MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fefisol Buys Equity Stake in Microfinance Institution Musoni of Kenya for $1m

Kenyan microlender Musoni recently took on its sixth shareholder, selling a stake of unspecified size for KES 100 million (USD 1 million) to Fonds Européen de Financement Solidaire (Fefisol), a fund managed by Alterfin, which is a Belgian investor in microfinance and

MICROFINANCE EVENT: ICT4D (Information and Communications Technology for Development); May 8 – 10, 2018; Lusaka, Zambia

Summary of Event: This event will address how technology can help meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Sessions will be themed around areas including Digital Financial Inclusion, Agriculture & Environment, and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: African Banks Join FMO’s FinForward, Gain Access to 4wrd System for Testing Customer Data with 145 Fintechs

The FinForward program of the Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), a development bank controlled by the Dutch government, has enrolled nine African financial institutions that are looking to improve their back-office systems or digitize the client-facing operations. The program offers the banks, which operate in 36 countries, access to 4wrd, “a testing environment where the banks and fintechs [financial technology firms] can test and integrate new financial technology solutions in a safe and secure manner.” The environment serves as a single connection point for financial institutions and mobile-money providers to access the services of 145

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation Lends $2.2m in Local Currency to Advans, Premiere Agence de MicroFinance (PAMF) of Cote d’Ivoire

The Grameen Credit Agricole (GCA) Foundation, whose head office is in Luxembourg, recently informed MicroCapital that it is extending the following local-currency loans: the equivalent of USD 1.24 million to Advans Cote d’Ivoire, a unit of Luxembourg’s Advans SA, and the equivalent of USD 950,000 to Premiere Agence de MicroFinance (PAMF) Cote d’Ivoire, an affiliate of Switzerland’s Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance.

Founded in 2012, Advans Cote d’Ivoire has a gross loan portfolio of EUR 74 million (USD 92 million), client deposits of EUR 46 million (USD 57 million), and 79,000 clients served via 12 branches as of June 2017. Advans SA, which is active in 10 countries

MICROFINANCE PAPER ROUND-UP: Measurement: from Financial Access to Economic Empowerment; Savings Groups’ Impact; MFIs’ Role with Startups

“Advancing Financial Inclusion Metrics: Shifting from Access to Economic Empowerment,” by Matthew Blake and Drew Propson, published by the World Economic Forum, January 2018, 24 pages, available at
http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_White_Paper_Advancing_Financial_Inclusion_Metrics.pdf

The authors of this report address how to improve the measurement of financial inclusion and ultimately how to bridge financial inclusion with financial health. They identify the following mechanisms as critical to successful financial inclusion: (1) payments; (2) savings; (3) credit; and (4) regulation and policy. Regarding the connection of financial inclusion to financial health, the authors consider three case studies: (1) Insight2Impact, a data-analysis company seeking to measure financial inclusion based on the needs of consumers rather than on the products they are offered; (2) the nonprofit Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), which measures “long-term” consumer outcomes in the US; and (3) the application of CFSI’s model to other countries by

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: GGF Lending $1.9m to Microcredit Foundation Sunrise Sarajevo for Energy-efficiency Measures Expected to Prevent 2k Tons of Annual Carbon Dioxide Emissions in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Microcredit Foundation Sunrise Sarajevo, which the World Bank founded in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996, recently borrowed EUR 1.5 million (USD 1.9 million) from the Green for Growth Fund (GGF), which is domiciled in Luxembourg, to on-lend to homeowners, farmers, and micro- and small enterprises to fund energy-efficiency measures. GGF will also provide an unspecified amount of technical assistance funding to Sunrise for capacity development and marketing.

Samir Bajrovic, the director of Sunrise said, “Our organization is committed to continuously support programs and activities resulting in the reduction of energy poverty, improvement of air quality and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: United Bank for Africa (UBA) Rolls Out “Intelligent Personality,” Leo, to Support Online Banking Customers via Facebook Messenger

United Bank for Africa (UBA), which serves 22 countries from its headquarters in Nigeria, recently unveiled Leo, “an artificial intelligence personality meant to address any type of banking concerns” via the Facebook Messenger app from US-based technology firm Facebook. UBA customers that also have a Facebook account may use the “chat banking” service to perform range of actions that includes opening accounts, checking account balances, transferring funds, buying mobile airtime, confirming transactions, applying for loans and freezing

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit; September 25 – 27, 2018; Washington, DC, USA

Summary of Event: This year’s summit is themed “Generation 2030: Learning & Earning in a Changing World of Work.” The agenda revolves around four tracks: Building a Foundation, Ready for the Global Workforce, Livelihoods Through Self-employment and Global Context Matters. Topics will include behavioral skills; work-based learning; “youth-led social

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation Lends $3m in Local Currency to Asian Credit Fund of Kazakhstan, Oxus Tajikistan for Microfinance

Two microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Central Asia are among those that recently borrowed from the Grameen Credit Agricole (GCA) Foundation, whose head office is in Luxembourg. Both of the loans are denominated in local currency and have terms of three years. Neither MFI accepts deposits.

The Asian Credit Fund, an MFI controlled by US-based NGO Mercy Corps, borrowed the equivalent of

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Green for Growth Fund Nets $19m in Equity from BMZ to Boost Funding of Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy Projects via Microfinance Institutions, Banks

The Green for Growth Fund (GGF), which invests in reductions in pollution and energy usage in Eurasia and North Africa, recently accepted an investment of EUR 15 million (USD 19 million) from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is also known by its German acronym BMZ, to boost the fund’s investment in

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Smallholder Finance Product Explorer from MIX, One Acre Fund Highlights Microfinance Institutions’ Agricultural Loan Offerings

Two US-based NGOs, MIX, a data provider also known as the Microfinance Information Exchange, and the One Acre Fund, which seeks to develop “market-based strategies to fight rural poverty,” recently rolled out public access to a set of data on financial services for small-scale farmers called the Smallholder Finance Product Explorer. The service, which is part of the MIX Market database, is slated to grow from its current level, which includes

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fusion Microfinance of India Raises $12m in Equity from Creation Investments, Oikocredit, Gawa Capital

Fusion Microfinance, a lender to groups of women in India, recently raised INR 800 million (USD 12.4 million) in unspecified portions from US-based Creation Investments, Netherlands-based Oikocredit and Spain-based Gawa Capital Partners. All three of the investors were already shareholders in the microlender. Fusion plans to use the cash to invest in

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: IFC Buys $9m in Local-currency Bonds from CRRH-UEMOA to Support Housing Finance in West Africa

The World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation has purchased the equivalent of USD 9 million in bonds issued by the mortgage refinancier Caisse Regionale de Refinancement Hypothecaire de l’UEMOA (Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine). The goal of the investment is to catalyze USD 500 million in

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microfinance Institutions LOLC Cambodia, VisionFund Lanka Each Borrow $2.4m from Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation

The Grameen Credit Agricole (GCA) Foundation, whose head office is in Luxembourg, recently informed MicroCapital that it has issued three-year loans totaling the equivalent of USD 4.7 million to two microfinance institutions with ties to Sri Lanka.

LOLC Cambodia, which is owned by Sri Lanka’s LOLC Group, borrowed half of the total, denominated in US dollars. LOLC Cambodia was founded in 1994 as Thaneakea Phum (Cambodia) by US-based NGO Catholic Relief Services. The MFI has since been acquired by Sri Lanka’s LOLC Group, which is a member of Orix, a Japanese conglomerate. LOLC Group, whose name derives from

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: World Bank Lending $15m to Jamaica for Microfinance Credit Guarantees, SME Fund

The World Bank recently agreed to lend USD 15 million to the Development Bank of Jamaica to support micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises via partial credit guarantees and an SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) fund. Galina Sotirova, the World Bank country manager for Jamaica, described the program as an effort to “…diversify and expand financing mechanisms for small businesses to promote entrepreneurship and job creation.” The objectives includes raising USD 10 million from private funders and guaranteeing

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MFIs in Bolivia, Vietnam Borrow $11.5m from C-Quadrat Dual Return Vision Microfinance Fund

Two microfinance institutions (MFIs) – one in Bolivia and one in Vietnam – recently borrowed a total of USD 11.5 million from the Dual Return Vision Microfinance fund, an offering of C-Quadrat Asset Management, which is a unit of Austrian fund manager C-Quadrat. The identities of the MFIs and the amount each borrowed remain confidential. C-Quadrat Asset Management did tell MicroCapital that

MICROFINANCE EVENT: InsurTech: Rising to the Regulatory Challenge; March 20, 2018; Colombo, Sri Lanka

Summary of Event: The goal of this twelfth consultative forum of its kind is to explore how regulators can adjust to working with the hundreds of start-up firms leveraging technology to enter the insurance market. In particular, sessions will address how “to strike a balance between facilitating innovation, increasing the inclusiveness of the insurance sector, and maintaining the conditions for a fair, safe and stable insurance sector…”. Topics will include digitizing applications, premium collection, payouts and other processes as well as