MICROFINANCE EVENT: Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) Annual Meeting; June 6 – 8, 2017, Mexico City, Mexico

Event Name: Social Performance Task Force 2017 Annual Meeting

Event Date: June 6 – June 8, 2017

Event Location: Mexico City, Mexico

Summary of Event: This meeting will include plenary speeches, working group meetings and networking sessions relating to financial inclusion regulation, social outcomes data collection, and analysis and advances in “client-centric” technology [2]. The event will begin with an introductory session on the Universal Standards for Social Performance Management (SPM) and the resources available to financial service providers for measuring and improving their social performance. This is the first time this event is taking place in Latin America since 2013.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank of Ghana Introduces Logo for Licensed Microfinance Institutions, New Monitoring Requirements

The Bank of Ghana (BoG), the financial regulator of the country, is introducing a logo that microfinance institutions (MFIs) can display to help consumers “distinguish between credible, licensed microfinance institutions and unlicensed ones.” BoG also is requiring MFIs to monitor

SPECIAL REPORT: Raising Funds for Non-bank Financial Institutions in Africa

The non-bank financial institution (NBFI) sector, often referred to as the alternative finance sector or the shadow banking sector, around the world is largely dependent on the institutional market for funding. By regulation, NBFIs in most markets are prohibited from gathering deposits or restricted from transactional banking services, which are critical to attract deposits. In most markets, banks themselves are reluctant to lend to NBFIs, given the potential long-term competitive threat. For example, Capitec of South Africa and Equity Bank of Kenya, which are now very much fully-fledged banks, have roots as NBFIs. In South Africa, the deepest and broadest market in Africa, NBFIs have been largely focused on borrowing from the domestic market.

This is not without risks given, for example, the significant reversal in domestic investor sentiment following the collapse of African Bank in August 2014. African Bank’s largest peer, Capitec, was less affected because

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microbank LOLC (Cambodia) Authorized to Offer Leasing Services

LOLC (Cambodia) Plc, a microfinance institution (MFI) that is 60-percent owned by LOLC Micro Investment of Sri Lanka, recently received approval from the National Bank of Cambodia to offer leasing services. It is reportedly the first MFI to gain such permission. Beginning in March, LOLC (Cambodia) expects to offer both businesses and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Success Microfinance Bank (Formerly Collarhedge Finance) Acquires Deposit-taking License from Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

Success Microfinance Bank, a financial institution in Zimbabwe formerly known as Collarhedge Finance, recently received a license from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe allowing it to accept deposits. Microfinance banks in the country

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nepal Sets Microloan Interest Rate Maximum of 18%

The Nepalese central bank, Nepal Rastra Bank, reportedly has capped microloan rates at 18 percent per year following complaints of microfinance institutions (MFIs) “distributing high dividends by charging borrowers, who are often poor people in rural areas, exorbitant rates…as high as 30 percent.” This follows the declaration of

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Zimbabwe Loosens Microfinance Regulations in Effort to Boost Investment; Deliver Range of Services to More Women, Youth

The government of Zimbabwe recently liberalized its Microfinance Act with provisions such as extending the validity of microfinance institution (MFI) license renewals from one to three years. Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, was quoted as saying financial institution “charges are just too high. With MFIs, it mostly has to do with the fact that investment in the sector is just too low, so companies just end up passing their costs to clients…. Zimbabwe seeks to unlock economic opportunities, especially for the women and youths by expanding access to savings,

SPECIAL REPORT: Accelerating Financial Inclusion in the Mekong through Collaboration

AtBanking With the Poor Network the 2016 Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum, MFIs and funders led this session’s discussion of collaboration. Kelly Hattel, Financial Sector Specialist for the Asian Development Bank, underscored “the importance of having national strategies for financial inclusion and having them be evidence-based. These are important…both as a donor individually and for

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit, Hanoi, Vietnam, March 21-22, 2017

Event Name: Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit

Event Date: March 21-22, 2017; optional field visits on March 23, 2017

Event Location: JW Marriott Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam

Event Summary: Themed “Advancing Financial Inclusion in a Digital Age,” this event will include plenaries on topics such as collaboration and regulating digital financial services. Breakout sessions will address topics such as blockchain technology, gender, serving youth and reaching “the last mile.” On March 23, participants may visit with staff and clients of either Tinh Thuong Microfinance Institution or

SPECIAL REPORT: Policy and Regulation in the Mekong: Developing Strategic Frameworks for Financial Inclusion

The Banking With the Poor Networkassembled regulators and trade group leaders offered a litany of current and soon-to-be-released strategies to create a nurturing environment for pro-client financial services. It is critically important to

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: How the Private Sector Can Boost Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa; the Role of Impact Investing in Achieving SDGs in Africa; Documenting Reforms to “Doing Business”

Entreprenante Afrique; by Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg; published in French by Odile Jacob; September 2016; 288 pages; available for purchase at: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=_vslDQAAQBAJ&rdid=book-_vslDQAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_buy&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_atb

Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg argue that the 5-percent average annual growth rate Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced since 2000 is being driven significantly by the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

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

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microfinance Institutions in Pakistan to be Registered as Non-Banking Financial Companies, Regulated by Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) recently announced plans to bring all non-deposit taking microfinance institutions (MFIs) and related nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) under the non-banking finance company (NBFC) framework in an effort to improve the regulation and monitoring of their activities.

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: 2016 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project Report; by John Villasenor, Darrell West, Robin Lewis

“The 2016 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project Report Advancing Equitable Financial Ecosystems;” by John D. Villasenor, Darrell M. West and Robin J. Lewis; published by the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution; August 2016; 146 pages;

MICROFINANCE EVENT: European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) to Host European Microfinance Week, November 16-18, 2016, Luxembourg

Event Name: European Microfinance Week 2016

Event Date: November 16 – November 18, 2016

Event Location: Neimënster, 28 Rue Münster, L-2160 Luxembourg