollars) into sustainable economic sectors and activities that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals is now more important than ever!
With our investments in the area of financial inclusion (microfinance and SME finance), we contribute to the achievement of five of the 17 SDGs.
SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Despite all progress in poverty reduction, 8.2 percent of the world's population still lived below the international poverty line of 1.90 US dollars a day in 2019. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank estimates that an additional 70 to 100 million people will slip into this extreme poverty. It is the poorest and most vulnerable who suffer the most from the economic consequences of the crisis - through loss of work, illness, overstretched health systems and the absence of social safety nets. Microcredit and other financial services are particularly important in this situation. For example, they promote income generation activities or help less well-off people to survive financial bottlenecks. More than half of our loan portfolio was used in the services and commercial sectors last year.
See Impact Report 2021 (page 31)
SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
In many countries, women are legally, socially and economically disadvantaged compared to men. This has a negative impact on their self-determination in many areas of life, such as family planning or the pursuit of income-generating activities. The granting of small loans to women in emerging and developing countries helps to improve the economic situation and status of these women, thereby enabling them to achieve greater self-determination in other areas as well. Slightly more than 50 percent of our loan portfolio benefited women in 2021. If we start from the headcount (absolute share), it is even 80 percent. The difference is due to the fact that in India, for example, many small loans are given to women, whereas in Eastern European countries, larger loans are often given to men.
See Impact Report 2021 (page 31)
SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Just to keep pace with population growth, the International Finance Corporation estimates that around 3.3 million additional jobs will need to be created each month in emerging and developing countries by 2030.1 The figure is likely to be even higher, as the value is based on assumptions made before the COVID-19 crisis. Small businesses play a special role here, creating nine out of ten jobs worldwide. However, it is in the area of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises - which UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently described as the "economic lifeblood of communities worldwide "2 - that a funding gap of US$5.2 trillion (US$718.8 billion for microenterprises and US$4.5 trillion for SMEs) exists in emerging and developing countries. Promoting the growth of such enterprises through the provision of loans and other financial services is therefore an indispensable building block for achieving the eighth Sustainable Development Goal.
1International Finance Corporation (2017), MSME Finance Gap. Assessment of the Shortfalls and Opportunities in Financing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Emerging Markets
2Secretary-General’s International Day Message Highlights Role of Micro-, Small Businesses as Economic ‘Lifeblood’ in Communities across Globe | UN Press
SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
This sustainable development goal focuses on the manufacturing sector and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They often lack access to affordable loans. This deprives them of the capital they need to develop and create jobs. The financial institutions to which Invest in Visions lends through the microfinance funds it manages do not lend exclusively to micro-borrowers, but also to a certain extent to enterprises with higher financial needs. Invest in Visions supports small and medium-sized enterprises in particular with a special fund that is tailored to their needs as SMEs.
More information on the fund can be found here.
SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
Before the Corona pandemic, inequality had been trending downwards worldwide. The so-called Gini coefficient had decreased in 38 out of 84 countries worldwide between 2010 and 2017. This coefficient shows how equally or unequally wealth and income are distributed in a region or country. In the pandemic, the most vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, children, women and migrants, are the most affected. To reduce inequality in countries, we particularly refinance financial institutions in countries that are economically less strong. In 2021, half of our loan portfolio was deployed in countries that are in the lower income segment.
See Impact Report 21 (page 19)