Solidary, selfless, proactive

Philea is a Geneva-based cooperative under Swiss law. It is a non-profit entity and was declared of public utility.

Its purpose is to enable entrepreneurs, as well as farmers, at the base of the pyramid to increase their income by enhancing their production, as well as their activities.

To this end, Philea offers its members – producer cooperatives and microfinance institutions – the appropriate financial services and technical support necessary to strengthen their autonomy and, consequently, that of their beneficiaries.

FIG’s vocation, for 22 years, has been to really and concretely contribute to development and human recovery by empowering players’ autonomy.

Today, le Fonds International de Garantie (FIG) becomes Philea and innovates to expand and strengthen its activities, renewing its achievements by deepening and still stabilising the structure.

Hybrid & committed

As a non-profit cooperative, recognised by public utility, Philea is able to receive grants from private and public organisations, as well as tax-deductible donations from private or public individuals.

Philea is therefore an hybrid structure, as its financing comes from :

  • Members’ shares, whether they are support members- acting for development through a share holding –  or beneficiary members –  collaborating in the action of the cooperative, while also being the recipients of its services.
  • Donations received by Philea aimed at financing its equipment loan, a financial service that Philea, thanks to its unique structure, can offer, despite its high risk and without the interest rate being affected.
  • Subsidies, resulting mainly from public authorities and enabling to finance technical support for Philea’s members, as well as their beneficiaries.
  • Social investors, who, by refinancing Philea, allow its members to get loans at fair rates.


The financial independence offered – among other things – by the donations it benefits from, allows Philea to guarantee financial services at truly fair rates to its members.

This is the meaning of its action and the mainspring ofits hybridity.

Who is PHILEA?

Created in 1996 by the RAFAD Foundation and its partners in Africa and Latin America, the FIG developed around a unique and innovative product: the bank guarantee.

Thanks to its action and as a result, numerous organisations that did not have access to banks have ever since been able to engage in trust with them.

In 2018, a radical change occurs: the FIG reinvents and repositions itself to become Philea, a fluid and soft name, reflecting a modern, hybrid and transparent entity, which is differentiated by the care it takes to its members, the flexibility of its services and its concern to equity.



A name tuned with the identity and philosophy of the brand: Philea, a fluid, soft and poetic name reflecting the modernity and innovation that this singular and philanthropic project carries.



Philea wears a sober and elegant image, which voluntarily contrasts with images usually associated with financial products.

It also marks its difference by affirming its closeness to rural life, land, swarming, men and women cultivating it, those with whom it has been committing itself every day for over 20 years.

It also implements modern, dynamic and transparent communication tools, in line with its values ​​and ambitions.



Today, Philea diversifies and expands its service offering to adapt itself to the needs and the diversity of its members, the only one to offer financial services as innovative as the equipment loan.

In addition, it continues to provide technical support and financial training, previously managed by the RAFAD Foundation, which is no longer operationally linked to Philea.



Participative and conceived around diversity.



Philea is a transparent, horizontal and expert new structure. Openness and diversity prevail within the organisation.

  • The Executive Board is composed of 9 members fairly shared between Africa, Latin America and Switzerland, the cooperative’s headquarters, all of them being proactive and supportive of the head office and its team in Geneva.
  • So as to ensure a proper balance, African and Latin American members of the Board have rotating chairs.
  • In addition, Philea aims at promoting complementary skills, origins and balance of genders, knowledge and generations.
  • Credit committees are also structured around the diversity of profiles and origins that takes precedence within the cooperative, under an initiative taken in the spring of 2018 towards the feminisation of members and projects, thus targeting gender parity.


Headquarters in Geneva

Alain Vergeylen, Switzerland
Chief executive director
Headquarters in Geneva
Sonia Rodríguez, Director of communication and fundraising
Headquarters in Geneva

Board of Directors

Deogratias Niyonkuru, Burundi
President of the Board of Directors
Philippe Egger, Switzerland
Member of the Board of Directors
Daniel Fino, Switzerland
Member of the Board of Directors
Alfred Geiger, Switzerland
Member of the Board of Directors
Armando Gutierrez Navarro, Nicaragua
Member of the Board of Directors
Pascasie Kana, Switzerland
Member of the Board of Directors
Armel Ntwari, Burundi
Member of the Board of Directors
Patricia Del Carmen Padilla Lopez, Nicaragua
Member of the Board of Directors
Wilson Salméron, El Salvador
Member of the Board of Directors

Local Correspondants

Jamir Contreras, Nicaragua
Local Correspondent – Central America
Sergio Cortez, Peru
Local Correspondent – Peru
Jean-Paul Kiendrebeogo, Burkina Faso
Local Correspondent – West Africa
Javier Vaca, Ecuador
Local Correspondent – Ecuador