Développement international Desjardins (DID) to support entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka
Lévis (Qc), August 23, 2016 -- During his recent visit to Sri Lanka, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Dion, announced that the Government of Canada would finance a new project to support entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka. The project aims to establish a financial center for entrepreneurs in this country through a partnership with Développement international Desjardins (DID) and SANASA, the largest financial cooperative institution in Sri Lanka.
The outcome of this 5-year initiative is to provide adapted financial and non-financial products and services to entrepreneurs, thus supporting the local economy in a sustainable manner. Non-financial services, including advice for SME start-up and agricultural production, will target women more particularly.
A Sri Lankan farmer
In the end, the project will help stimulate private sector development and job creation, improving the livelihoods of entrepreneurs operating small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly in the agricultural sector.
SANASA serves nearly one million members disseminated in all parts of Sri Lanka, through approximately 1000 community-based co-operative societies. DID and SANASA initiated their partnership in 2005 in the context of a post-tsunami assistance program. Along this relationship, DID contributed to computerizing operations in some of SANASA's Primary Societies and to develop microinsurance products. Since then, DID and SANASA have remained in contact through Proxfin, an international network coordinated by DID and comprised of thirty community finance institutions. All of them play a crucial role in improving the living conditions of the communities they serve.