Category: Africa

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) to Loan $60m for Affordable Housing in Tanzania

The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank Group has approved USD 60 million in new financing to be disbursed by the International Development Association (IDA), a lending arm of the World Bank, to support its ongoing Housing Finance Project (HFP) in Tanzania, which seeks to support affordable housing in the urbanizing country by providing “medium- and long-term liquidity to lenders.” Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) Loaning $2.5m to La Fayette Microfinance Bank, Nigerian Member of Advans Network

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is investing NGN 400 million (USD 2.5 million) in La Fayette Microfinance Bank, one of eight members of the Advans Network of microfinance institutions, which is based in Luxembourg and managed by Horus Development Finance of France. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: $53k Giordano Dell’Amore Microfinance Best Practices International Award Applications Due April 19, 2015

Fondazione Giordano Dell’Amore, an Italian foundation that supports microfinance, has announced that it is accepting applications for its 2015 Giordano Dell’Amore Microfinance Best Practices International Award, which aims to increase the understanding of microfinance and promote the sharing of good practices among industry players. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: C-Quadrat Asset Management, Formerly Absolute Portfolio Management, Loans $2.5m for Microfinance in Benin, Cambodia, Georgia

During February 2015, Austria’s Absolute Portfolio Management disbursed loans totaling USD 2.5 million to unspecified microfinance institutions in Benin, Cambodia and Georgia. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Social Performance Task Force, Smart Campaign Launch Responsible Microfinance Facility (RMF) for Training, Technical Assistance in the Middle East, Africa

The Social Performance Task Force, a US-based nonprofit charged with addressing questions about measuring and managing social performance, in collaboration with the Smart Campaign, a client-protection initiative of US-based nonprofit Accion, recently launched the Responsible Microfinance Facility (RMF), a three-year initiative funded by the French government’s Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD)  to improve the capacity and performance of microfinance institutions in Africa and the Middle East. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fern Software Implements Abacus MIS System for Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Jordan, Tunisia; Premiering Arabic, French Editions of Software

UK-based Fern Software recently informed MicroCapital that it has implemented its Abacus financial management information system (MIS) in two additional languages: in Arabic for a microfinance institution (MFI) in Jordan and in French for an MFI in Tunisia. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fonds pour l’inclusion Financière en République Démocratique du Congo (FPM) Receives Authorization from Central Bank of the Congo to Issue Wholesale Financing to Lenders Serving Micro-, Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs)

Fonds pour l’inclusion Financière en République Démocratique du Congo (FPM) SA, a nonprofit organization based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that was formerly known as Fonds de Promotion de la Microfinance, recently received authorization to operate as a financial company from the Central Bank of the Congo, DRC’s central banking authority. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Amret Microfinance, Econet Wireless, myAgro, Urwego Opportunity Bank to Engage Human-Centered Design Firms to Improve Digital Financial Services for Smallholder Farmers in Cambodia, Africa

CGAP (The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based nonprofit that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, recently selected the following financial service providers to receive an unspecified level of support from human-centered design firms to improve their digital financial services for small-scale farmers: (1) Amret Microfinance, a Cambodian microfinance institution; (2) the Zimbabwean arm of South African mobile network operator Econet Wireless and US-based relief and development nonprofit Mercy Corps; (3) myAgro, a nonprofit organization in Mali that sells agricultural inputs via mobile technology; and (4) Urwego Opportunity Bank (UOB), a microfinance institution that was created as a result of a merger between Urwego Community Banking and Opportunity International Bank of Rwanda [1]. While the Econet-Mercy partnership will engage human-centered design firm Ideo.org, the other three programs have not yet released the names of the organizations with which they will work.  Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Sanad Fund for MSME Loans $5m to Enda Inter-Arabe to Serve More Low-income Microentrepreneurs in Tunisia

The Sanad Fund for MSME (micro-, small and medium-sized enterprise), a Germany-based provider of “medium- and long-term” and equity financing in the Middle East and North Africa, recently agreed to loan the equivalent of USD 5 million in local currency to Enda Inter-Arabe, to help it expand its lending into additional underserved areas of Tunisia.

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Orange, Ecobank Partner to Launch Mobile Money Service in Mali with Plans to Expand Across Africa

Orange, a French provider of telephone and Internet service in 30 countries, and EcoBank Transnational Incorporated (EcoBank), a Togo-based bank operating in 28 countries, recently launched a mobile banking service that will enable Orange Money subscribers to transfer money between Ecobank accounts. As of February 5, both companies signed a partnership agreement to launch the service in Mali, and they plan to expand to Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Conakry, Niger, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the future. Customers also will be able to check their account balances, receive “mini-statements” via short message service (SMS, also known as text messaging) and top-up their Orange Money e-wallets [1].  Continue reading

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SPECIAL FEATURE: Are Microfinance Institutions and Investors Removed from Business Reality?

This opinion piece was contributed by David MacDougall, a consultant based in the US city of New York.

Microfinance inspires optimism. Investors – especially private equity investors – anticipate handsome returns; aid agencies see strong social impact; and microfinance institution (MFI) managers are certain they can grow themselves out of every tight situation. While microfinance can play an important role in development, most MFIs nevertheless are relatively simple financial institutions that need to be grounded in sound market and business principles rather than pie-in-the-sky expectations. These “Business 101″ principles, which may sound like common sense truisms, in my experience, have not trickled down to many MFIs. In over 10 years of examining the viability of MFI business models as an analyst and risk manager, I have seen decision makers fail again and again to do reality checks. What’s still urgently needed is sound market analysis and professional risk management. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Loans $29m to Government of Uganda in Effort to Bring Financial Inclusion, Improved Nutrition to 576k Rural Households

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), an agency of the United Nations that aims to alleviate poverty in rural areas, recently extended a loan of USD 29 million to the government of Uganda to support the Project for Financial Inclusion in Rural Areas (PROFIRA). Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nigeria’s Bank of Industry (BOI) Earmarks $105m for Micro-, Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Country

The Bank of Industry (BOI), which was established by the Nigerian government to promote domestic sectors such as agriculture and finance in Nigeria, recently earmarked NGN 19.8 billion (USD 105 million) to support micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Loans $45.3m to Union bancaire pour le commerce et l’industrie (UBCI) of Tunisia for On-lending to Micro-, Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral institution headquartered in London, has announced that it will loan EUR 40 million (USD 45.3 million) to Union bancaire pour le commerce et l’industrie (UBCI), the Tunisian commercial banking subsidiary of BNP Paribas, a French financial group. Continue reading

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