MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Camilla Nestor Named CEO of MIX, Provider of Data on Microfinance, Agricultural Finance, Digital Financial Services

Camilla Nestor, who recently worked for the US-based Grameen Foundation, has been named CEO of the US-based nonprofit MIX, which seeks to increase financial inclusion by promoting transparency. The Chief Operating Officer of MIX, Blaine Stephens, said “Camilla’s extensive knowledge of these sectors augments MIX’s efforts to address information gaps constraining the development of emerging segments including smallholder agricultural finance and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Platform for Economic Inclusion (PEI) to Carry on CGAP’s Work on Graduation Programs

CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a nonprofit research center seeking to expand financial services in poor regions, recently announced the establishment of the Platform for Economic Inclusion (PEI) to “accelerate innovation and scaling of graduation-style programming.” Initiated by Bangladeshi NGO BRAC (formerly the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee) in 2011, the graduation approach involves: targeting only

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nicaraguan MFI Among Those Borrowing $12m from C-Quadrat’s Dual Return Vision Microfinance Funds

A unit of Austrian fund manager C-Quadrat, C-Quadrat Asset Management, recently informed MicroCapital that a Nicaraguan microfinance institution (MFI) was among the beneficiaries of the equivalent of USD 12 million that its Dual Return Vision Microfinance funds lent during October. The other borrowers are located elsewhere in Central and South America as well as

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FMO, Triodos, Accion Invest Equity in Nicaraguan Microfinance Institution Financiera FAMA

Entities of two Dutch institutions, the government-controlled development bank FMO and the foundation-controlled Triodos Bank, recently invested equity in Nicaragua’s Financiera FAMA for the first time. In addition,

SPECIAL REPORT: MFIs in Afghanistan, Peru, Mexico Shortlisted for $118k “Microfinance for Housing” Award

The European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) recently announced the following finalists for the European Microfinance Award, which in 2017 is focused on housing: First Microfinance Bank Afghanistan, Peru’s Mibanco and Mexico’s Cooperative Tosepantomin. The award, with a cash prize of EUR 100,000 (USD 118,000), will be presented during European Microfinance Week in

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Incofin Raises $6.5m from KfW for Fairtrade Access Fund, DRC-focused FPM

Belgium’s for-profit Incofin Investment Management recently received investments from German development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) in two funds that it advises, the Fairtrade Access Fund (FAF), which invests in initiatives supporting farmers in developing countries, and FPM SA (Fonds pour l’inclusion financière en République Démocratique Congo), which lends “medium-term” funds

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Oikocredit Sells Equity Stake in Microfinance Institution Financiera Confianza of Peru to Fundacion BBVA MicroFinanzas

Oikocredit, a cooperative based in the Netherlands, recently sold its stake in Financiera Confianza, a Peruvian microfinance institution (MFI), to Fundacion BBVA MicroFinanzas, which was launched by Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) in 1998. The size and price of the stake, which Oikocredit assembled in multiple purchases

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: World Bank Group, Committee on Payments & Market Infrastructures (CPMI), UN’s International Telecommunication Union Launch “Financial Inclusion Global Initiative” to Study Digital Finance

The World Bank Group, the Switzerland-based Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) and the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recently introduced

SPECIAL REPORT: Microfinance Investment Vehicles, MFIs “Speed Date” at SAM Investor’s Fair in Ethiopia

Both the “speed dating” and “free meeting” sessions for microfinance institutions (MFIs) to sit down with investors were very popular at SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference in Addis Ababa. Representatives of dozens of organizations met each other for the first time and renewed old connections.

Duncan Frayne of Switzerland-based Symbiotics Group spoke on behalf of REGMIFA (the Regional MSME Investment Fund for Sub-Saharan Africa), for which his company serves as investment manager. He said, “The value for me is meeting up-and-coming MFIs as well as

SPECIAL REPORT: Public Solutions at SAM: Collateral Registries, Business Training, Higher Microinsurance Uptake Can Promote Entrepreneurship in Africa

At SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) plenary on “Public Solutions to Promote Entrepreneurship in Africa,” Kennedy Komba of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) explained that his institution’s SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprise) Working Group comprises 53 regulatory and policy-making bodies. To facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship, these agencies have created collateral registries, adjusted lender liquidity ratios, updated know-your-customer frameworks and established rules for digital financial services. Trainers in Zambia used a financial education game to reach 5,000 people, of whom 80 percent were able to improve their businesses as a result. In Ghana, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Bank of Ghana collaborated to boost local value chains in an effort to reduce costly

SPECIAL REPORT: At SAM, a “Moral Obligation” to Include More People in the Financial System, Harvesting Wins $12k FMO Fintech for Microfinance Prize for Use of Satellite Data to Boost Agricultural Lending

At the gala dinner at SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Olivier Massart, the General Manager of ADA, argued that the attendees of the event have incurred a “moral obligation” to increase financial inclusion. The 650+ attendees spent an estimated total of USD 1 million to USD 2 million on travel and registration fees. Because they elected not to spend this money directly on serving poor people, Mr Massart challenged each delegate to bring at least one additional person in to the financial system for each

SPECIAL REPORT: Reinventing Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) to Meet the Needs of SMEs at SAM: Building Staff Capacity, Sharing Default Risk with Investors, Helping Entrepreneurs Think Big

On the second day of SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Godwin Ehigiamusoe of Nigeria’s LAPO discussed the needs and expectations of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). He explained that they generally are sensitive to price and prefer not to post collateral. Loan sizing and duration are key. From a lender’s perspective, SMEs need to get their records out of their heads and onto paper (if not into digital form). The Central Bank of Nigeria has six Entrepreneurship Development Centers at which business owners can get assistance with business plans and other support.

Mr Ehigiamusoe added that LAPO became involved with SME lending as its microenterprise clients grew. Likewise the staff of LAPO was in need of capacity development to serve their clients’ evolving needs. LAPO’s Sufen loan program is designed to identify female entrepreneurs with high growth potential and

SPECIAL REPORT: ADA, Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation Sign Collaboration Agreement at SAM

After Tuesday’s sessions at the “SAMthe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Olivier Massart, the General Manager of ADA, and Eric Campos, Managing Director of the Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), signed an agreement to collaborate on their institutions’ service delivery to microfinance institutions (MFIs). Mr Massart explained that the two Luxembourgish NGOs will work “hand in hand” in areas including the measurement of social impact. ADA specializes in technical assistance, and although GCAMF also provides technical assistance, it is a major local-currency funder of MFIs. Both institutions prioritize working with MFIs that serve people in rural areas as well as women in general.

Mr Campos told MicroCapital that a primary motivation for the collaboration is to reduce the workload for MFIs, which are often called upon to submit substantial amounts of overlapping data to funders and other interested parties. He also spoke passionately about how MFIs can maintain market share as fintech

SPECIAL REPORT: At SAM, Calls for Alternatives to Collateral, Acquiring Insurance, Technical Assistance, Cheaper Loans for SMEs

During SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference today, Willie Mzumala of Malawi’s Tapika Food Products described how he has grown his business over 13 years to employ 9 people year-round plus additional seasonal staff. However, he still is offered loans at interest rates as high as 45 percent. In addition to affordable financing, he sees a need for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to get help with marketing, getting international exposure and standardizing quality.

Richard Muteti of the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations repeated Mr Mzumala’s call for help with standardization and more affordable financing. Among other barriers to SME success, he cited lack of appropriately

SPECIAL REPORT: “Financial Inclusion and Job Creation in Africa” at the SAM Conference in Addis Ababa

Today “SAMat the SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Laura Foschi of ADA addressed the question of “how to support enterprises as they make the transition from micro- to small and medium-sized.”

Rebecca Rouse of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), described how randomized controlled trials can help determine “how can we best create value, spaces and opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and SME growth.” For example, evaluating the effectiveness of a business training program is much more enlightening when

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MicroFinanza Rating Issues 5 Institutional, Social Credentials to Microfinance Institutions in Ecuador, Mexico, Palestine, Rwanda

Italy’s MicroFinanza Rating (MFR) issued two microfinance institutional ratings during September. Palestine’s Asala Company for Credit and Development was assigned a grade of BB+ with a “stable” outlook, and Inkunga Finance of Rwanda was assigned a grade of

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: C-Quadrat’s Dual Return Vision Microfinance Funds Lend $31m to MFIs in Asia, Latin America

C-Quadrat Asset Management, an arm of Austrian fund manager C-Quadrat, recently informed MicroCapital that its Dual Return Vision Microfinance funds lent a total approximately equivalent to USD 31 million to unidentified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in five Asian countries, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan, as well as three Latin American countries, Ecuador, Mexico and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Egyptian Mobile Payment Platform Fawry Sells Equity Stake to Private Equity Firm Managed by responsAbility

An entity managed by Switzerland’s responsAbility Investments recently purchased a stake of undisclosed size and price in Fawry, a mobile payments platform in Egypt. Fawry has 20 million customers, whom it enables to pay bills and make retail purchases via mobile phones, credit cards, automatic teller machines, accounts at 23 banks, and point-of-sale machines at 65,000