Category: Africa

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FINCA Tanzania Converts from Microfinance Institution (MFI) to Commercial Bank; Accepts Deposits

The Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) Tanzania, an affiliate of the US-based microfinance network FINCA International, has converted into a commercial bank that will be able to accept deposits from the public using the name FINCA Microfinance Bank. Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: ACRE Africa, Bima, Microfact, Tech-Innov, UTM, Others Report on New Products for Rural Areas at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) in Dakar, Senegal

As Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) began to draw to a close, a range of service providers described their new products and services at an all-day Innovation Fair.

Solenn Marquette of Bima, a Sweden-based insurer operating in 13 developing countries, explained her firm’s strategy for using mobile phones to sell insurance. Although building branches is too expensive, “we still put education teams on ground” to market products. One such product is Tigo Hospitalization, which is offered in Senegal starting at CFA 200 (USD 0.40) per month for up to CFA 30,000 (USD 50) in coverage. Continue reading


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. 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, business and political leaders from multiple African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa among others, emphasized the need for collaboration among regulators in order to promote financial inclusion globally. 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


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: 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: 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: 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


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
Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: Mohamed Attanda on African Microfinance Week (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance, SAM), Dakar, Senegal, June 29 – July 3, 2015

MicroCapital: The agenda of Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) emphasizes improving services in rural areas; is there something in that realm that you would like to highlight?

Mohamed Attanda: Yes, we have noted for the past several years that rural areas have not been well served by traditional financial institutions, so there has been a need for microfinance institutions to focus on rural areas and family farms. How microfinance institutions can deal with this problem is a big question. The large size of African Microfinance Week gives us more opportunities to work together to innovate in rural finance in Africa.

MC: Several networks have collaborated to create SAM. What is the advantage in collocating their general assemblies in conjunction with a conference? Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Canada to Contribute $10m to International Organization of La Francophonie to Promote Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa

The International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF), a Paris-based organization of 80 French-speaking countries, and the government of Canada recently announced an agreement under which Canada would contribute approximately USD 10 million to IOF to promote employment for women and youth through entrepreneurship in francophone Sub-Saharan Africa. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: OPIC, Calvert, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, EIB Invest $12m in Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa (PAMIGA) to Support Access to Solar Power, Irrigation in Rural Africa

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a development finance institution backed by the US government, and the Calvert Foundation, a US-based nonprofit community development financial institution, recently signed agreements to loan USD 6.25 million to Pamiga Finance S.A. (PFSA) to help it spread access to solar energy and micro-irrigation systems in rural Africa [1]. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Labour Office’s (ILO’s) Impact Insurance Facility, Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) Seek to Stimulate Innovation in Microinsurance in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Impact Insurance Facility of the UN’s International Labour Office (ILO) and the French government’s Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) recently signed a three-year partnership seeking to strengthen the resilience of middle-income workers in the informal sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. Financial details of this partnership have not been reported. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: C-Quadrat Asset Management’s Vision Microfinance Funds Issue $6m in Credits to Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Armenia, Colombia, Georgia, Mongolia, Nigeria, Tajikistan and Paraguay

During May 2015, Viennese asset manager C-Quadrat Asset Management USD 6 million worth of credits via the two Vision Microfinance funds to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Armenia, Colombia, Georgia, Mongolia, Nigeria, Tajikistan and Paraguay. Of this total, C-Quadrat Asset Management invested USD 500,000 in the microfinance institution based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Founded in 2001, this institution targets micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and provides services to approximately 3,200 clients. Continue reading