MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: IFC, Ecobank to Share Risk on $110m in Loans for Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in West, Central Africa

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group; and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (Ecobank), a commercial bank based in Lome, Togo with operations in 36 African countries, recently announced the launch of a risk-sharing credit facility in the amount of USD 110 million. The credit line is intended to increase access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in “fragile and conflict-affected states” [1] in West and Central Africa. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Boosting Rural Finance via Collaboration Among AFMIN, AMT Forum, AFRACA, MAIN

Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) is a production of four African microfinance networks in collaboration with Luxembourgish NGO ADA. As this is only the second SAM, a session was held this week on how the networks can expand their collaboration to increase their effectiveness in promoting rural finance on the continent.

Davy Serge Azakpame, the CEO of the Benin-based African Microfinance Network, proposed “creat[ing] an advocacy group to pressure government to boost funding for rural areas.” Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: How Holistic Approaches Can Advance Rural Enterprise Through Microinsurance, Technology, Market Research

At the start of the second day of conference sessions at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM), Renée Chao-Beroff of the Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa (PAMIGA), a France-based network of 14 African microfinance institutions, argued, “Microfinance has to be with something else to have effect. Standalone financial services are no longer working. We have to question our practices and go to a more holistic approach.” As an example, Mark Rueegg of Swiss microinsurer CelsiusPro explained how his firm distributes some of the satellite data it collects for actuarial purposes directly to farmers via mobile phones. “These data can give optimal planting dates instead of farmers going by what they were taught by their father, their neighbor…. This can allow them to increase their yield dramatically without extra costs, such as for additional fertilizer.” Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: World Economic Forum (WEF) Leaders Aim for Cooperation among Regulators for Financial Inclusion in Africa

During the World Economic Forum (WEF) in South Africa in June, business and political leaders from multiple African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa among others, have emphasized the need for collaboration between regulators in order to promote financial inclusion globally. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Commission, European Investment Fund (EIF) to Guarantee $107m Through European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), Expect to Generate $213m in Loans to European Social and Micro-enterprises

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive body, and the European Investment Fund (EIF), an EU-affiliated provider of finance to organizations that lend to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), recently partnered to introduce the European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Black Sea Trade and Development Bank to Loan $7m to FINCA Georgia for On-lending to Micro, Small Enterprises

FINCA Bank Georgia (FINCA Georgia), a microfinance institution (MFI) that is the Georgia-based subsidiary of the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA International), a US-based nonprofit microfinance organization, recently announced that it has entered into an agreement with the Greece-based international financial institution Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), to receive a loan of USD 7 million. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Promoting Partnerships that Support Value Chains at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM)

During the opening plenary session of African Microfinance Week, also known as Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM), the hot topic was partnerships, especially those that support value chains. André Okou of the African Development Bank, explained that his organization aims “to create new synergy by approaching the value chain in an integrated fashion – supporting all parts of the chain, including non-agricultural elements – to tackle constraints.” Raphaël de Guerre of the French government’s Agence Française de Developpement stated, “In Guinea we have added value for coffee producers. In Cameroon, we have increased honey prices by a factor of 3, showing private investors that this is viable.” Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: BIO, Oikocredit Invest USD 8.3 million in Fusion Microfinance of India

Fusion Microfinance (Fusion), a microfinance institution (MFI) based in New Delhi, has received a combined investment of INR 53 crores (USD 8.28 million) from Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries SA (BIO), an investment company backed by the government of Belgium; and the Dutch cooperative investment fund Oikocredit. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Triodos to Invest Debt in Promerica of Nicaragua

Triodos Microfinance Fund, a microfinance investment vehicle that mobilizes capital for microfinance institutions (MFIs); and Triodos Fair Share Fund, a closed-end mutual fund giving retail investors an opportunity to invest in MFIs, recently made a debt investment of unspecified amount in Promerica Financial Corporation (Promerica Group), a commercial bank based in Nicaragua. Triodos Investment Management, a subsidiary of Triodos Bank Netherlands, manages both funds. Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), the Dutch development bank; and Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), a German development bank, also participated in the investment with unspecified amounts of debt finance. Continue reading

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