"Overcoming poverty is not a Gesture of charity; it is an act of justice."
- Nelson Mandela,
Former President of South Africa
Shared Interest was established in 1994 by founding partners who were deeply entrenched in the anti-apartheid movement with an unwavering passion for human rights and economic justice. The organization we envisioned would not make direct loans. Instead it would facilitate guarantees that would move South Africa’s own banks to provide black entrepreneurs, farmers and homeowners with access to the country’s own abundant capital in order to create sustainable solutions to poverty. Shared Interest’s guarantees would play a role not only in correcting market failure, but also in helping to dismantle apartheid era discriminatory lending practices.
That year, after the country transferred political power to a democratic Nelson Mandela government, but left economic power concentrated in the same minority hands, Shared Interest was launched to provide U.S. investors with a catalytic vehicle to help reverse apartheid’s legacy of institutionalized race-based inequality. In creating a model that would respond to South Africa’s particular conditions and needs, Shared Interest established a guarantee fund that moved highly capitalized South African banks to lend to community development financial institutions, cooperatives, and emerging enterprises that, in turn, supply credit, affordable homes, and jobs to more than one million low-income black South Africans. In the process, we have forged a model applicable and replicable far beyond South Africa. Responding to Southern Africa’s needs, Shared Interest has expanded to Mozambique, Swaziland and begun operations in Zambia.
Donna Katzin, CEO & Founder, talks about Shared Interest
Past and Present
The end of apartheid was part one of the struggle. Part two is reinvesting in Southern Africa – to build just and sustainable nations – to make the miracle endure for the sake of the world.
We have been on the ground for 22 years helping to accelerate this change.