In more than a decade as a lender to small farmers and agricultural co-ops in Africa and Latin America, Root Capital has gained a reputation as an effective organization that has delivered genuine impact in a tough sector. In 2012, however, Root hit a speed bump. It was just a temporary breach of a technical
Social lenders such as Root Capital have pioneered financing for smallholder producers of export crops like coffee, cocoa, and tea. Now, Root is seeking to help build agricultural businesses that serve local staple crop markets as well — a financing market that may be 10 times as big. Root, together with Germany’s KfW Development Bank and agriculture
Root Capital, a nonprofit lender to farmer associations and agricultural businesses in Africa and Latin America, seeks borrowers that will both repay their loans and strengthen their communities. That’s why, increasingly, it lends to women. The Nahuala coffee cooperative in the highlands of Guatemala is the kind of growing rural agricultural business Root seeks out.
Janet Yellen, Christine Lagarde and a handful of U.S. senators notwithstanding, women are still underrepresented in the world of finance. So it was a reversal earlier this month to be one of the few men among nearly 100 women investors, wealth advisors, bankers and analysts gathered to reshape global financial markets through a “gender lens.”