Shared Interest was established in 1994 to facilitate constructive new relationships between South African banks, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and low-income borrowers, in order to supply credit to the communities marginalized by apartheid. Shared Interest raises loan capital (currently more than $12.4 million) from individuals and institutions in the U.S. for microcredit and housing guarantees issued on behalf of the Thembani International Guarantee Fund (Thembani) in South Africa.
- Shared Interest raises capital from U.S. individual and institutional investors, including the
Calvert Foundation. These funds allow Thembani to guarantee South African bank loans to Community
Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), cooperatives and small businesses that provide credit
and training to low-income borrowers for very small businesses, affordable housing, and
agricultural enterprises. By providing guarantees and technical assistance, Thembani enables CDFIs
to obtain far more affordable credit than they could access independently. With these loans,
borrowing institutions are able to lend heftier amounts to low-income and low-wealth individuals
and communities. A number of the institutions utilizing the guarantees work in communities affected
by HIV/AIDS and struggle to develop strategies for both physical and economic survival. In the
long run, Shared Interest and Thembani enable South African institutions to become increasingly
self-sufficient, and maintain access to commercial capital without guarantees. Shared Interest
allocates its resources in three sectors; affordable housing/lending, microfinance and small and
growing businesses and cooperatives.
- South Africa's first democratically elected president,
Nelson Mandela, stated, “We particularly appreciate the efforts of Shared Interest, whose work
since 1994 has helped us consolidate our achievement of political democracy through socio-economic
development that makes a difference in the lives of ordinary people.”
Shared Interest guarantees help to launch or expand tiny businesses or to build safe and secure new homes for South Africa’s most marginalized individuals and communities. All 100% of borrowers are Africans of color and 100% of Shared Interest’s client base has a household income at or below 80% of the area median income. The majority, 65%, of these individuals live in rural areas, while 30% live in minor urban areas, and 5% live in urban areas. Shared Interest also recognizes the primary drivers of development as women, who constitute 90% of the beneficiaries of the guaranteed loans.
Shared Interest guarantees have made over US$100 million available to low-income South Africans, benefiting more than 1,800,000 individuals. Since inception, we have helped create more than 586,000 new businesses, 1,200,000 jobs and 75,000 safe and affordable homes. Currently more than 75% of Shared Interest’s beneficiaries are women. No Shared Interest investor has lost interest or principal. Shared Interest has also created new models for delivering credit and technical assistance, significantly augmenting the self-sufficiency of local CDFIs, and bolstering the success of food-producing businesses For every US$1 of guarantees issued, more than US$10 has been lent to low-income South Africans.
Marconi Beam, the new model village erected near this “informal settlement” on the outskirts of Cape Town, has been a long time coming. In order to begin construction, the residents needed a bridge loan to pay the contractors’ up-front building costs. They obtained the loan from the First National Bank, thanks to joint guarantees issued by the Shared Interest’s Thembani International Guarantee Fund (TIGF) for $200,000 and the National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency (NURCHA) for approximately $855,555. With land and financing secured, MBDT and DAG built a 17-unit model village, demonstrating to community residents the variety of models that could be purchased or rented according to various incomes and needs. Full Story