BBVA in Colombia and Bancamía announced the expansion of the ‘Transforming Realities’ Scholarship, which will benefit 100 vulnerable young people in the country so that they can pursue university studies.
This initiative will benefit the sons and daughters of Bancamía client micro-entrepreneurs throughout the country and in its three previous editions it has benefited 21 young people from different departments of Colombia.
The BBVA and Bancamía Transforming Realities Scholarship is part of the initiatives developed by BBVA within the framework of its social investment programs, where the main focus is promoting education with programs to reduce the digital educational divide, scholarships to support access to higher education, initiatives for the development of values and skills, school kits and professional training.
The president of BBVA, Carlos Torres Vila, assured “We are working to improve this situation, to reduce inequalities and poverty in Colombia, strengthening financial inclusion, with a special focus on the economic empowerment of women. We are aware of the positive impact we can have on society. First of all, through our activity, we support families and companies in their projects, with financing and this contributes to economic and social growth. We firmly believe in the transformative power of education, which is key in the fight against these inequalities. Education has enormous transformative power and is the door of opportunities and a key element in the advancement of people and societies”.
For her part, Viviana Araque Mendoza, executive president of Bancamía, stated that «87% of our microentrepreneurs live in conditions of economic vulnerability and contributing to their development with different models of financial inclusion and now supporting the educational future of their children, allows us to accompany them in the construction of true well-being. For this reason, increasing the number of scholarships represents a strong contribution to their quality of life, to the development of the country and to strengthening the social fabric from the best inheritance that a father can leave a child: education”.
BBVA channeled more than 9,000 million euros in loans to entrepreneurs, sustainable infrastructures, the issuance of social bonds, or products such as mortgages and social security in 2022. The entity is also implementing its 2021-25 commitment to the community, which means allocating, together with its foundations an amount of 550 million euros to social initiatives to benefit 100 million people in the different countries in which it has a presence. Between 2021 and 2022, BBVA, directly or through its foundations, allocated 237 million euros to these programs.
SOCIAL PROGRAMS IN COLOMBIA
BBVA increased its investment in social programs in Colombia to help reduce the poverty gap in the country. According to a new study presented by BBVA Research in Colombia, 40% of Colombians live in poverty, and households headed by women, youth, migrants, and victims of forced displacement register higher poverty rates. In addition, poverty is higher in the peripheral departments and in rural areas, such as La Guajira, Magdalena and Chocó, where it exceeds 60% of the total.
BBVA allocated 131 million euros to social programs and investment in the community in 2022, an approximate increase of 19% compared to the previous year, reaching a total of 78 million people, 43% more than the previous year. In this sense, the financial entity highlights the importance of reducing the unemployment rate and integrating the population into formality to reduce social gaps.
“Colombia has a significant gender gap in poverty figures: women, on average, are 6% poorer than men. In addition, if she is a migrant woman (62%), poverty is accentuated. Likewise, in households in which the head of the household is a salaried employee, poverty is reduced by half to less than 24% and if affiliated with social security in pensions it is reduced by more than 60%. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce the unemployment rate, integrate the population into formality and reduce the gap between women and young people”, explained Juana Téllez, chief economist at BBVA Research.
Regarding education, the report shows that educational coverage in the country is “90% in primary and 79% in secondary; however, it is reduced to 47% in secondary education, therefore, the poverty rate of a Colombian with tertiary education is reduced from 42% in people with primary education to 7% in people with higher education, therefore, the importance of boost the increase in productivity and social conditions of households.