Category: Eastern Europe and Central Asia

MICROFINANCE EVENT: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Bank to Host Global Forum on Remittances, June 16-19, 2015, Milan, Italy

Event Name: Global Forum on Remittances 2015

Event Date: June 16-19, 2015

Event Location: Centro Congressi Stella Polare Conference Centre, Milan, Italy

Summary of Event: This event is intended to promote awareness of remittances sent by migrants to their home countries. Session topics will include trends in remittences sent from Europe, best practices in regulation, opportunities for financial inclusion, competition and transaction costs, new technologies, opportunities for public-private partnerships and strategies for developing public-private partnerships to further financial inclusion.

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: Triple Bottom Line Investing Presents “TBLI Conference Nordic 2015;” June 15-16, 2015; Copenhagen, Denmark

Event Name: TBLI Conference Nordic 2015

Event Date: June 15-16, 2015

Event Location: Ovnhallen Porcelænshaven 20, Copenhagen Business School; Copenhagen, Denmark

Summary of Event: This conference will include panels on topics such as low-carbon investment strategies, how asset owners can address climate change, investing in sustainable agriculture and food production, and social impact strategies for banks.

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: IFC Invests $16.5m in Tajikistan’s Imon International to Support Micro-, Small, Medium-sized Enterprises

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the US-based World Bank Group that offers financial services to businesses and governments in developing countries with the aim of increasing economic growth, recently mobilized USD 16.5 million for Imon International, a microfinance institution (MFI) based in Tajikistan. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EFSE Loans $20m to AccessBank to Finance Micro-, Small Enterprises (MSEs) in Rural Azerbaijan

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based microfinance investment vehicle (MIV), recently issued a USD 20 million senior loan to AccessBank, an organization founded in 2002 to provide credit and other financial services to  smaller businesses and low-income families in Azerbaijan. 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: EBRD Loans $9m – Part in Local Currency – to FINCA, AccessBank for MSMEs in Tajikistan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral financial institution that operates in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and North Africa, has expanded its support for on-lending for micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Tajikistan with multi-currency loans to FINCA Tajikistan (FINCA TJK) and AccessBank Tajikistan (AccessBank) in amounts equivalent to USD 4 million and USD 5 million, respectively. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EBRD Loans $2.3m to UniCredit Bank Banja Luka of Bosnia and Herzegovina as Part of $23m Advisory, Financing Package for Women-led SMEs in the Balkans

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral institution, has partnered with UniCredit Bank Banja Luka (UB), the unit of Italy’s UniCredit Group that operates in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to launch EBRD’s “Western Balkans Women in Business” program with a EUR 2 million (USD 2.3 million) credit provided to UB. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Fund for Southeast Europe Loans $23m to Burgan Bank of Turkey for Rural MSMEs

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based investor in the development of local financial sectors in Southeast Europe and parts of Central Asia, recently informed MicroCapital that it has loaned EUR 20 million (USD 23 million) to Burgan Bank Turkey, a retail bank that is part of Kuwait’s Burgan Bank Group. The funds are to be on-lent on a “long-term” basis to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas of the country. 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: European Fund for Southeast Europe Loans $23m to AccessBank of Azerbaijan for Rural MSMEs

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based investor in the development of local financial sectors in Southeast Europe and parts of Central Asia, recently informed MicroCapital that it has loaned EUR 20 million (USD 23 million) to AccessBank, an organization founded in 2002 to provide credit and other financial services to Azerbaijan’s smaller businesses and low-income families. The funds are to be on-lent to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas of the country. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Triodos Fair Share, Triodos Microfinance Funds to Invest Debt, Equity in India’s Janalakshmi, Kazakhstan’s KazMicroFinance, Kyrgyzstan’s Kompanion

Two microfinance investment vehicles managed by a unit of the Netherlands’ Triodos Bank, the Triodos Fair Share Fund (TFSF), and the Triodos Microfinance Fund (TMF), have agreed to invest jointly in the following organizations: (1) Janalakshmi Financial Services (JFS), a Bangalore-based microfinance institution (MFI) that will borrow USD 11.4 million to expand its financing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in India; (2) KazMicroFinance (KMF), which is reportedly the largest MFI in Kazakhstan and will sell the Triodos funds stakes totaling 13.7 percent of the organization’s shares; and (3) Kompanion Financial Group, an MFI in Kyrgyzstan that will sell the funds stakes totaling 17.5 percent of the organization’s shares as it seeks to transform from a community development financial institution into a microfinance bank [1] [2] [3]. Kompanion also sold a 17.5-percent stake to Dutch public-private development bank FMO; Mercy Corps, the founder of Kompanion, is retaining 65-percent ownership of the institution. The prices paid for the equity stakes in KMF and Kompanion have not been released. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Sanad Fund for MSME Expands into Yemen with $3m Loan to Al-Amal Microfinance Bank

The Sanad Fund for MSME (micro-, small and medium-sized enterprise), a Germany-based fund providing medium- and long-term debt and equity financing in the Middle East and North Africa, recently disbursed a senior loan of USD 3 million to Al-Amal Microfinance Bank (AMB), a nonprofit minority-held by the government of Yemen, to support micro- and small enterprises (MSE) in the country. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: TBC Bank to Acquire ProCredit Bank Georgia’s Microcredit Portfolio

TBC Bank, a commercial bank that was founded in 1992 in Georgia as the Tblisi Business Centre, reportedly will acquire the microcredit portfolio of ProCredit Bank Georgia (PCBG), a financial institution that is majority-owned by Germany-based ProCredit Holding. As of January 2015, PCBG’s gross microloan portfolio amounted to GEL 39.3 million (USD 19.2 million). These loans, defined as those smaller than EUR 10,000 (USD 11,300), represent 5 percent of PCBG’s total loan portfolio. The purpose of the move is to allow PCBG to concentrate on the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) [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: Decree in Belarus Requires Microfinance Organizations to Register with National Bank Within 6 Months

The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB), the central banking authority of the country, has announced that organizations providing microfinance services in the country have six months to register with the bank to comply with the guidelines set forth in “Decree No. 325,” a presidential order “on the raising and provision of loans, the operation of microfinance organizations” [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to Invest $17m in Equity in European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) to Support MSME Financing in Ukraine

The German government’s Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) has agreed to invest equity in the amount of EUR 15 million (USD 17 million) in the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based microfinance investment vehicle (MIV). This new investment, which is in the highest risk “first-loss” tranche of EFSE, raises BMZ’s total commitment to the fund to approximately EUR 175 million (USD 200 million). The infusion will be used to provide local-currency financing to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Ukraine. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Vikram Akula Buys 26% Stake in India’s Vaya Finserv

Vikram Akula, the founder and former chairman of Indian group-lender SKS Microfinance, recently bought 26-percent stake in the start-up Vaya Finserv. Launched in 2014, Vaya Finserv has plans to acquire a “small finance bank” license, which will it will use to provide credit to individuals in India who have been rejected by traditional banks, primarily women’s self-help groups. Continue reading

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