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Shared Interest

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Duration: 1994 - present
Location: New York, New York, United States


Shared Interest was launched in 1994, the year of South Africa’s first democratic elections, by the Fund for a Free South Africa, an organization set up by black South Africans in exile in the U.S. in 1985. Shared Interest works as a catalyst for social and economic change in South Africa. Since its inception it has used loan guarantees to bridge the gap between South African banks and marginalized people, previously considered “unbankable” during apartheid. As a 501(c)3 non-profit social investment fund, it raises capital in the U.S. from individuals, foundations and financial institutions to support micro-lending, agricultural cooperatives and small businesses in South Africa. In 1995, Shared Interest established a partner organization in South Africa called the Thembani International Guarantee Fund (Thembani). Shared Interest and Thembani pioneered the use of partial loan guarantees to encourage commercial banks to lend to low-income black townships and rural communities throughout South Africa. Shared Interest is a nonprofit social investment fund dedicated to supplying guarantees and technical assistance to South Africa’s townships and rural communities while advocating for changes within the banking sector and training commercial bankers to finance economically marginalized rural communities. The enterprises Shared Interest supports include small and growing businesses (SGB’s), microfinance institutions (MFIs), agricultural cooperatives and low-cost housing organizations. (Source: Shared Interest website accessed May 23, 2014 and Shared Interest document on this website.)