Citi Microfinance and Citi Commercial Bank today announced US$2,000,000 in financing to support KickStart International, a non-profit social enterprise that designs, manufactures, and sells high quality, low-cost irrigation pumps for use by smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa. With support from the Skoll Foundation, the loan will be the first from Citi directed to the social enterprise sector and will specifically support smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, where farm yields are among the lowest in the world. According to The World Bank, 65 percent of Africa’s labor force is employed by the agriculture industry, yet farming accounts for only 32 percent of gross domestic product on the continent. KickStart’s mission is to lift millions of people in Africa out of poverty -- quickly, cost-effectively and sustainably. KickStart succeeds by designing, promoting and mass-marketing simple money-making tools that poor smallholder farmers buy and use to build profitable family enterprises. The Citi financing will be used by KickStart as working capital to expand production and distribution of its human-powered water pumps, which enable poor farmers to irrigate throughout the year, help improve crop yields, and boost income for farming households. “The financing arrangement with KickStart reinforces Citi’s commitment to identifying opportunities to address community-based challenges with inclusive business solutions,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Microfinance and Community Development. “KickStart is a social enterprise that weds a purpose-driven mission with a scalable business model, and we are pleased to join the Skoll Foundation to support its growth plans.” “Citi Commercial Bank’s collaboration with KickStart is the latest example of how we aim to capitalize on our unparalleled global reach to help leading enterprises expand their operations and achieve their goals,” said Citi Commercial Bank New York City Division Head Daniel Greene. “KickStart employs an innovative and powerful model, and we are proud to support its efforts to promote entrepreneurship and create economic opportunity throughout Africa.”
“Irrigation has tremendous potential to increase productivity, raise income levels for smallholder farmers in Africa, and provide a sustainable solution to the rural poor’s most important need — a way to consistently earn money,” said Martin Fisher, Co-Founder and CEO of KickStart International. “This innovative collaboration between Citi and Skoll Foundation will enable KickStart to scale our efforts to alleviate poverty.”“Catalyzing private-sector support for social entrepreneurs whose proven innovations improve the lives of smallholder farmers by providing them with economic opportunity and a source of sustainable income, enables large-scale change across Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world,” said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. “Cross-sector collaboration is seminal to realizing the Skoll Foundation’s vision to empower social entrepreneurs to create a sustainable world of peace and prosperity.” About Citi Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://blog.citigroup.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi About Citi Microfinance Working across Citi’s businesses, product groups and geographies, Citi Microfinance serves more than 150 microfinance institutions (MFIs), networks and investors as clients and partners in nearly 50 countries, with products and services spanning the financial spectrum – from financing, access to capital markets, transaction services and hedging foreign exchange risk, to credit, savings, remittances and insurance products - to expand access to financial services for the underserved. http://www.citi.com/citi/microfinance/ About Citi Commercial Bank Citi Commercial Bank provides top-tier banking services to meet the global needs of small- and medium-sized enterprises. It currently serves 100,000 clients across 32 countries. The business leverages Citi’s global capabilities to deliver differentiated solutions customized for these companies, including loans, cash management, foreign exchange and trade.
About KickStartKickStart is a non-profit social enterprise with a mission to lift millions of people in Africa out of poverty quickly, cost-effectively, and sustainably. It designs and mass-markets technologies that are bought by poor farmers and used across sub-Saharan Africa to establish and run profitable small-scale enterprises. KickStart’s best-selling products are award-winning, human-powered, MoneyMaker branded irrigation pumps that allow small-scale farmers to access increasingly scarce water in order to irrigate their land. Irrigation enables them to increase crop yield, and earn significantly more income. With this increased income, they can lift themselves out of poverty and improve their family’s quality of life by being able to access plentiful food, education for their children, and healthcare for their families. KickStart’s largest programs are in Kenya, Tanzania, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Zambia; KickStart exports pumps through partners in 16 other countries. For more information, visit www.kickstart.org and follow us on Twitter @KickStart_Intl and Facebook at facebook.com/KickStartInternational. About Skoll Foundation Jeff Skoll created the Skoll Foundation in 1999 to pursue his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. Led by CEO Sally Osberg since 2001, its mission is to drive large scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are society’s change agents, creators of innovations that disrupt the status quo and transform our world. By identifying the people and programs already creating positive change, the Skoll Foundation empowers them to extend their reach, deepen their impact and fundamentally improve society. More information at www.skollfoundation.org and www.skollworldforum.org.