Last year was the first full operational year for our Agribusiness, Food & Water team. We cooperated closely with Rabobank and other international financial institutions on a number of projects, making use of their experience and expertise in this area. This sector is important but highly challenging, and raises a host of dilemmas not least of which is the critical attention of non-governmental organizations, which closely monitor us on issues such as animal welfare, land-grabbing and local community involvement.
In 2012, we ceased our investment activities in the Housing sector. When we introduced it as a focus sector in 2009, we were convinced of its high development impact, seeing affordable housing as a means to stimulate development and lift people out of unacceptable living conditions. While this remains true, market circumstances were such that developing a sizeable Housing portfolio with satisfying financial performance would have remained a major challenge in the coming years. In a sense, we started our focus on Housing too early, and faced not only a tumultuous sector but also an underdeveloped market. Although major efforts were put into developing our Housing focus, we judged that it would be prudent to discontinue it in 2012 and invest resources in our other focus sectors.