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Olivia van Rooyen

Olivia van Rooyen holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of South Africa, a Bachelor in Business Administration (honours) and an MBA from Stellenbosch University. Prior to the establishment of Kuyasa in 1999 she held positions with the Development Action Group as a Project Manager with a specific focus on end-user finance projects. She has held training positions with the Community Bank Foundation and the Savings and Credit Co-Operative League, and was a trade unionist, unionizing rural workers in the retail and hospitality industry.

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Kuyasa Fund
For-profit Social Enterprise
Blended Finance
South Africa
Areas of Impact
Africa, South Africa

Kuyasa Fund

In nearly 20 years since its founding, Kuyasa has helped more than 52,000 families (some 250,000 people) and has issued over R250 million ($21 million) in loans. Kuyasa targets and lends to South African people in two provinces who are excluded from formal banking sector services, self-employed (i.e. no payslip), or pensioners (i.e. social grantees). Over 75% of Kuyasa clients are women earning less than R60 ($5) per day.

Typically Kuyasa's borrowers used the loans to build an additional room for business or rental activities, thereby increasing their household income. The process of home improvements leads to local job creation, with 50% of the average home improvement costs going into local labour. Kuyasa's loans boost their owners' property values an average of R100,000 ($8,400) per house. Via Kuyasa, they are able for the first time to borrow against what had previously been their dead capital equity.

Kuyasa estimates that its two decades of lending have unlocked more than R5.2 billion ($400 million) in housing asset value. Upgraded homes not only provide a safer and better quality of life for the borrower families, they also help them lead more dignified lives, often gaining a feeling of empowerment from taking a loan and successfully managing their home improvement. Where despair and defeat could have lived, Kuyasa borrowers now have pride of place and hope for the future.


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