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30.04.2012 Press Release

US$15,000 up for grabs for this year’s Africa Finance & Investment Forum Project Incubator Award sponsored by Hivos.

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30th, April 2012 Brussels, Belgium - The Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation (Hivos), a leading Dutch organisation with a worldwide presence, is partnering with EMRC International to promote the Project Incubator Award with a cash prize of US$15,000 for the nominated winner.

The winner will be announced during EMRC's Africa Finance & Investment Forum held in partnership with Rabobank and taking place at Rabobank Headquarters, the Netherlands, from 17-19 June 2012.

Hivos has a worldwide presence with over 600 partner organisations in 26 developing countries including, Zimbabwe, Bolivia and Indonesia. In 2010 as much as 98 percent of the total Hivos budget was allocated to projects of partner organisations. This amounted to 73.7 million Euros in 2007.

The Project Incubator Award has become a defining moment at all EMRC Forums. Throughout the years unique business projects have been put forward and acclaimed by participants and panellists and the international media.

The latest winner, Everlyne Cherobon head of Emeden Kenya, won the award at EMRC-UNDP AgriBusiness Forum 2011 in Johannesburg, and her reaction speaks volumes about the award. “Winning the prize was a defining moment for me and my business. It is difficult to put in words, exactly how I felt when my project emerged the winner,” she explains. “Being recognised in front of my peers, by international experts and financiers and getting my company names across international media is mind-blowing and very good for my business.”

Suzanne Marie Belemtougri won the award during the AfDB-EMRC SME Forum in Lisbon in June 2011. According to her, her win “will incite the future competitiveness of women entrepreneurs and even male entrepreneurs because my presentation set a tone and even generated enthusiasm from a large number of EMRC participants to be even more focused and to invest better in their businesses and projects. This will also put a spotlight on women entrepreneurs due to the numerous congratulatory messages and contacts that this award has created for me.”

This year's AFIF Forum, entitled “Financial inclusion through SMEs & Cooperatives”, will gather leading global representatives from a variety of sectors to highlight the financial tools, solutions and growing policy trends to ensure Africa's economic growth for Africa's Small and Medium Enterprise sector (SMEs). The discussions and proposals to be highlighted at the forum are essential for a cross section of African sectors to establish their full economic potential.

A growing number of organisations and businesses will be present at AFIF 2012, such as the likes FMO; IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development); AfDB (African Development Bank); IFC (International Finance Corp.), World Bank; HIVOS; GIZ ; Oikocredit; Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovations ; Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation ; FARA (Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa); Clifford Chance, Netherlands; Shell Foundation, Netherlands; Wageningen University and others.

AFIF 2012 will provide a platform for new and improved financial tools to be spotlighted, with a particular focus on mechanisms adapted and unique to the African business model. Business-to-business (B2B) meetings which are tailor-made to ensure maximum business partnership success will be organized over two days. Previous forums have seen over 1,000 of these meetings set up over a 2-day period. The international media will spotlight the various speakers and interview a select group of participants to highlight regional and local business ideas and trends.

The first two days of the Forum will be held in Utrecht and the third day will be held in partnership with Food First, which includes guided visits to one of the world's biggest Horticultural Expo - Floriade 2012 (Venlo-Netherlands), organized once every ten years.

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