MicroCapital: What is your perspective on the theme of SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) this year, “Creating Value for SMEs: A New Frontier for Inclusive Finance”?
Saleh Usman Gashua: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa are facing numerous challenges, especially in accessing finance. SMEs, particularly those in the “missing middle,” comprise a segment whose growth and development will go a long way in generating jobs for young Africans. With 11 million youth entering Africa’s labour market each year, we cannot ignore SMEs. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) and other organizations serving these enterprises therefore have a major role to play in the future of Africa. I hope this edition of SAM will generate a range of concrete solutions for this segment.
MC: Your organization, the African Rural & Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA), is one of several networks that collaborated to create SAM.
SUG: Organizing a forum of this magnitude is by no means an easy task! Given the experience of AFRACA organizing similar forums in the past, we know that a partnership approach is necessary. The coordination process so far has been seamless, with the lead institution, ADA, facilitating
Two entities in Pakistan that are controlled by Norwegian conglomerate Telenor recently partnered with two entities of the government of the Pakistani province of Punjab to create the “Connected Agriculture Platform Punjab” (CAPP).
CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based, nonprofit research center that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, and Pula, a Kenya-based, agricultural insurance intermediary that serves small-scale farmers by leveraging satellite technology, recently announced that they are partnering to deliver “satellite-based agricultural insurance” to farmers in Nigeria.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based organization that invests in support of market-oriented economic policies, recently lent the local-currency equivalent of USD 2 million to Imon International, an institution that offers microcredit and deposit services with the aim of improving its clients’ standards of living as well as promoting economic development in Tajikistan.
The Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), a Luxembourg-based provider of financial services to microfinance institutions and other social businesses, recently informed MicroCapital that it has committed to extending the following local-currency loans in phases over three years: the equivalent of USD 2.9 million to Advans Cote d’Ivoire and the equivalent of USD 890,000 to Premiere Agence de MicroFinance (PAMF) Mali.
Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX), a Singapore-based facilitator of investment in social enterprises, recently announced that it has raised USD 8 million via a “Women’s Livelihood Bond” issue to support women-owned businesses in Southeast Asia.
“The Social Dilemma of Microinsurance: Free-riding in a Framed Field Experiment;” by Wendy Janssens and Berber Kramer; published by Elsevier; March 2016; 15 pages; available at:
This paper analyzes the incentives for individuals to buy health microinsurance while active in borrowing groups. Health issues are consistently among the top reasons people become unable to repay loans.
The Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), a Luxembourg-based provider of financial services to social businesses, recently informed MicroCapital that it has committed to extending the following loans in phases over three years: the equivalent of USD 615,000 to La Coopérative Des Membres Unis Bethel Actions (COMUBA) in Benin and the equivalent of USD 350,000 to Coopérative d’Epargne et de Crédit des Soutien aux Initiatives de Femmes pour l’Autopromotion (COOPEC SIFA) in Togo.
Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden, a development bank controlled by the Dutch government, recently offered a loan of USD 4 million to Babban Gona, a Nigerian for-profit company that provides business services to small-scale farmers such as assistance with crop insurance; soil analysis; marketing; distribution; and access to seeds, fertilizer and storage facilities.
KPMG, a network of professional firms providing business services in 155 countries, recently informed MicroCapital that The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity has awarded USD 1 million each to the following financial services providers: Ibero Uganda for the provision of loans, training and related services to coffee farmers; US-based First Access for an agricultural credit scoring mechanism for lenders serving farmers in Tanzania; and Botswana-based Letshego Financial Services for an agency banking project in Mozambique.
“Case Study: SolTuna – Tuna Processing, Solomon Islands;” published by the International Finance Corporation; September 2016; 20 pages; available at:
This case study investigates the connections between financial literacy and the reduction of absenteeism and other problems at SolTuna, a tuna processing plant in the Solomon Islands.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the US-based World Bank Group, recently announced it will loan RON 70 million (USD 17 million) to Agricover Credit, a non-banking financial institution in Romania, to boost the financial inclusion of farmers as well as small and medium-sized agribusinesses in Romania.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB), a Philippines-based multilateral institution, recently announced it will issue a loan of USD 500 million as part of an effort to build 29,000 new “affordable” houses in rural parts of nine regions of Uzbekistan.
From 2010 through 2017, the city of Fushun, in northeastern China, invested CNY 2.8 billion (USD 406 million) in a subsidized microcredit program for agriculture, reaching 57,000 female entrepreneurs, primarily those whose husbands live elsewhere for work.
FINCA Armenia, a microfinance institution based in Yerevan, recently issued bonds worth USD 4 million and AMD 1.5 billion (USD 3 million) listed on the NASDAQ OMX Armenia stock exchange.
Ghana-based AgroCenta recently won USD 20,000 in the Fincluders Startup Challenge, which was created to support new companies seeking to increase financial inclusion.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB), a Philippines-based multilateral institution, recently announced it will loan USD 20 million to Khushhali Microfinance Bank Limited of Pakistan to “expand access to credit for agriculture-related borrowers and small businesses.”
Belgium’s Incofin Investment Management (Incofin IM) recently informed MicroCapital that three of its funds, Incofin CVSO, Volksvermogen and Rural Impulse Fund I, have sold their stakes in Financiera Confianza, a Peruvian microfinance institution (MFI) affiliated with Fundacion BBVA MicroFinanzas, which in turn was launched by Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) in 2007. While the sizes and prices of the stakes, which included all Confianza shares held by Incofin IM funds, remain confidential, Incofin IM reports that the funds earned “over