SPECIAL REPORT: Zemidjam Motorbike Drivers in Benin, Civil Service Retirees in Senegal Participate in Human-centered Design of Mobile Money Products

During the closing day of European Microfinance Week, European Microfinance Week 2017 Karima Wardak of the UN Capital Development Fund argued that copying digital financial services from country to country is not working. The same is true of country-specific “products that were designed in board room,” she said. Gilda Zarate Chabluk of Innate Motion, a consultancy with staff in 27 countries, launched the discussion of how concepts of human-centered design can sidestep these problems. All staff involved in a project should observe and talk to end-users early in the design process. She suggests a meeting at the home of the end-user that lasts about two hours, with most of that time focused on the user’s life rather than the product. The idea is to create the product with the users not for the

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Telma Introduces Mvola Mobile Loans, Savings in Madagascar

Telma Mobile, a Madagascar-based telecommunications company, recently rolled out the Mvola Avance and Epargne products, which offer loans and savings services, respectively, through the pre-existing Mvola mobile money service. With Mvola Avance, customers can borrow from MGA 1,000 to MGA 500,000 (USD 0.30 to USD 157) for

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Mastercard, Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Uganda Partnering on Digital Payments for Agriculture, Education, Health and Trade

Mastercard, a US-based payment processing company, and Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Uganda, an affiliate of the nonprofit FSD Africa, recently entered a memorandum of understanding to create

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FINCA Microfinance Bank of Tanzania Rolls Out HaloYako Mobile Savings Product

The Tanzanian affiliate of the US-based Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA International) recently began offering a service called HaloYako that allows people to open savings accounts via mobile phones. There is no fee to use the service or maintain the associated account. In fact, customers can earn

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Alternative Credit Scoring Firm MicroMoney, Peer-lending Platform Karma Partner to Promote Financial Inclusion

Singapore-based alternative credit scoring firm MicroMoney and Netherlands-domiciled peer-lending NGO Karma recently announced a partnership to work toward their shared “mission to help billions of people to be financially included” in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. MicroMoney will access repayment data from

SPECIAL REPORT: Innovations in Fintech, Human Resources Development at SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance)

At SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference in Addis Ababa, a wide variety of vendors presented their wares. Among these were several core banking system providers. Antonio Separovic of Oradian previously had set the stage for the conversation at the fintech (financial technology) session organized by Dutch development bank FMO. He argued that microfinance institutions (MFIs) shouldn’t start by thinking about whether to buy a new system, but about where the MFI wants to go and how to get there. “Fintech may be able to reduce the friction to do these things,” he said.

Cameron Goldie-Scot of Musoni agreed: “It’s about what are the challenges in your organization? Is it too expensive to handle cash in rural areas? Do you have trouble getting

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

MICROFINANCE EVENT: The Microfinance Centre’s (MFC’s) Alternative Finance Forum; October 5, 2017; Warsaw, Poland

Event Name: Alternative Finance Forum

Event Location: Copernicus Conference Centre; Warsaw, Poland

Summary of Event: This forum aims to “introduce new forms of financial services” while covering topics including equity-based crowdfunding, social impact bonds, online lenders to small businesses and peer-to-peer lending platforms. The event has support from the European Union and its European Investment Bank Institute.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: UK-based Humaniq Harnesses Blockchain, Biometrics To Launch Mobile Money Service in Ghana, Asia, South America

Humaniq, a London-based technology company, recently announced the launch of its “blockchain-powered financial inclusion app,” which allows users to send and receive money. Humaniq has

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP Accepting 2017 Photo Contest Entries Through September 29

CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based, nonprofit policy and research center that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, is seeking submissions of original photographs for its annual competition, which aims to highlight the positive effects of microfinance.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: SoftBank Pays $1.4b for 20% Equity Stake in Paytm, Provider of Digital Payment Services in India

Paytm, an Indian electronic payment and e-commerce company with 220 million users, recently raised INR 90 billion (USD 1.4 billion) in equity by selling nearly 20 percent of its shares to SoftBank Group, a Japanese conglomerate operating in the technology and energy sectors.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Vodacom Paying $2.6b to Its Majority Shareholder, Vodafone, for 35% Equity Stake in Owner of Kenya’s M-Pesa Mobile Money Service, Safaricom

Vodacom, a unit of UK-based Vodafone Group Plc that provides mobile communications services to 61 million subscribers in Africa, is paying Vodafone ZAR 34.6 billion (USD 2.6 billion) for a 34.94-percent stake in Safaricom, a Kenyan mobile network operator.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: SureBüddy, Provider of Free Funeral and Handset Insurance, Expands to Uganda

South African technology firm AxMe International Services recently expanded its SureBüddy insurance application to Uganda, allowing users in that country to view advertisements in return for no-cost insurance for their mobile phone screens.