Here we have the perfect charity for all our readers

Allister Heath
TODAY City A.M. is launching its annual Christmas appeal after an extremely successful debut appeal a year ago. As a newspaper that has become a standard bearer for private enterprise and individual responsibility, I’m delighted that we are continuing our partnership with Opportunity International, a brilliant charity that helps poor entrepreneurs worldwide build independent and prosperous lives for themselves by lending them money to grow their own businesses.

It is the perfect charity for City A.M.’s readers and for all of those who believe in the transformative power of capitalism and market institutions. If you believe in a handup, not a handout, this will be the perfect cause for you this Christmas.

Opportunity International provides financial services (microloans and savings) and business training to more than 2.3m people (84 per cent of whom are women) in 21 developing countries. It also provides innovative micro-insurance that today protects 3.5m lives.

The charity’s patron is HRH The Princess Royal, who has travelled to Ghana and other countries in support of its projects.

Our appeal will be asking readers for donations to help Opportunity International expand their work across Africa. As it did last year, the UK government will match every personal donation from our readers pound for pound (up to a limit of £5m) almost doubling its value.

Our series on the appeal will run until the last week before Christmas, during which time we will carry interviews and profiles of City supporters of Opportunity International – and also, crucially, of any major new donors who decide to back our appeal and who want their support to be made public.

The phone lines are open. Many lives have been touched by Opportunity International in Africa – and many City folk are already contributing.

We are grateful to Prudential for its sponsorship of the appeal as well as to Citigroup. These two organisations we already know are active in assisting Opportunity International.

Please give generously if you can – and thanks in advance for your support.