Category: Latin America

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) Donates $1.2m to Effort by Center for Latin American Monetary Studies to Improve Remittance Market in Latin America

The Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the US-based IDB (Inter-American Development Bank), has donated USD 1.2 million to fund a collaborative project with the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies, an association of Latin American and Caribbean central banks (also known by its Spanish acronym CEMLA).  Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Eco.business Fund Loans $10m to Banco Davivienda Costa Rica to Promote Biodiversity

The Luxembourg-based eco.business Fund, which was launched in 2014, announced recently that it has lent USD 10 million to Banco Davividenda Costa Rica, a unit of Colombia’s Bolivar Group, for on-lending to companies that work in sectors such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and are certified for their sustainability and contribution to biodiversity by entities such as the Germany-based FairTrade International or the US-based Rainforest Alliance. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: Triple Bottom Line Investing Presents “TBLI Conference Latin America 2015;” May 28-29, 2015; Buenos Aires, Argentina

Event Name: TBLI Conference Latin America 2015

Event Date: May 28-29, 2015

Event Location: Centro Cívico Parque Patricios, Uspallata 3160, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Summary of Event: This conference will include panels on topics such as green real estate and sustainable urban development; renewable energy and energy infrastructure; sustainable agriculture; and the role of environmental, social and governance factors in investment decisions. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) Loans $40m to Banco Internacional of Ecuador for On-lending to Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Women-Owned Businesses

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 announced that it has lent USD 40 million to Banco Internacional, a commercial bank in Ecuador. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MasterCard, Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Seek to Advance Financial Inclusion via Public-Private Dialogue (PPD)

MasterCard, a US-based payments and technology company, and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), a network of 124 financial policymaking institutions from developing and emerging economies, recently announced a partnership within AFI’s Public-Private Dialogue Platform (PPD) to promote financial inclusion [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CAF Development Bank of Latin America Links Rural Health Clinics, Remote Medical Specialists via Telemedicine in Ecuador

CAF Development Bank of Latin America, a Venezuela-based multilateral financial institution that was formerly known as the Corporacion Andina de Fomento, recently partnered with Telesalud de Venezuela, a telemedicine firm that offers health services in rural and other underserved areas in Latin America, to pilot a health microinsurance project in Ecuador. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Driving Scale, Agent Network Density in Peru; Youth Banking in the Dominican Republic; Aging, Financial Inclusion in Colombia

“Aging and Financial Inclusion: An Opportunity;” published by HelpAge International and Accion’s Center for Financial Inclusion; 2015; 40 pages; available at https://centerforfinancialinclusionblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/aging_and_financial_inclusion_an_opportunity.pdf

This report highlights various barriers and opportunities in providing financial services to older people and helping younger people plan for old age, focusing on middle-income countries, in particular Colombia. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Acumen, Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, Unilever Partner to Support Smallholder Farmers through Enhanced Livelihoods Investment Initiative (ELII) in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean

The US-based non-profit venture fund Acumen, along with the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, an initiative of US-based Clinton Foundation, and the British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company Unilever recently partnered to launch a three-year, minimum USD 10 million Enhanced Livelihoods Investment Initiative (ELII) that aims to boost the economic development of approximately 300,000 smallholder farmers in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microsoft, MasterCard to Provide Payment, Technology Support for Micro-Business Owners in Mexico

Microsoft Corporation, a US-based technology firm, and MasterCard, a US-based financial services corporation with operations in 210 countries, have announced a partnership through which they will seek to enhance information technology, communication and payments for small-scale merchants in Mexico. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Triodos Sustainable Trade Fund Loans $800k to Organic Sesame Exporter Bioexport of Paraguay

The Triodos Sustainable Trade Fund, an investment vehicle managed by a unit of the Netherlands-based Triodos Bank, recently announced that it has invested in Bioexport, a Paraguayan firm that purchases sesame and other crops directly from farmers and cooperatives for export. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: Caribbean MicroFinance Alliance (CMFA) to Host “Sixth Caribbean Microfinance Forum (CMF VI): Solutions for Inclusive Growth;” July 6-9, 2015; Miami, Florida, USA

Event Name: The Sixth Caribbean Microfinance Forum: Solutions for Inclusive Growth

Event Date: July 6-9, 2015

Event Location: Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Miami Airport & Convention Centre; Miami, Florida, United States of America

Cost: The fee to attend the forum is USD 600. A reduced rate of USD 475 is available for attendees who register by April 1, 2015, and a discounted rate of USD 200 is available for one-day registration.

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: Mobile Money and Digital Payments Americas; March 24-25, 2015; Mexico City, Mexico

Event Name: Mobile Money & Digital Payments Americas

This event will be held at the same time and venue as the Prepaid Americas and Transport Ticketing Americas events.

Event Date: March 24-25, 2015

Event Location: Marquis Reforma Hotel; Mexico City, Mexico

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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: Colombian Government Creating Licensing System for Electronic Deposit-Taking Entities

The government of Colombia recently approved a law to regulate and license electronic deposit-taking entities. These financial institutions, designated Sociedades Especializadas en Depósitos y Pagos Electrónicos (Specialized Electronic Deposit and Payment Institutions), may be incorporated by individuals or legal entities, such as telecom operators or postal offices. With a minimum capital requirement of USD 3 million, these entities can allow users to save, make payments and receive money, primarily through correspondent agents [1] [2]. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Assessment of Deutsche Bank’s VG Microfinance Fund, SMEs in Latin America and the Caribbean, Bridging the Entrepreneurship Gender Gap

“VG Microfinance – Invest Nr. 1 GmbH Fund Assessment Study;” by Rocio Cavazos and Melanie Meslay; 2015; 33 pages; available at https://www.db.com/usa/content/en/vg-microfinance-invest-1.html

This study presents a quantitative and qualitative analysis of VG Microfinance-Invest Nr. 1 GmbH, a fund launched by Germany’s Deutsche Bank in 2007 with the support of the German government’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau Entwicklungsbank (KfW) that provided subordinated debt to 21 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in 15 different countries. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: AccessHolding Enters Latin America Acquiring 93% Equity Stake in Accion Microfinancas of Brazil

Access Microfinance Holding AG (AccessHolding), a German company that invests in microfinance institutions (MFIs), recently announced that it has acquired 93 percent of the equity in Accion Microfinancas SCMEPP SA, a Brazilian MFI that operates as a subsidiary of US-based nonprofit Accion. 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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