City A.M. appeal update: £4.4m raised

LAST Christmas, we ran our second Christmas appeal in support of Opportunity International.  A staggering £4.4m was raised and the money has enabled Opportunity International to give many more entrepreneurs in Africa the chance to work their own way out of poverty. The charity’s chief executive Edward Fox tells us how the money raised by City A.M. readers has been used. 

How is the money being used to make a difference in some of the poorest countries in Africa?

We’ve already been able to make a huge difference thanks to your generosity.  Between January and May 2013, we have invested in 19,574 micro-entrepreneurs, typically market traders, with an average loan size of just £233.  This has helped to create or sustain 29,361 jobs.  More than 67,083 people have opened a savings account, giving them a safety net for their future. Thank you to all the readers of City A.M and the UK Government’s aid match for their support.  

How do recipients of the loans decide how to use the money?

Through training and support we are equipping people to make wise financial decisions – so far we have trained 77,732 people.  With a deeper understanding of saving, borrowing and budgeting, businesses are run better, which in turn creates more jobs and money to feed and educate children and communities.

Who is being reached by the Opportunity International charity?

Through innovative technology, our team can now reach more people in rural areas, who live far away from commercial banks.  Using mobile technology for telephone banking and other mobile devices, we are making financial services more accessible and affordable to those in remote areas.