About Philea

Financing the Ecological and Social Transition

In the North as in the South, climate change requires transforming economic models as part of the Ecological and Social Transition (EST).

This transition rases questions. How to transform? What risks should we take and how to finance it?

Philea's new strategy aims to support our members in their EST in the medium and long term and to increase their impact.


The central role of women

The EST also involves taking gender issues into account because women play an essential role in the development of initiatives likely to combine mitigation and adaptation to climate change, human rights and economic activities. The success of the EST will not be achieved without the full participation of women in the new economic models to be implemented.


The issue of risk

Philea's experience shows that it is mainly exogenous and macroeconomic risks that have affected its portfolio (currency and political risk).

The more endogenous risks, linked to members, are mitigated by the trust built over the long term by Philea and by its in-depth knowledge of development finance.

Our members have also strengthened themselves in terms of governance and management and while they still face cash flow tensions, their economic models are strong and resilient.


A step-by-step implementation

In the North, the business models of social enterprises still rely too much on public subsidies and therefore cannot contribute to the financing of the public sector. Financing the EST with loans is therefore not yet self-evident. In the South, EST is not yet a priority in the face of everyday issues, but this awareness is growing every day. The challenge for Philea will be to gradually initiate these transitions.


Supporting us

To implement this strategy, Philea needs two types of resources:

  1. Significant equity in the form of member’s shares or subsidies which make it possible to finance the long term and adapt repayment schedules to the member's cash flows.
  2. Concessional credit lines to finance the working capital of our members who must continue to produce and sell.

This new strategy remains aligned with Philea's purpose, which has always been to support communities that do not have access to appropriate financing. Philea is confident in its ability to support its members in successfully completing their EST and thus contribute to a better world.

Our governance

By end of 2022, a new board of directors was elected to implement the new strategy and in July 2023, a new president was elected.

François Rossier

Switzerland | President of the Board

François has worked as an expert in microfinance since 1994 and has carried out missions in 50 countries, mainly in Africa, CIS and Asia. He joined Philea in 2017 and participated in the development of the new strategy. He was elected to the Board in December 2022 and appointed president of the Board in June 2023. He holds a degree in human geography and a master's degree in anthropology.


Bénédicte Brochu*


Sustainability expert after working 20 years in sustainable finance and microfinance. During her career, she had the opportunity to manage several teams, and to develop her management and collective intelligence skills through various training courses and coaching certification. Thanks to these skills, she now supports companies in their sustainability approach, and in improving their environmental, social and governance criteria.
* His candidacy for the Board of Directors will be presented at the AGM in 2024.


Pedro Joaqin Castillo

Nicaragua | Board Member

Pedro has been Chairman of the Board of Directors of the COOPEFACSA savings and credit cooperative in Nicaragua. COOPEFACSA's headquarters is located in New Guinea, in the south-central part of the country, and the cooperative has been a member of Philea since the 2012. His long experience in the microfinance sector will help to strengthen Philea's service offering in the field of EST. He is a graduate in educational sciences and a specialist in accounting and credit risk analysis of cooperatives.

Ytalo Espejo

Peru | Board Member

Ytalo has been the general director of the Tocache cooperative since 2013. Tocache is a Peruvian cocoa producers' cooperative and has been a member of Philea since 2012. She has extensive experience in the field of agricultural development having already collaborated with several rural producers' cooperatives at a operational level or as a consultant for agricultural value chain development projects. He graduated in Food Industry Engineering from José Faustino Sánchez Carrión Huacho University, Lima Peru, with an MBA in International Corporate Finance from Esan University, Lima Peru and an MSc in CSR and Sustainable Leadership from University of Barcelona, Barcelona. Spain.


Daniele E. Fino

Switzerland | Board member

Daniele worked for 35 years in the field of international development cooperation, as a lecturer and program manager and deputy director at IUED/IHIED. In the eighties, he contributed to the creation of RAFAD (Research and applications of alternative financing for Development) which gave birth to the FIG (International Guarantee Fund) in 1995 and which became Philea in 2017. He held the position of President of the Board of Directors of Philea from 2019 to June 2023. Socio economist, Daniele-Enrico is a trainer, researcher, consultant and administrator.


Claire Guigou*


Economist with more than 30 years of experience in the design, management, monitoring and evaluation of programs supporting private sector development in Africa. Proven experience in strengthening public and private institutions supporting the private sector: strategies to support exports, SMEs/VSEs/Informal sector. In-depth knowledge of financial and non-financial support for African SMEs: advisory support, co-financing and guarantee funds, credit lines (EIB, Tanyo Niger project).
* His candidacy for the Board of Directors will be presented at the AGM in 2024.

Aude Bax de Keating

Switzerland | Board member

Aude is a proactive, collaborative and resourceful professional with 12 years of experience with non-profit organizations, funding agencies, UN organizations and NGOs internationally and nationally. She has extensive experience in managing and optimizing human and financial resources for complex programs. She is passionate about making a positive impact and happy to support Philea's mission, purpose and values. She holds a doctorate in human sciences and is certified as a professional coach by the International Coaching Federation.


Dominique Lesaffre

France | Board member

Dominique managed a hospital in the Amazon in 1983 and joined the CCFD in 1984 to head its Africa department. He then worked for 9 years for RAFAD and in 2001 joined SIDI, a French pioneer in international microfinance, which he directed from 2015 to 2022. He is a director of numerous companies including Centenary Group Uganda and Centenary Bank Malawi, Fair Trade Lebanon in Lebanon, ProEmpresa in Peru, ACAD Finance and DAMAN in Palestine, UBTEC in Burkina Faso, CIF in West Africa SEFEA and FEBEA in Europe. Economist specialized in financing local development.


Deogratias Niyonkuru

Burundi | Board member

Deogratias was born in a peasant family and learned the meaning of the word “poverty” at a very young age. With the upheavals that the Great Lakes region would experience, he went into exile first in the DRC then in Cameroon. Returning to Burundi in 2004, shocked by poverty, he decided to found ADISCO (Support for Integral Development and Solidarity on the Hills) which is dedicated to self-promotion, mutual health insurance, strengthening civil society, support for entrepreneurship, integrated farms and alternative sectors. He is an agricultural engineer by training.


Jean-Luc Virchaux

Switzerland | Board member

Jean-Luc began his career in 1985 in Burkina Faso with the FAO. Subsequently, he joined the SDC where he carried out numerous functions in the field in Burkina, Mali, Benin and the DRC. He was appointed Ambassador of Switzerland to Haiti in 2014. He has a large network of Swiss and international contacts and knows how to demonstrate innovation in sectoral programs such as decentralized governance, health, non-formal education, rural and urban, culture. He graduated from the Faculty of Agronomy at the Polytechnic School of Zurich.

Sergio Cortez Valdivia

Peru | Board member

Sergio has 30 years of professional experience in the banking sector specializing in microfinance and the cooperative agro-export sector. He has worked with Philea since 2004, as a local correspondent in Peru and, since 2023, he has worked as director at Banco VisionFund in Ecuador and World Vision in Peru. Consultative and executive experience in microfinance entities, at national and international levels; and the cooperative sector of agro-export of organic products. Industrial engineer, business administrator; and master's degree in banking and finance.


Our team

Alain Vergeylen

Switzerland | Managing Director

Alain has been working with Philea for 18 years and took over its management in 2012. From Geneva, he coordinates activities in the field and relations with local correspondents and members. He also manages the administrative and financial part of the cooperative. He holds a degree in Economic and Social History.


Our local correspondants

Local correspondents are Philea's relays on the ground. Having good knowledge of the field and being on site, they maintain relationships with members and pass on information.



Nicaragua & Amérique centrale

Sergio Cortez



Burkina Faso & Afrique de l'Ouest





Our members

Philea members are legal entities (public bodies, NGOs, etc.) or individuals who hold shares in the cooperative. By saving together, they contribute to the cooperative's mission. Each share costs CHF 200, and entitles the holder to participate in Philea's democratic life.

Geographical distribution of our members

ContinentsMembersMember’s share
Africa27CHF 309'200
Latine America25CHF 237'000
Europe78CHF 772'400
Total130CHF 1'318'600

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