MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Risk Management Initiative in Microfinance (RIM) Announces Launch of Website Promoting Uniform Standards

Risk Management Initiative in Microfinance (RIM), a platform that promotes adoption of risk management standards in microfinance, has announced the launch of its official website, which aims to provide a “hub for the dissemination of risk management standards, information sharing and industry cooperation” [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Canadian Government Donates $309m to African Development Fund (ADF)

The Canadian Minister of International Development, Christian Paradis, recently announced that the Canadian government will provide CAD 309 million (USD 279 million) to the African Development Fund (ADF), a fund that provides loans and grants to its 40 African member countries, to support the 13th replenishment of ADF’S budget funds. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) May Loan $38m to Raiffeisen Leasing Romania for Micro-, Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral institution headquartered in London, is considering disbursing a senior, local-currency loan in an amount equivalent to EUR 30 million (USD 38 million) to Raiffeisen Leasing Romania, a subsidiary of Austria-based Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG (RZB). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microfinance Institutions in Ghana to Charge Clients Unspecified Fee for Maintaining Deposits Beginning in October 2014

According to a statement attributed to Mr. Collins Amponsah, the board chairman of the Ghana association of microfinance companies (GAMC), an association of 560 member companies providing microfinance services, all Ghanaian microfinance institutions (MFIs) that are members of GAMC will begin charging clients an unspecified fee for managing their deposits beginning in October of 2014. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) Announces Finalists for Fifth European Microfinance Award for Environmental Products: ESAF Investments of India, Kompanion of Kyrgyzstan, XacBank of Mongolia

The European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), a Luxembourg-based network of approximately 130 microfinance organizations and individuals, has announced that there are three finalists for the Fifth European Microfinance Award, which is themed “Microfinance and the Environment” for 2014[1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Globacom Launches Glo Xchange in Nigeria to Share 42k-Agent Mobile Money Network with Customers of Ecobank, First Bank, Stanbic

Globacom, a Nigerian telecommunications company that serves 25 million mobile phone subscribers in four countries in Africa, reportedly has launched Glo Xchange, opening its network of 42,000 agents to the following mobile money operators: FirstMonie, a mobile money initiative backed by First Bank in Nigeria; Ecobank, which has operations in 29 African countries; and Stanbic, a commercial bank that operates in Nigeria and Uganda. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Investment Bank, Tunisian-Kuwaiti Bank, Tunis Entrepreneurship Network Plan to Loan $52m to Tunisian Micro-, Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the Luxembourg-based long-term lending bank of the European Union (EU); the Banque Tuniso-Koweitienne [Tunisian-Kuwaiti Bank] (BTK), a financial institution founded by the governments of Tunisia and Kuwait; and the Tunis Entrepreneurship Network (TEN), an association that assists entrepreneurs and small businesses in Tunisia, reportedly have announced a draft agreement to finance micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Tunisia. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microfinance Centre (MFC) To Launch “Borrow Wisely” Campaign in Effort to Increase Financial Literacy in Europe, Central Asia

The Microfinance Centre (MFC), a Poland-based network of 103 microfinance providers 27 countries, will launch a “Borrow Wisely” campaign during October 2014 with the goal of increasing the financial literacy of 80,000 low-income borrowers in nine countries in Europe and Central Asia. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) to Move Headquarters From Thaliand to Malaysia in 2015

The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), a network of financial policymakers from developing and emerging economies, announced at its recent annual 2014 Global Policy Forum in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, that in collaboration with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Malaysia’s central bank, AFI will shift its headquarters from Bangkok, Thailand, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in January 2015. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Warid Telecom, Bank Alfalah, Monet Launch Mobile Money Service “Mobile Paisa” in Pakistan

Warid Telecom, a United Arab Emirates-based provider of cellular phone service in three countries, and Bank Alfalah Limited (BAFL), a Pakistani financial institution, in collaboration with Monet Private Limited, a Pakistan-based electronic payment company, has launched Mobile Paisa, a mobile money service in Pakistan. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Green for Growth Fund, Southeast Europe (GGF) Lends $2m to Microinvest of Moldova for On-Lending to Micro-, Small Enterprises (MSEs)

The Green for Growth Fund, Southeast Europe (GGF), a Germany-based fund that invests in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, has disbursed a senior loan of EUR 2 million (USD  2.6 million) to Microinvest, a microfinance institution (MFI) in Moldova that was founded by Soros Foundation – Moldova, an affiliate of the US-based Open Society Foundations. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Sodexo, Bluedrop Learning, Global Impact Announce Commitments to Middle East, Women-Owned Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) at 10th Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

The tenth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a US-based nonprofit founded by former US President Bill Clinton, is being held in the US city of New York from September 21-24, and has entertained new commitments as well as progress reports on earlier commitments to address global challenges [1][2]: Continue reading

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “The Road to Inclusion: A Look at the Financially Excluded and Underserved;” Published by MasterCard

“The Road to Inclusion: A Look at the Financially Excluded and Underserved;” Published by MasterCard; May 2014; 18 pages; available at http://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/documents/the-road-to-inclusion-a-look-at-the-financially-excluded-and-underserved

This report, published by US-based financial services corporation MasterCard, seeks to shed light on how people manage with limited financial services in Egypt, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines and Vietnam. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Clinton Global Initiative Members Emphasize Empowering Women and Girls for Fifth Consecutive Year

In the US city of New York today, at the tenth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, an effort by the US-based Clinton Foundation to connect public and private organizations to address problems such as poverty and climate change, a major focus was placed on empowering women and girls for the fifth consecutive year. Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, argued that it is critical to reach out to those with whom you generally disagree in order to seek common ground from which progress is possible. Regarding issues facing women and girls, Minister Ploumen argued that “leveling the playing field” for females involves more than economics, but extends into areas such as inheritance law, safety in transportation, and the passage and enforcement of laws against domestic violence. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank of Ghana (BoG) Closes Down Illegal Microfinance Institutions, Increases Capital Requirements

The Bank of Ghana (BoG), the country’s central bank, reportedly is cancelling the licenses of and shutting down microfinance institutions (MFIs) that are engaging in practices such as: (1) charging interest rates in excess of government-mandated limits; (2) transferring operating licenses among organizations; or (3) changing their publicly recognized business name repeatedly in order to mitigate any effects of the firm’s poor reputation among current and former customers. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Digital Financial Services Risk Assessment for Microfinance Institutions, Microinsurance Awareness in Ghana, G2P for Financial Inclusion: A Job Half Done

“Digital Financial Services Risk Assessment For Microfinance Institutions – A Pocket Guide;” by Tom Shaw, Marcella Willis, Daryl Skoog, Sonia Arenaza, Sudha Garg, Susan Salerno, Eve Hamilton and Shailee Adnolfi; published by The Digital Financial Services Working Group; September 2014; 15 pages; available at https://lextonblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/dfs_risk_guide_sept_2014_final.pdf

The authors of this “pocket guide”[1] argue for the importance of “Digital Financial Services (DFS)”[1] to reach low-income individuals who do not have access to traditional banking solutions. Continue reading