Category: Africa

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kenya’s FarmDrive Nets Technical Assistance Funds from CGAP to Use Satellite Imagery to Forecast Smallholder Farmers’ Revenues

FarmDrive, a for-profit Kenyan organization seeking to reduce the risk of lending to farmers, recently received an undisclosed amount of technical assistance funding from CGAP, a US-based NGO also known as the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, to allow it to use satellite data on “planting cycles, crop yields, and trends in production to help forecast future revenues, timing of income and potential Continue reading

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Written by Comments Off on MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kenya’s FarmDrive Nets Technical Assistance Funds from CGAP to Use Satellite Imagery to Forecast Smallholder Farmers’ Revenues Posted in Africa, Agriculture / Rural Finance

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: 16 Additional Institutions Commit to World Bank’s Goal of Achieving Universal Financial Access by 2020

The US-based multilateral World Bank Group (WBG) recently announced that 16 additional financial institutions have committed to partner to work toward “universal financial access” (UFA) by 2020, bringing the size of the group to 30 organizations. The new partners, which have committed to helping a total of 168 million people open new transaction accounts by 2020, are:

(1) the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, which operates in Africa, Asia and the Middle East;
(2) Ant Financial (Ali Baba Group) of China; Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: D.light Raises $15m in Equity from Energy Access Ventures, KawiSafi, NewQuest, Omidyar to Expand Sales of Solar Products via Microloans, Develop Televisions for Emerging Markets

D.light, a privately-owned retailer of solar appliances based in the US city of San Francisco, recently raised USD 22.5 million in funding to expand its PayGo platform, which offers microloans to finance purchases of solar products. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: How the Private Sector Can Boost Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa; the Role of Impact Investing in Achieving SDGs in Africa; Documenting Reforms to “Doing Business”

Entreprenante Afrique; by Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg; published in French by Odile Jacob; September 2016; 288 pages; available for purchase at: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=_vslDQAAQBAJ&rdid=book-_vslDQAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_buy&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_atb

Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg argue that the 5-percent average annual growth rate Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced since 2000 is being driven significantly by the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Islamic Development Bank’s ICD, Gabon’s CDC to Launch Fund Aimed at Growing SMEs in Central Africa

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), a development finance institution of the Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations Deposit (CDC), a financial institution backed by the government of Gabon, recently announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding for the creation of a private equity fund to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Gabon and elsewhere in Central Africa. Continue reading

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Written by Comments Off on MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Islamic Development Bank’s ICD, Gabon’s CDC to Launch Fund Aimed at Growing SMEs in Central Africa Posted in Africa, Deals, Middle East

SPECIAL REPORT: Digital Financial Services: Providing a “Ladder” Out of Poverty or Creating “Financial Exclusion”?

At European Microfinance PlatformFriday’s closing session of European Microfinance Week, representatives of Luxembourg-based MyBucks, US-based Opportunity International and India-based MicroSave argued about the risks and rewards of digital finance services. Vicki Escarra, the CEO of Opportunity International, said, “What we’ve done over the past five years to get to very rural areas is to use these digital channels.… To focus on women in Africa – not just women, but women living in Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Investment Bank, World Bank Partner to “Boost MENA,” Supporting First-time Entrepreneurs in the Middle East, North Africa

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the Luxembourg-based long-term lender of the European Union (EU), and the US-based multilateral World Bank Group (WBG) recently announced a joint initiative, Boost MENA, to support “first-time entrepreneurs”, particularly women and young people, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Microfinance Investment Vehicles Setting “Green” Targets; Looking to Asian, Latin American MFIs to Deploy Environment-focused Microloans

During European Microfinance Platformone of Friday’s sessions of European Microfinance Week, Hatem Mahbouli, an investment officer with Dutch development bank Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), described his institution’s plans to direct 20 percent of its investments each year to environmental efforts. FMO, which reports the equivalent of USD 9 billion in total assets, has disbursed about USD 120 million of its financial services investments in the “green” sub-sector. To move further toward its goal, FMO is looking particularly to Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Fostering South-South Knowledge Exchange: Solar Home Systems in Bangladesh

On this first day of European Microfinance Week conference sessions, three participants described their visits to Bangladesh to learn how low-income families there have financed purchases of home solar systems. Tesfaye Befekadu, the general manager of Ethiopia’s Harbu Microfinance Institution, explained, “The exposure visit opened my mind to green microfinance…. I came back from Bangladesh with a lot of knowledge. I collected the managers, and we exchanged information and immediately decided this idea should go to the Board of Directors. Then I asked the Board to explain it to the shareholders.… I can say that all levels of the organization, down to the clients, own this program.” In the year since the visit, Harbu has delivered Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Overcoming Fears at European Microfinance Week: Farmers Eschew Microinsurance to Prevent Drought, MFIs Wary of Group Technology Purchases

At yesterday’s meeting of the European Microfinance Platform’s (e-MFP’s) Digital Innovations for Financial Empowerment Action Group, a wide range of presenters described their challenges and successes in implementing financial technologies. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Uniting Refugees, Locals via Lending Groups: European Microfinance Week Opens in Luxembourg

Among today’s opening meetings of European Microfinance Week was a working session on the financial inclusion of refugees that was organized by the US-based nonprofit Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) and the Luxembourgish nonprofit European Microfinance Platform (e-EMP). Lene Hansen, a consultant to SPTF, offered evidence to counter some of the common misconceptions discouraging microfinance institutions (MFIs) and their funders from serving refugees. Key among these is Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Tigo; UNICEF; Tanzania’s Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency to Provide Mobile Birth Registration for 200k Children in Iringa, Njombe Regions

Tigo Tanzania, a brand of Swedish telecom provider Millicom, recently announced that it will expand its partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the government of Tanzania’s Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) to register and provide birth certificates to an estimated 200,000 children under the age of five in the Iringa and Njombe regions. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Commercial Bank of Ethiopia Engaging Homesend to Launch Remittance Service for All Mobile Phone Users in the Country

HomeSend, a software platform facilitating remittance transactions, and the government-backed Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) recently announced the intention to launch remittance services in Ethiopia by the end of 2016. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Namibia’s Trustco Borrows $33m from Norsad, EIB, Others

Verdant Capital, a corporate finance firm with offices in South Africa, Mauritius and Ghana, recently arranged debt financing totaling ZAR 450 million (USD 33 million) for Trustco Group, a Namibia-based financial services provider firm. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: ACDI/VOCA Registers “Impact” Investment Management Subsidiary AV Ventures and AV Ventures Ghana Fund

Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA), a US-based nonprofit that implements “sustainable international development” projects related to supporting entrepreneurs in developing nations, recently registered a new subsidiary, AV Ventures LLC, which is designed to build “impact” funds that invest in agricultural small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in an effort to promote “more inclusive, responsible supply chains.” Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kenyan Government Caps Bank Lending Rates, Sets Minimum Deposit Rates

The government of Kenya recently passed legislation to cap the interest rates on bank loans at 4 percent per year above an undisclosed benchmark reference rate and also set the minimum deposit interest rate at 70 percent of the reference rate. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MyBucks Launches Mobile App Offering “Nano-loans” in Kenya

GetBucks Kenya, a division of Luxembourg-based financial technology company MyBucks, recently announced the launch of its “Haraka” app, through which it will enable users in Kenya to take out “nano-loans” of EUR 4 (USD 4.30) to EUR 40 (USD 43) via mobile phones. Continue reading

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