SPBD Microfinance Vanuatu is a member of the SPBD network of microfinance institutions operating in Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. SPBD is dedicated to eradicating poverty by empowering women in poor rural villages with the opportunity to start, grow and maintain sustainable income-generating microenterprises, build assets, as well as finance home improvements and childhood education. SPBD provides clients with a range of training, financial services and ongoing motivation so that they can move permanently out of poverty.
Vanuatu is a developing island state with a population of 307,105 in 2020. It has been successful in limiting the number of domestic COVID-19 cases, but the pandemic has had a devastating impact on its tourism-dependent economy. An extended border closure that began in March 2020 brought international tourism to a standstill, threatening a significant lot of jobs in the country’s tourism industry, which provides formal employment to almost 30,000 people. In April 2020, Tropical Cyclone Harold hit Vanuatu and affected more than 40 percent of the national population as crops, homes and other infrastructure were damaged.
Even during these hard times, SPBD maintains and consolidates its presence in Vanuatu, continuing to serve the women and adjusting its activity to the new environment. Since the inception of the operations in 2017, SPBD Vanuatu developed its activities, becoming a solid and respected institution in the country.
In response to market closures, SPBD Vanuatu found various solutions for the clients. First, it provided grace periods for loan repayment, in order to allow the clients to manage better their diminished incomes. Then, SPBD Vanuatu launched the Revival Loan product with the aim to meet their borrowers’ needs to recapitalise their businesses.
Now, the newest of the five MFIs in the SPBD network, SPBD Vanuatu reached another major milestone in the activity after five years of operation. The microfinance institution disbursed more than 1 billion vatu (USD8.3m) in loans to women. This is a very significant progress and an important landmark for SPBD Microfinance Vanuatu and also a confirmation of the steady and solid progress of the SPBD Network in the region.