Rafiq A. is a 42 year old trader who keeps a general store in Bilasuvar Internally Displaced People Settlement. He has sold food and bath equipment such as shampoo, soap and powder since 2000. He is married and has three daughters. His shop is very popular among local people because he is very polite to everyone – that’s why all goods in his shop sell out more quickly than new goods coming in. To improve the situation, Rafiq needs to expand the number of goods he sells and purchase more equipment. For this purpose he applied for $800 USD.
Aqroinvest Credit Union was founded in 2001 by a group of 32 farmers from Imishli. It has since grown to become the largest credit union in Azerbaijan, owned by its more than 5,400 borrowers and boasting a portfolio of nearly US$12 million.
AqroInvest is focused on providing loans to the following groups of people: rural farmers, people living in distant southern villages with little or no access to finance and internally displaced people and refugees, many of whom lost their homes and livelihoods during the violent conflicts in the 1990s.
In May 2011, Aqroinvest started a new project with Kiva proving higher education loans to students. The project gives students the support and financing they need to continue their education and helps pay for tuition fees at various universities in Azerbaijan. Aqroinvest is the first credit union in the country to offer students loans.