Category: Africa

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Développement international Desjardins (DiD) Establishes Local Group Automating Microfinance Institution Operations in Senegal

Développement international Desjardins (DiD), a Canada-based nonprofit organization that focuses on providing technical support and investment to community financial institutions, recently announced the successful completion of a five-year long project to expand the computerization of the operations of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Senegal. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Credit Suisse to Fund Opportunity International’s “Empowering Generational Change Through Education” in Africa, Asia, Latin America

Credit Suisse, a Swiss global financial services company with operations in 50 countries, has agreed to donate an undisclosed sum to Opportunity International, a US-based nonprofit providing microfinance in 22 countries, to launch a three-year program entitled “Empowering Generational Change Through Education” that focuses on lending for education initiatives. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Millicom’s Tanzanian Arm Distributes Profits of $1.8m to Tigo Pesa Mobile Money Customers

Millicom International Cellular, a Luxembourg-based telecommunications company that operates the brand Tigo, recently announced that its Tanzanian unit will distribute third quarter profits of TZS 3 billion (USD 1.8 million) to users and agents of Tigo Pesa, a mobile money service accessed by 3.6 million customers. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Triodos Sells 14.5% Equity Stake in K-rep Bank of Kenya to Existing Shareholders Centum Investment, K-rep Group

The Triodos Sustainable Finance Foundation, a unit of the Netherlands-based Triodos Bank, recently sold its entire 14.5-percent equity stake in K-rep Bank of Kenya, a commercial bank founded in 1999 that provides services to low-income people. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Investment Bank (EIB), Government of Luxembourg Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Provide $4.5m in Grants to Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in African, Caribbean, Pacific Countries

The Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term lending bank of the European Union (EU), and the Government of Luxembourg recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to provide grants totaling EUR 3.6 million (USD 4.5 million) to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FairTrade Access Fund (FAF) Issues Trade Finance Loan Worth $931k to Ecookim of Cote D’Ivoire

FairTrade Access Fund (FAF), an affiliate of German NGO Fairtrade International that provides loans to farmers in developing countries, recently announced that it has issued a trade finance loan of EUR 750,000 (USD 931,000) to Ecookim, a union of cooperatives based in Cote d’Ivoire, to support the purchase of cocoa beans from 3,700 local suppliers in Central and Western Cote d’Ivoire. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Investment Bank (EIB) Loans $24.8m to Cooperative Rural Development Bank (CRDB) of Tanzania, Announces $6.2m for Technical Assistance Programmes in East Africa

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the lending bank of the European Union, recently announced that it will issue a loan worth EUR 20 million (USD 24.8 million) to the Cooperative Rural Development Bank (CRDB), a commercial bank in Tanzania, to support small businesses in the agriculture, manufacturing and retail sectors in Tanzania. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Investment Bank (EIB) Lends $16.4m to Housing Finance Bank (HFB) to Support Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Uganda

The European Investment Bank (EIB), a European Union-sponsored development bank, recently agreed to provide a credit line worth UGX 45 billion (USD 16.4 million) to the Housing Finance Bank (HFB), a Ugandan commercial bank, for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises in Uganda. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Youth Are Less Risky Borrowers? European Microfinance Week Participants on Serving Young People via Leasing, Peer Education, Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs)

Countering the perception that youth are riskier borrowers than older clients, Maria Perdomo, the manager of the UN Capital Development Fund’s YouthStart program, recently presented data from seven African microfinance institutions (MFIs) showing that all but one have lower rates of portfolio at risk (PAR) within the segments of their portfolios serving youth than organization-wide. Nonetheless, she noted, youth often make up a disproportionately small share of an MFI’s customer base because loan officers believe they are less likely than others to repay, which would threaten the bonus that many loan officers receive when more of their clients do repay their loans. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: On Microbusiness Support in Conflict Zones, a Discussion at European Microfinance Week

Major David Beskow of the US Military Academy told a crowd at European Microfinance Week, about distributing microgrants in eastern Baghdad, Iraq, largely to women shop-owners for refrigeration, generators or inventory. Funded by the Iraqi government and the US Army’s Commander’s Emergency Response Program, each grant ranged in size from USD 500 to USD 5,000. Although no repayment was required, each beneficiary business was documented through photos and other means before disbursal and after one and six months, in the presence of local police. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Distinguishing Multiple Lending from Over-indebtedness at European Microfinance Week

“Multiple borrowing was endemic,” in Bangladesh as of 2008, says Shameran Abed, the director of microfinance at Bangladesh-based Brac International, “but we didn’t know if this was bad, although we knew it was a risk.” Mr Abed was speaking this morning at the opening plenary of the last day of European Microfinance Week, which is organized by the Luxembourgish NGO European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP). In the past, he explained, the members of borrowing groups were good at letting Brac staff know who was a good credit risk. As the market was getting saturated, “Groups became less cohesive, so we couldn’t totally rely on them to tell us if individuals were becoming overindebted.” Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: The MasterCard Foundation, Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO) Provide $6.5m to Launch Accion Africa Board Fellowship

Accion, a US-based nonprofit organization that offers services such as microenterprise loans and business training in 32 countries; The MasterCard Foundation, a Canadian nonprofit that promotes financial inclusion and education in Africa and other emerging markets; and Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), a Dutch development bank, recently partnered to launch the Accion Africa Board Fellowship in an effort to promote improved corporate governance and risk management practices in financial institutions assisting people with low incomes. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Rural Action Group Discusses Product Ecosystems, Marital Strife at European Microfinance Week

The Rural Outreach & Innovation Action Group of the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) met today as part of a full day of Action Group meetings at European Microfinance Week, which is being hosted in Luxembourg by e-MFP, a 130-member NGO. Michael Tarazi, a senior financial sector specialist at CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) argued against pushing lending products on new rural clients, instead proposing a multi-stage approach. For example, farmers can be offered mobile phones for free, with the promise of receiving information such as crop management suggestions via SMS (text message). Then crop buyers can purchase access to the farmers’ phones, such as to request the preparation of a wholesale load of crops from a group of the farmers at a given price. This can increase the income of the farmers, putting them in a better position to repay future loans for improvements to their processes. As Mr Tarazi put it, “Finance comes at the end; first you develop the digital ecosystem with other valued services such as information.” Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: At European Microfinance Week, University Meets Microfinance Action Group Presenting Awards for Papers on Impact Assessment, Downscaling via Banking Agents

Today, the University Meets Microfinance Action Group of the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) is presenting awards of EUR 500 (USD 620) each to students Hayyan Alia for “A Modified Household Economic Portfolio Model for Assessing Impact of Microfinance Using Diaries” and Eike Haas for his paper titled “Do Agent-assisted Banking Beyond Branches Channels Decrease Costs in Downscaling? A Qualitative and Quantitative Review.” The group also met earlier in the day as part of the series of Action Group meetings held during the first day of European Microfinance Week, which is hosted by e-MFP, a 130-member NGO located in Luxembourg. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: A Risk Management “Graduation Model” for Microfinance

MicroCapital: You will be speaking in a few days at European Microfinance Week. How will you describe the state of risk management within microfinance and where it fits in the broader context of the industry?

Kevin Fryatt: In the last several years, we have seen a lot of focus on new technology and serving clients better through new product development, savings mobilization and agent networks, amongst other avenues. Similarly, institutions’ balance sheets are getting increasingly diverse in the types of funding they are sourcing. But within this, the conversation of risk management isn’t happening. There’s a sense of cynicism within the leadership of microfinance institutions (MFIs) toward risk management. It is often misunder-stood and confused with the roles of internal audit or compliance. It is often very difficult to quantify the value of risk management. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: The MasterCard Foundation Commits $25m to Expand UN Capital Development Fund’s Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) Program

The MasterCard Foundation, a Canadian nonprofit that aims to promote youth learning and financial inclusion in Africa and other emerging markets, has partnered with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), a UN initiative to increase access to microfinance and other forms of investment capital for small businesses and individuals in developing countries, to expand the UNCDF Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) program. Continue reading

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