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H.M. the Queen of Spain praises the work of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation on the occasion of its 15th anniversary


“It’s the determined action in the countries where this foundation is present, and above all, the real transformation in so many peoples’ lives, that urge us to hope and strengthens us,” Her Majesty said during the ceremony held to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF). BBVA Chair Carlos Torres Vila said, “in recent years the Microfinance Foundation has made a commendable effort to bring digitalization and connectivity to microentrepreneurs and their communities, as a driver of development and a gateway to opportunities.” The event also served as the occasion to premiere the documentary ’After the Rain,’ a tribute to the courage and resilience of the more than six million vulnerable people that the Foundation has supported over these past fifteen years.

The BBVA Chair also had words of recognition for the more than 7,000 people who work at the BBVA Microfinance Foundation: “Thanks to its work, BBVAMF—with branches in Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Chile and Panama—provides financial services, advice and training to support millions of entrepreneurs seeking a better future.  The focus has always been on their progress, with solutions adapted to their problems, listening to them firsthand and on the ground, face to face.”

“I’ve had the chance to see them in action: they use a tablet to take the office with them to remote places!’’ said Carlos Torres Vila.

In addition to digitalization, another of BBVAMF’s strategic focuses is sustainability, as emphasized by its CEO, Javier M. Flores: “The commitment to sustainability has the potential to become one of the major disruptions in history. The goal now is to grow responsibly, inclusively and sustainably. We need to balance the economic perspective with the environmental and social standpoints in everything we do.”

The First Vice-President of the Spanish Government and Minister for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, has upheld BBVAMF’s efforts, which “represent and symbolize an invisible bridge that crosses the Atlantic and connects Spain with our brother countries in Latin America; we are all aware that we can overcome difficult situations together and it will make us stronger.”

The event, presided by H.M. the Queen of Spain, was attended by: the Ibero-American Secretary General, Andrés Allamand; the CEO of CGAP (World Bank), Sophie Sirtaine; and the Senior Public Policy Advisor at the Oxford Poverty and Human Implementation Initiative (OPHI, attached to the University of Oxford), Michelle Muschett. Together with Javier M. Flores, the speakers took part in the opening panel discussion of the event. The topic under consideration was the key challenges faced by public and private institutions alike in the fight to reduce the inequalities that limit economic opportunities for millions of people around the world.

Fifteen years and a documentary to celebrate them

On its 15th anniversary, the Foundation gave voice to the heroes of these achievements by premiering the short film ’After the Rain,’ which tells the story of three families that showed remarkable resilience and courage in overcoming obstacles such as gender violence, the difficulties of rural environments and the ongoing Colombian conflict.

Two of the leading participants in the documentary also spoke during the event: the Colombian entrepreneur Olga Nidia Ortiz, and her daughter, Kelly Zapata; they explained how, when given an opportunity, one can hope for a better future, and how after the rain, there can be hope. The short film’s directors, photojournalists Ofelia de Pablo and Javier Zurita, have expressed their admiration at how these entrepreneurs have been able to get ahead with their lives.

The foundation aims to continue reinforcing its most important fields of action: inclusion, women’s empowerment, and sustainability; using innovation (technology, digitalization and connectivity), education and training, as drivers of development, and measuring social impact as a management tool, to remain by their side for the long term. This strategy taken in the round has meant that in 2022 BBVAMF has once again, for the third consecutive year, been acknowledged as the leading foundation for its contribution to development in Latin America, and the second in the world, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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