CAP Project beneficiary Volodymyr Tsikhotskyi on his farm in Lviv Oblast, Ukraine (Courtesy: USAID Ukraine)

USAID extends World Council credit for CAP Project in Ukraine

February 20, 2023

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) this month extended World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) Credit for Agriculture Producers (CAP) Project through September 2024, providing an additional 18 months to support Ukrainian credit unions in wartime, so they can remain open and continue to serve their communities, and provide agricultural and rural businesses with access to savings and agricultural loans.

Operating under the cloud of war since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the CAP Project has nonetheless continued strengthening its partner credit unions and expanding access to agricultural credit for farmers.

Building on the progress made since its inception in 2016, and through direct collaboration with its credit union sector partners, the CAP Project will use the extended time in Ukraine to support credit unions working to assist with the recovery of local agricultural and rural businesses by providing them with timely, affordable loans for their operations. Resurrecting Ukraine’s economy will rely on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that will require additional access to finance, which is solely provided by credit unions in certain areas. Strengthening them through business development support and the expansion of digital services will benefit local economies in the post-conflict recovery period.

To support this, the CAP Project will continue to improve the legal, regulatory and market environment for credit unions and help build the capacity of the country’s credit union sector. This will help public and private stakeholders weather the challenges posed by the war and allow them to sustainably expand, improving their ability to close the demand gap for agricultural finance in Ukraine.

“While Ukrainians struggle with safety and security issues, many of their financial needs are going unmet. WOCCU is proud to have our own staff operating on the ground and working hand in hand with Ukrainian credit unions who have kept their doors open. Credit unions in Ukraine continue to lend and support member farmers and agricultural businesses who do the critical work of feeding families in wartime,” said Elissa McCarter LaBorde, WOCCU president/CEO.

Since its inception, the CAP Project has worked to:

  • Support the development of new regulations that set the stage for improved safety and soundness in the country’s credit union market, building a foundation for long-term growth and increased access to finance.
  • Manage a USAID-funded $1 million liquidity fund since 2021 that is filling a gap and allowing credit unions to meet the loan demands of member farmers, with 837 loans to 707 agricultural producers amounting to $1.9 million to date.
  • assist a group of selected credit unions to build their capacity to extend over 16,000 agricultural loans totaling more than $22 million to rural and agricultural MSMEs.
  • support Ukraine’s credit union associations and united (central) credit unions to better serve their member institutions.

WOCCU, in partnership with Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions (WFCU) and its global network of credit unions, will also continue to generate financial and logistical support to meet any unforeseen needs of credit unions and their members during the war.