MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: IFC Lends $7m to Opportunity Bank Serbia (OBS) to Support Rural Farmers, MSEs

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, recently lent USD 7 million to Opportunity Bank Serbia (OBS) for on-lending to farmers as well as micro- and small enterprises with the intent of helping

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Alternative Credit Scorers Lenddo, Entrepreneurial Finance Lab (EFL) Merge

Two organizations that facilitate lending to people and small businesses with limited credit histories, US-based Entrepreneurial Finance Lab (EFL) and Singapore-based Lenddo, recently merged. Prior to the merger, the organizations had completed a total of 5 million

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FINCA Microfinance Bank of Tanzania Rolls Out HaloYako Mobile Savings Product

The Tanzanian affiliate of the US-based Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA International) recently began offering a service called HaloYako that allows people to open savings accounts via mobile phones. There is no fee to use the service or maintain the associated account. In fact, customers can earn

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Visa Foundation Issues Inaugural Grant of $20m to Women’s World Banking for Microinsurance, Financial Training, Leadership Development

Visa, a “global payments technology” company headquartered in the US state of California, recently announced that the first grant from its newly initiated Visa Foundation will benefit Women’s World Banking, a nonprofit organization based in the US city of New York that works through a network of 49 financial institutions across 31 countries to help

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: National Bank of Cambodia: Foreign Banks Struggling to Meet 10% Local-currency Lending Requirement Should Partner with Microfinance Institutions

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) continues to resist suggestions that it soften the decree it made in December 2016 that all financial institutions boost their local-currency lending to 10 percent of their portfolios by December 2019. NBC Director General Chea Serey reportedly said foreign banks struggling to meet the new threshold should partner with microfinance institutions (MFIs) because

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Camilla Nestor Named CEO of MIX, Provider of Data on Microfinance, Agricultural Finance, Digital Financial Services

Camilla Nestor, who recently worked for the US-based Grameen Foundation, has been named CEO of the US-based nonprofit MIX, which seeks to increase financial inclusion by promoting transparency. The Chief Operating Officer of MIX, Blaine Stephens, said “Camilla’s extensive knowledge of these sectors augments MIX’s efforts to address information gaps constraining the development of emerging segments including smallholder agricultural finance and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Platform for Economic Inclusion (PEI) to Carry on CGAP’s Work on Graduation Programs

CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a nonprofit research center seeking to expand financial services in poor regions, recently announced the establishment of the Platform for Economic Inclusion (PEI) to “accelerate innovation and scaling of graduation-style programming.” Initiated by Bangladeshi NGO BRAC (formerly the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee) in 2011, the graduation approach involves: targeting only

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nicaraguan MFI Among Those Borrowing $12m from C-Quadrat’s Dual Return Vision Microfinance Funds

A unit of Austrian fund manager C-Quadrat, C-Quadrat Asset Management, recently informed MicroCapital that a Nicaraguan microfinance institution (MFI) was among the beneficiaries of the equivalent of USD 12 million that its Dual Return Vision Microfinance funds lent during October. The other borrowers are located elsewhere in Central and South America as well as

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EBRD, EU, European Investment Advisory Hub to Provide Technical Assistance to SMEs in Bulgaria, Romania

The UK-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the EU and the European Investment Advisory Hub recently created a program to provide

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FMO, Triodos, Accion Invest Equity in Nicaraguan Microfinance Institution Financiera FAMA

Entities of two Dutch institutions, the government-controlled development bank FMO and the foundation-controlled Triodos Bank, recently invested equity in Nicaragua’s Financiera FAMA for the first time. In addition,

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Milliman Acquires MicroInsurance Centre in Effort to Boost Services Benefiting Poor People

Milliman Inc., an international consulting and actuarial firm headquartered in the US city of Seattle, recently acquired the MicroInsurance Centre (MIC), a for-profit consulting firm based in the US state of Wisconsin that provides “product development, research, and advocacy” services relating to insurance services to poor people. The terms of the agreement have

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: 11 Women Offered MFI Jobs After Completing Afghanistan Microfinance Association Apprenticeships

A group of 75 women recently completed nine-month microfinance apprenticeships in the Afghan provinces of Balkh, Herat and Kabul. Eleven of these have been offered paid positions within the microfinance institutions (MFIs) at which they trained, Afghan Rural Finance Company, the First Microfinance Bank of Afghanistan, the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) Afghanistan and Oxus Afghanistan. Three additional MFIs, Mutahid, Exchangerzone and Hand in Hand, have agreed to host women apprentices in the future.

The program was funded by

MICROFINANCE EVENT: 14th Annual Global Microfinance Forum; March 15-16, 2018; Munich, Germany

Event Name: 14th Annual Global Microfinance Forum

Event Date: March 15 – March 16, 2018

Event Location: Munich, Germany

Summary of Event: This conference will include sessions on microleasing, “green” microcredit, managing foreign exchange risk, crowdfunding, serving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), technology, leveraging guarantees

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Alternative Credit Scoring Firm MicroMoney, Peer-lending Platform Karma Partner to Promote Financial Inclusion

Singapore-based alternative credit scoring firm MicroMoney and Netherlands-domiciled peer-lending NGO Karma recently announced a partnership to work toward their shared “mission to help billions of people to be financially included” in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. MicroMoney will access repayment data from

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Uzbekistan’s NBU Borrowing $70m from EBRD to On-lend to MSMEs

The National Bank for Foreign Economic Activity of Uzbekistan (NBU) recently opened credit lines totaling USD 100 million with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based development finance institution. USD 70 million of the total is earmarked to on-lend to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, with the remainder allocated to

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company Linking 8 MFIs to United Bank’s “UBL Omni” Branchless Banking Service

United Bank Limited (UBL), a Karachi-based commercial bank, and the Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC), an organization funded by the governments of the UK and Germany, recently reached an agreement through which PMIC will link eight of its partner microfinance institutions (MFIs)

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Africa Banking & Finance Conference; April 10 – 11, 2018; Lagos, Nigeria

Event Name: Africa Banking & Finance Conference

Event Date: April 10 – April 11, 2018

Event Location: Lagos, Nigeria

Summary of Event: This is the seventh iteration of this event, which will focus again on financial inclusion. In addition to a trade show, the conference will include sessions on insurance, savings, payments, capacity building, measuring success, regulation, agent banking, serving women and youth, and how banks can downscale