Category: Agriculture / Rural Finance

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Sanad Fund for MSME Lends $1.5m for Women’s Enterprises in Palestine via Microfinance Institution Asala

The Sanad Fund for MSME (Micro Small and Medium Enterprise), a provider of loans and equity to financial institutions in the Middle East and North Africa, recently announced that it will lend USD 1.5 million to the Asala for Credit and Development Company, a microfinance institution in Palestine, for on-lending to female entrepreneurs. The microlender operates nine offices in the West Bank and Gaza, focusing on serving micro- and small enterprises owned by women in rural areas. Asala, a for-profit successor to the Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association, was launched in 2014 with support from the Sharakat Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: MENA Governance and Strategic Leadership Seminar; March 7 – 9, 2017; Amman, Jordan

Event Name: MENA Governance and Strategic Leadership Seminar

Event Date: March 7 – March 9, 2017

Event Location: Sheraton Amman Al Nabil Hotel, Fifth Circle, Amman, 11184, Jordan

Summary of Event: The goal of this event is to strengthen boards of directors of microfinance institutions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FMO Loans $29m to El Salvador’s Fedecredito for On-lending to Cooperatives, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Partner Mikrokreditna Fondacija for Agricultural Microenterprises

Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), a Dutch development bank, recently announced two loans to support the provision of financial services to people with low incomes in El Salvador and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

FMO is lending USD 24 million to Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: C-Quadrat’s Dual Return Vision Microfinance Funds Loan $63m to Various MFIs

Austria’s C-Quadrat Asset Management informed MicroCapital today that its Dual Return Vision Microfinance and Dual Return Vision Microfinance-Local Currency funds loaned a total approximately equivalent to USD 63.5 million during December to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in countries including Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mongolia and Sri Lanka. The Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: African Finance & Investment Forum: Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Growth; February 13 – 16, 2017; Nairobi, Kenya

Event Name: Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Growth

Event Date: February 13 – 16, 2017

Event Location: Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya

Summary of Event: This year’s iteration of the annual African Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) will focus on entrepreneurship and innovation over two days of conference sessions preceded by a two-day training session. The goal of Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: HBS-Accion Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance; April 17 – 22, 2017; Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Event Name: Harvard Business School–Accion Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance

Event Date: April 17 – 22, 2017

Event Location: Harvard Business School, Soldiers Field, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Summary of Event: This week-long program will cover approaches financial inclusion executives can take to address “industry change, managing competition, organization growth, and creating economic and social value.” [1] Past iterations Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Committing to Action: Accelerating Financial Inclusion through Partnership in Uganda; January 17 – 18, 2017; Kampala, Uganda

Event Name: Committing to Action: Accelerating Financial Inclusion through Partnership in Uganda

Event Date: January 17 – 18, 2017

Event Location: City Royal Resort Hotel, Kampala, Uganda

Summary of Event: This event will focus on the current state of financial inclusion in Uganda. On Day 1 speakers will discuss methods for increasing the presence of women in the workplace, implementing digital solutions, and “product development for rural outreach and agriculture” [1]. Day 2 will focus on Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank, Armeconombank (AEB) Borrow $8.7m via Symbiotics’ Bond Platform to Benefit SMEs in Armenia

Switzerland-based Symbiotics SA, which specializes in micro-, small and medium-sized enterprise investment, recently issued bonds for two Armenian banks: USD 5 million for ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank and USD 3.7 million for Armeconombank (AEB). The latter was the second of two tranches this year totaling USD 10 million for AEB. All of these transactions were intermediated through Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Geodata for Inclusive Finance and Food; February 16, 2017; Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Event Name: Geodata for Inclusive Finance and Food

Event Date: February 16, 2017

Event Location: Hulstkamp Gebouw, Maaskade 116, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Cost: This event is open by invitation only.

Summary of Event: This event will address how “geodata” can be used to expand inclusive finance and food security. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: UN’s Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) Provides $10m to The Currency Exchange Fund (TCX) to Subsidize Third-party Lending in Local Currency to Microfinance Institutions in Myanmar

The Currency Exchange Fund (TCX), which is based in the Netherlands, recently raised USD 10 million from the UN-managed Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) to reduce the cost of foreign-exchange hedging for “impact lenders” funding microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Myanmar. TCX provides this hedging service, absorbing the currency-exchange risk on the loans, so the lenders can commit US dollars while the MFIs access funding denominated in kyat. Via multiple microloan repayment cycles over three years, the MFIs are expected to gain sufficient liquidity from the LIFT-supported facility to fund Continue reading


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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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Oikocredit Increases Equity Stake in Bolivian MFI Banco FIE

Oikocredit, a cooperative “social investment” fund based in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, recently increased its equity stake in Banco para el Fomento a las Iniciativas Económicas (Banco FIE), “more than doubling” its investment in the Bolivian microfinance bank. Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum: Overview of the Region

In anticipation of the recently announced Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Forum, which will be held in Hanoi, Viet Nam, on March 21 and March 22, 2017, MicroCapital is launching a series of stories from the Banking with the Poor Network‘s Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum, which was held in July 2016. The Foundation for Development Cooperation engaged MicroCapital to assist in documenting the event.

Ms. Banking With the Poor NetworkNina Nayar, Associate of the Foundation for Development Cooperation, opened the session reviewing microfinance products and market segments in the region. She described the evolution from “credit and basic savings” years ago to today’s array of credit, savings, insurance, money transfer and other services for individuals as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). These include “a whole slew of innovations” such as payment cards and automated teller machines. She argued that new products are in demand by many segments of often-excluded people: farmers, people in conflict areas, minorities, youth, urban informal workers, migrants and single mothers. At the same time, fear and lack of confidence often Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EFSE, Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rabo International Advisory Services Facilitate Capacity Building Plan for FED Invest to Support Farmers, SMEs in Rural Albania

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based investment fund focused on 16 Central Asian and Southeast European countries, in partnership with the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Rabo International Advisory Services (RIAS), a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Rabobank Group, recently announced that the EFSE Development Facility will “cover part of the costs of a multi-year capacity building plan” aimed at expanding Albania-based FED Invest’s ability to provide financial services to farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas. Continue reading


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


SPECIAL REPORT: Evolving Regulations Obscure the Future of Microfinance in Myanmar

Paul European Microfinance PlatformLuchtenburg, who serves as coordinator for the UN Capital Development Fund in Myanmar, described several of the contrasts in the microfinance industry in Myanmar at European Microfinance Week Thursday. Five years into civilian rule, Mr Luchtenburg says “I’ve never seen a government work so hard. You go to a meeting and the results go up the leadership chain that night…. There’s this rapid push for development.” To accept deposits, institutions must pay at least 10 percent per year and be deemed “sustainable” by the government. However, lending rates are capped at 2.5 percent per month, a level that all of the panelists agreed was too low, especially for serving rural areas. Rommel Caringal, the CEO of the local unit of US-based VisionFund, said, “The inconsistency is causing big problems, but Continue reading


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