MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Babyloan, Total Partner to Develop Crowdfunding Platform to Offer Microfinance for Solar Energy Equipment in Africa, Asia, Latin America

Babyloan, a French online microfinance intermediary that works in both developed and developing countries, and Total, a French energy company, recently announced plans to develop a joint crowdfunding platform that will seek to “accelerate access to energy” in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Base of Pyramid Asia (BOPA) Raises Equity Stake in Alliance for Microfinance in Myanmar (AMFIM) from 33% to 49%

Base of Pyramid Asia (BOPA), a Singapore-based equity investor in small microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Asia, recently purchased an additional equity stake of 16-percent in Alliance for Microfinance in Myanmar (AMFIM), a deposit-taking microfinance institution (MFI) that was launched in Myanmar in 2014. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Good News, “Painful” News About Digital Finance at the Final Day of European Microfinance Week

European Microfinance WeekIn moderating Friday’s panel on “Integrating digital financial services” at European Microfinance Week, Philippe Breul of PHB Development opened with several examples of success: (1) Microfinance institution (MFI) Musoni Kenya reducing loan turnaround time from 72 to 6 hours; (2) Indian MFI Ujjivan boosting loan officers’ caseloads by 134 percent; and (3) Opportunity Bank Serbia, which operates in an area of better mobile connectivity than the other two MFIs, providing immediate credit decisions in response to 80 percent of loan applications. Mr Breul stated that the time period required to save enough on costs to offset the expense of the tablets and other elements of digital systems can be as low as Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Serving Youth: Back-to-School Savings Promotions, Lower Loan Portfolio-at-Risk (PAR) Ratios

European Microfinance WeekOn Friday, during the final day of European Microfinance Week, Ata Cisse of the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) explained how that organization’s YouthStart program, which was launched in 2010 in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation of Canada, facilitated microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Africa collecting deposits equivalent to USD 16 million through 2014 from 600,000 youth, roughly evenly divided between young men and women. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: How Microinsurance Affected Mongolian Herders Rebuilding After Drought

European Microfinance WeekAt European Microfinance Week yesterday, Veronika Bertram-Hümmer of Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Berlin (the German Institute for Economic Research) and Leibniz Universitat Hannover presented research on how insured and uninsured herders in Mongolia recovered from the 2009-2010 drought that killed 22 percent of the livestock in the country. Insured households received an average payout of USD 312. None used the money to buy livestock, instead opting Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Crédit Rural de Guinée Wins $110k European Microfinance Award for Response to Ebola

Crédit Rural de Guinée (CRG) has been announced as the winner of the 6th European Microfinance Award, focusing this year on Microfinance in Post-disaster, Post-conflict Areas & Fragile States, for its innovative response to the Ebola outbreak in Guinea. The Award was presented during European Microfinance Week by Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, during a ceremony on 19th November held at the European Investment Bank headquarters in Luxembourg. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: On Financial Stability, Inclusion, Exclusion and “Big Mistakes”

During a session on financial stability at European Microfinance Week yesterday, Piotr Korynski of the Microfinance Centre said regarding financial services that “it is not always a good idea to include everybody.” After showing data from a range of countries showing a positive correlation between the share of adults with formal financial accounts and gross domestic product, Mr Korynski asked, Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, Harvard Business School to Offer Joint Education Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance, Applications Due by December 31, 2015

The Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI), an affiliate of the US-based nonprofit Accion that aims to promote universal financial access, and the Harvard Business School (HBS) have announced that they will offer a joint executive education program entitled ‘Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance’. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Mariel Mensink Presents Agri-Finance Lending Scorecard to Rural Outreach and Innovation Action Group at e-MFP’s European Microfinance Week

Mariel Mensink of ICCO Terrafina Microfinance, an affiliate of the Dutch Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO), spoke yesterday during the opening day of the European Microfinance Platform’s (e-MFP’s) European Microfinance Week, presenting the agri-finance scorecard, a tool that loan officers can use to assess the repayment capacity of potential microborrowers. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: e-MFP’s Microfinance & Environment Action Group Focuses on Quantitative Measures

As part of the first day of the European Microfinance Platform’s (e-MFP’s) European Microfinance Week, e-MFP’s Microfinance & Environment Action Group met today to elaborate its plan for the next two years. Marion Allet of the Paris-based Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa (PAMIGA) led the group in a set of exercises to explore the Action Group’s three areas of focus: Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank (OeEB) Invests $11m in Sanad Fund for MSME for Lending to Micro-, Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in Middle East, North Africa

Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank (OeEB), the development bank of Austria, has invested EUR 10 million (USD 10.7 million) in Sanad Fund for MSME, a Luxembourg-based public-private partnership that provides medium- and long-term debt and equity financing in the Middle East and North Africa. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: ACTIAM-FMO SME Finance Fund Closes at $162m with New Investment from Pensioenfonds Vervoer; Increased Investments from Spoorwegpensioenfonds, Stichting Pensioenfonds Openbaar Vervoer

The ACTIAM-FMO SME Finance Fund, which is managed by Actiam, a Netherlands-based asset manager, and Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), a Dutch development bank, recently closed at approximately EUR 150 million (USD 162 million). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Lends $9m to Kyrgyzstan’s Kompanion; $5.4m to Morocco’s Albaraka to Finance Micro-, Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs)

The UK-Based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has lent the local-currency equivalent of USD 9 million to Kompanion Financial Group, a microfinance institution (MFI) based in Kyrgyzstan, and EUR 5 million (USD 5.4 million) to Albaraka, the first Moroccan MFI to partner with EBRD [1] [2]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Equity Group Acquires ProCredit Bank Congo to Expand to Democratic Republic of the Congo

After receiving approval from regulators in Kenya and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Equity Group, a Kenya-based commercial bank, recently acquired 79 percent of the shares of ProCredit Bank Congo, which is located in DRC and focuses on serving small and medium-sized enterprises. The price of the acquisition has not been disclosed. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Base of Pyramid Asia (BOPA) Buys 20% Equity Stake in Microfinance Deposit Organization Matin of Tajikistan

For an undisclosed price, Base of Pyramid Asia (BOPA), a Singapore-based equity investor in small, Asian microfinance institutions (MFIs), recently purchased a 20-percent stake in Matin, a Tajikistan-based microfinance deposit organization (MDO). Continue reading