The Grand Ducal Court has released several images to the media from Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg’s attendance at the Board of Directors of the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation (GCA) from 10 – 11 March in Paris. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa was in attendance as part of her role as the foundation’s administrator; the Grand Duke was also present.
The Board of Directors wanted the organisation to “conduct a study mission on the development of microfinance in Cuba. The Grand Duchess, particularly sensitive to the subject, expressed the wish that this study could be made available at a future Board of Directors of the Foundation,” said the Grand Ducal Court in a press release.
Other countries will also be studied including Egypt, India, Morocco, Tunisia and China.
Her Royal Highness holds a special place in her heart for Cuba, as she was born in Havana in 1956 before leaving the country with her parents three years later during the Cuban Revolution. She first lived in New York City before moving to Geneva for university where she would meet Henri.
The Grand Duke and Duchess attended a dinner hosted by the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, on the sidelines of the meeting. The dinner took place on the evening of 10 March at the Latin American House with Professor Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 2006, Jean-Marie Sander, President of the Foundation, Mr Eric Campos, Executive Director of the GCA, and Mr Jérôme Brunel, Secretary-General of the Crédit Agricole Group also present.
Her Royal Highness, along with Professor Yunus, visited “Village by CA” during her time in Paris. “Village by CA” is an “incubator of 90 start-ups with 400 people” which was set up in the city in 2014. Innovative projects in the areas of energy, real estate, and health are being worked on by these companies.
Maria Teresa has been a member of GCA since its inception in 2008. She took up the role as administrator due to her ambassadorship of good will for UNESCO where she has worked for education for young girls, the fight against poverty, and the promotion of microcredit; Her Royal Highness has been an ambassador for the organisation since 1997.
The Grand Ducal Court explained about the GCA’s impact saying, “Since 2008, the GCA Foundation has approved 206 investment projects for a cumulative amount of 148 million euros. To date, the Foundation has worked in 29 countries with 50 microfinance institutions (MFIs) and 15 social economy and solidarity-based enterprises that work mainly in the agri-food sector, the renewable energy sector and culture.”
They added that its MFIs serve 3.6 million people, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, with the majority of their clients being women and from rural areas.
The Grand Duchess has known Professor Yunus for many years. He founded the Grameen Bank which has supported a number of microfinance projects aimed at the improvement of the quality of life for girls, women, and their families. Nepal, Mali, Bangladesh, Laos and Bosnia have been at the centre of the Grameen Bank’s help.