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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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  .
“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.
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.
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.
Movistar, the Spanish mobile phone operator owned by Telefónica S.A., and MasterCard, the US-based payments and technology company, recently launched “Tu dinero móvil” (Your mobile money), which reportedly is the first electronic money service operating in Peru . The service will allow Movistar’s 16 million mobile users in Peru to perform financial transactions such as depositing and withdrawing money, refilling mobile balances and purchasing goods in the 65,000 establishments in Peru that are affiliated with MasterCard .
Développement international Desjardins (DID), a Canadian nonprofit providing technical support and investment for the community finance sector in emerging economies, has announced that it will establish four new entrepreneur financial centers (EFCs) in Africa and Latin America.
Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES), the Brazilian government’s development bank, reportedly has announced that it will loan USD 100 million to Banco do Nordeste do Brasil (BNB), a public bank operating in Brazil’s Northeastern Region.
The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the US-based Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), recently announced that it has partnered with Asociación Dominicana para el Desarrollo de la Mujer (ADOPEM), a microfinance institution (MFI) in the Dominican Republic, and Nestlé Dominican Republic, a unit of the Switzerland-based multinational food and beverage company, to develop a project that will give low-income women in the country an opportunity to operate micro-franchises to distribute Nestlé products in their communities .
Absolute Portfolio Management (APM), an arm of Austria-based asset management group C-Quadrat, recently informed MicroCapital that it disbursed credits totaling the approximate equivalent of USD 8.5 million from its two Vision Microfinance funds, the Dual Return Fund-Vision Microfinance and the Dual Return Fund-Vision Microfinance Local Currency, to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a US-based multilateral finance institution that operates in Latin America and the Caribbean, recently approved a loan of USD 30 million to the government of Paraguay.
Digicel, a Bermuda-based cellular network provider that operates in 30 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific, recently invested USD 5 million in Bima, a Sweden-based mobile microinsurance provider that operates in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific, to expand microinsurance product offerings in the Caribbean and the Asia-Pacific region.
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 purchased the entire stake of ordinary bonds recently issued by Bancamía S.A. (Corporation), a Colombian microfinance institution (MFI).
Développement international Desjardins (DID), a Canadian nonprofit providing technical support and investment for the community finance sector in emerging economies, and Financière agricole du Québec – Développement international (FADQDI), a Canadian nonprofit that aims to promote rural economic development, recently announced that they will launch a joint project with the aim of supporting the agricultural sector in Colombia.