Editor’s note: Bancroft’s story has been featured in many notable publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. This is the first time their story has been covered by Somali Media. Thus, WDN brings you this exclusive interview. Mohamed Osman and Abdelkarim Hassan have conducted the interview for WardheerNews.com
WardheerNews (WDN): We are delighted to welcome you to WardheerNews.com, before we delve into the bulk of the interview, could you please share with us a brief background history about Bancroft?
Bancroft: Thank you. I am pleased that a serious news outlet has an interest in Bancroft and the work we do.
Bancroft’s roots go back more than a century, to relief efforts during World War I and to a team of financiers who helped dozens of countries to prosper in the decades following the war. Many of these countries are terrific successes especially when compared to the situation that existed before Bancroft’s predecessors became involved. Example client partner countries include Austria, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Japan, Peru, the Philippines and Mexico. After the end of the Cold War, Bancroft set out specifically to modernize and revive its successful model.
Bancroft is composed of two separate organizations. Bancroft Global Development is a non-profit, charitable NGO that improves stability in conflict zones through education and mentoring. Bancroft Global Investments finances projects in places that Bancroft Global Development is working. The relationship between the two organizations is the true key to Bancroft’s success and what makes us unique. Our investments only succeed when our education and aid work make a real difference. If Bancroft helps improve local people’s lives, the investments produce returns. Both parts of Bancroft have a long-term vision and real incentives to maximize results with the least possible friction with local institutions and actors.
In Somalia, for example, Bancroft Global Development has donated its personnel to be a part of the African Union Mission (AMISOM). Of course AMISOM is well known for the military campaign against al Shabaab. Some of your readers may not be aware that AMISOM’s mandate also includes helping to build Somalia’s government agencies and security forces. This is one of the most important tasks for our people serving in AMISOM. We contribute specialists from about 20 different countries to serve AMISOM in a particular kind of civilian position called Experts on Mission. Within AMISOM, our people’s main job is to train the Somali and AMISOM personnel on technical functions like trauma surgery, bomb disposal, and crime scene investigations. We run mobile medical clinics that offer free medical care to civilians in rural areas throughout the south-central Somalia. At the same time, Bancroft Global Investments has invested nearly $50 million dollars in Somali enterprises and we are looking closely at another major round of investment. At their peak, Bancroft-funded projects have employed more than 1,200 Somali people in skilled and unskilled positions. We hope to expand significantly in the coming years.
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