MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), The MasterCard Foundation Award $900k to Advans Cote d’Ivoire, MFS Africa, Money Express for Branchless Banking Projects in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal

CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based nonprofit that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, and The MasterCard Foundation, a Canada-based nonprofit that aims to promote youth learning and financial inclusion in emerging markets, recently awarded a total of USD 900,000 to three projects in countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) to expand the availability of banking in the region.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: 5th Annual Africa Banking & Finance Conference, May 19 – 20, 2015; Nairobi, Kenya

Event Name: 5th Annual Africa Banking & Finance Conference

NEW DATES: May 19 – May 20, 2015

Event Location: Laico Regency Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya

Cost: The cost to register is USD 1200.

Summary of Event: Themed “Banking of the Future,” this conference offers presentations, panel discussions and business-to-business meetings on various topics relating to the African economic landscape, such as corporate trade finance, the emerging mortgage market, investment banking, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and different emerging issues in the region.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network Adopts Code of Conduct in Collaboration with SEEP Network

The Ghana Microfinance Institutions Network (GHAMFIN), an association of 80 microfinance institutions (MFIs) serving 60,000 clients in Ghana, recently announced that it plans to adopt a code of conduct for its members following the closure of 46 MFIs in the country during 2013.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) Launches Microfinance Operations in Owerri, Nigeria

The Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA), a US-based nonprofit microfinance network, has formally launched the operations of FINCA Microfinance Bank (FINCA MfB) in Owerri, Imo, Nigeria, following the issuance of its license by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on October 30, 2014.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.