Ibrahim is 49 years old, married and has three children. For the last nine years, he has earned a living by breeding cattle -- buying small animals, fattening them up and then selling them in a local livestock bazaar for higher price. His brother helps him run this business, and he earns a monthly income of about 150 AZN. Ibrahim is a good client with a positive credit history at AqroInvest and Kiva, and is applying for a new loan to buy two additional calves.
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.