In 2018, MASSIF delivered EUR 72.7 mln in new investments and capacity development projects and reached 87,500 micro-entrepreneurs and 1,485 SMEs. These results contribute to global efforts to accelerate financial inclusion in developing countries.
The fund’s strategy focuses on four themes supporting micro, small and medium-sized companies: (i) in fragile and the least financially penetrated countries; (ii) in rural areas and on smallholder farmers; (iii) women-and youth-owned MSMEs; and (iv) in technologies and business models that increase access to basic goods and services for the poor and disadvantaged. Last year the fund’s mandate was extended to include irregular migrants.
In 2018, 20 new investments were made in frontier markets, such as Cote d’Ivoire, Myanmar and the Middle East. MASSIF portfolio included investments in digital finance and promising technologies, which can help extending access to finance to millions of women and men in an efficient and effective manner. MASSIF adopted a dual approach with regards to its digitization efforts: the fund invested in a selected number of early-stage FinTech companies - either through new investments in private equity funds or through development contributions; and supported the digitization of existing portfolio clients. MASSIF also supports migrants and internally displaced persons as part of the NASIRA program initiated by FMO and the European Commission. With the Capacity Development program, MASSIF initiated a total of 25 projects to support clients with, amongst others, digital transformation, governance capacity, inclusive financing or marketing & communication efforts.
MASSIF is among the largest investors in the financial inclusion arena. It currently has a portfolio of 121 different clients, who are active in 37 countries and 4 different regions. The fund provides predominantly local currency financing, which reduces the investees’ risk of loss caused by currency fluctuations. This is in turn benefiting their own end-clients by guaranteeing a more stable offer over time. About 80% of the MASSIF portfolio consists of local currency investments. These currency (FX) results have been positive mainly due to the USD appreciation. Increases in interest income and positive equity investments resulted in an overall positive result of EUR 30.3 mln, which will be fully reinvested. The equity base and diversification of the portfolio remain well positioned to absorb potential adverse macroeconomic conditions in 2019.
Looking back on 2018, we are pleased to see our efforts continuing to bear fruit, with new commitments of EUR 72.7 mln made. The overall outlook for 2019 is positive with a strong pipeline and new emerging opportunities in the venture capital space and fragile states.