SPECIAL REPORT: Opening Ceremonies of Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) Raise Hopes of Reducing Poverty Through Improved Value Chains, Government Support of Agriculture

African Microfinance Week, also known as Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM), was launched this morning in Dakar, Senegal, by speakers including Minister Moustapha Diop of Senegal’s Ministry of Women, Family and Children. (While related meetings, training sessions and vendor presentations are running from June 25 through July 3, the main conference sessions are being held on June 30 and July 1.)

Minister Diop Opens SAM

In keeping with the event theme, “Accelerating Innovative Rural Finance in Africa,” Minister Diop argued that climate change is expected to reduce crop yields in Africa over time and that “to focus on this challenge, family farms are needed, and they need access to finance. Government is helping them, but they need more…. We would like to attract financing to the rural zones; by merging the efforts of the public and private sectors, we will meet this challenge.” Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Opportunity Collaboration, October 11 – 16, 2015, Ixtapa, Mexico

Event Name: Opportunity Collaboration

Event Date: October 11-16, 2015

Event Location: Playa Quiet Beach, Ixtapa, Mexico

Event Summary: Opportunity Collaboration is a five-day networking and problem-solving event that engages social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, social financiers and grant-makers to explore methods of collaboration, identify opportunities for leveraging resources across organizations and generate mechanisms for reducing poverty. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: The MasterCard Foundation Offering $150k Via Clients at the Centre Prize; Applications Due June 30, 2015

The MasterCard Foundation, a Canadian organization founded by the US-based payments firm MasterCard, is accepting applications for the Clients at the Centre Prize through 11:59 p.m. GMT on June 30, 2015 via the following website: https://mastercardfdn.innocentive.com/. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: East Africa Microfinance Summit 2015: “Microfinance Enhancing Lives through Innovations,” August 17-19, 2015, Nairobi, Kenya

Event Name: East Africa Microfinance Summit 2015

Event Date: August 17-19, 2015

Event Location: Kenyatta International Convention Center, Nairobi, Kenya

Summary of Event: The theme of this conference is “Microfinance Enhancing Lives through Innovations,” and the event will focus on topics including: (1) the impact of mobile banking and agent-based banking for promoting financial inclusion; (2) the role of regulation in encouraging innovation; (3) the benefits of credit information sharing; (4) the role of youth and women in advancing social and economic development; (5) microfinance and socially-responsible enterprise; and (6) developments and trends observed in the East African microfinance industry over the past year.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) Loans $75m to Banco Continental of Paraguay for On-lending to Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the US-based World Bank Group, recently announced an agreement to provide a loan of USD 50 million to Banco Continental, a commercial bank established in Paraguay in 1980.  Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Cracking the Nut Conference, “Regenerating Rural & Agricultural Development,” March 1-2, 2016, Washington, DC, USA

Event Name: Cracking the Nut Conference 2016

Event Date: March 1 – 2, 2015

Event Location: Enrique V. Iglesias Conference Center, Washington, DC, USA

Event Summary: Cracking the Nut 2016 will focus on three topics: (1) developing methods to incentivize small farmers to adopt “sustainable” farming practices and regenerating rural and agricultural landscapes by restoring deforested areas and depleted soils; (2) financing environmentally sustainable development; and (3) promoting investment in environmentally friendly agriculture.  Continue reading

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Is Health Microinsurance Sustainable? An Analysis of Five South Asian Schemes,” by Michael E. Weilant, published by the International Labour Organization

“Is Health Microinsurance Sustainable? An analysis of Five South Asian Schemes,” by Michael Weilant, published by the International Labor Organization, May 2015, 45 pages, available at: http://www.impactinsurance.org/sites/default/files/mp41_final.pdf

This paper analyzes five health microinsurance (HMI) schemes operating in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan in order to evaluate the sustainability of HMI. All five schemes were in operation for more than 3 years and serve more than 25,000 active customers. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s Bandhan Financial Services Receives Banking License Permitting it to Accept Deposits; Plans to Begin Banking Operations in August 2015

The Indian microfinance institution, Bandhan Financial Services, which received a provisional banking license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in 2014, recently announced that it has received final approval from RBI that allows it to accept deposits. The organization intends to start offering banking services beginning August 23, 2015. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Incofin Investment Management Raises $71m in First Close of agRIF Fund, Successor to Rural Impulse Funds; Plans to Invest in Agricultural, Rural Enterprises

Incofin Investment Management (Incofin IM), a Belgium-based manager of microfinance investment funds, recently announced the first close of agRIF, a 10-year debt and equity investment fund, at a total value of USD 71 million. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EBRD, EU Scale Up Support for Small, Medium-Sized Businesses in Tunisia with Donation of $11m

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral financial institution, recently announced that it is increasing its support of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Tunisia. The European Union (EU) through the Programme d’Appui à la Compétitivité des Services (PACS) is providing EUR 10 million (USD 11.3 million) to the initiative. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Sanad Fund for MSME Donates $28k to Vitas for Microfinance Client Protection in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories

The Luxembourg-based Sanad Fund for MSME (micro-, small and medium-sized enterprise) recently donated USD 28,000 to Vitas Group, a commercial holding company created by US-based, international nonprofit organization Global Communities, to train the staff of Vitas Group’s microfinance institutions in the Middle East on client protection. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Good World Solutions Uses Mobile Surveys to Promote Microfinance Client Protection

Good World Solutions (GWS), a US-based nonprofit organization that develops anonymous reporting tools for people to report on how companies treat them, has built a mobile-based interactive voice response survey service to gather information from microfinance borrowers in India to determine whether microfinance institutions (MFIs) are following the client protection principles of the US-based Smart Campaign.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Silatech Develops Crowdfunding Website Narwi for Shariah-Compliant Microfinance in Middle East, North Africa

Silatech, a Qatar-based social enterprise aiming to increase employment and entrepreneurship among youth in the Middle East and North Africa, recently announced the development of Narwi, a nonprofit crowdfunding platform that will support microentrepreneurs via Islamic charitable giving. The platform is scheduled to be launched in late June 2015. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Inter-American Awards for Financial and Entrepreneurial Innovation: Applications Due July 10, 2015

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) Group, has announced that it is accepting applications for the 2015 Inter-American Awards for Financial and Entrepreneurial Innovation, which is intended to recognize the achievements of institutions that support financial inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Morocco’s Microfinance Market; Trends in Funding Financial Inclusion; Growth Projections in Islamic Microfinance

“Ending the Microfinance Crisis in Morocco: Acting early, acting right;” published by the International Financial Corporation in partnership with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development; the Danish International Development Agency; Japan; Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs; and UKaid; October 2014; available at http://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/5e1e5a0047850bdba0d4f5299ede9589/IFC+Morocco+MicroFinance+Crisis+report.English.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
Continue reading