Category: Risks

SPECIAL REPORT: On “Microfinance in Crisis,” an Interview with Edvardas Bumsteinas of the European Investment Bank, Host of the European Microfinance Award Ceremony

MicroCapital: Please tell us a bit about how you to came to work in microfinance.

Edvardas Bumsteinas: My interest in microfinance began with a summer job some 20 years ago when I was a student at the London School of Economics. At the request of Lithuania’s Open Society Institute, I spent one of my summers helping to set up external financing facilities for the Lithuanian Credit Union’s network. During my meetings with staff members and clients, I was impressed with positive results that those member-owned financial institutions were having in their communities.

MC: In reading about the European Investment Bank (EIB)-funded Microfinance in Crisis project, I was struck by the language “The main thing is to make the system user-centric, not provider-centric, and to consider microfinance (and more broadly finance) as a common good.” Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank of Ghana Rejects Appeal by Customers of DKM Diamond Micro-Finance Limited; President Intervenes

The Bank of Ghana (BoG), the country’s central bank, recently rejected an appeal by the customers of the Ghana-based savings and microfinance company DKM Diamond Micro-Finance Limited (DKM) who had requested their cash deposits and matured investments with DKM to be paid out. BoG rejected the appeal due to the investigation into DKM’s practices being pending. BoG argued that it had to establish whether the MFI had violated the Ghanaian banking act before it allowed access to funds held by DKM. Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: Boosting Rural Finance via Collaboration Among AFMIN, AMT Forum, AFRACA, MAIN

Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) is a production of four African microfinance networks in collaboration with Luxembourgish NGO ADA. As this is only the second SAM, a session was held this week on how the networks can expand their collaboration to increase their effectiveness in promoting rural finance on the continent.

Davy Serge Azakpame, the CEO of the Benin-based African Microfinance Network, proposed “creat[ing] an advocacy group to pressure government to boost funding for rural areas.” Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: Opening Ceremonies of Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) Raise Hopes of Reducing Poverty Through Improved Value Chains, Government Support of Agriculture

African Microfinance Week, also known as Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM), was launched this morning in Dakar, Senegal, by speakers including Minister Moustapha Diop of Senegal’s Ministry of Women, Family and Children. (While related meetings, training sessions and vendor presentations are running from June 25 through July 3, the main conference sessions are being held on June 30 and July 1.)

Minister Diop Opens SAM

In keeping with the event theme, “Accelerating Innovative Rural Finance in Africa,” Minister Diop argued that climate change is expected to reduce crop yields in Africa over time and that “to focus on this challenge, family farms are needed, and they need access to finance. Government is helping them, but they need more…. We would like to attract financing to the rural zones; by merging the efforts of the public and private sectors, we will meet this challenge.” Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Is Health Microinsurance Sustainable? An Analysis of Five South Asian Schemes,” by Michael E. Weilant, published by the International Labour Organization

“Is Health Microinsurance Sustainable? An analysis of Five South Asian Schemes,” by Michael Weilant, published by the International Labor Organization, May 2015, 45 pages, available at:

This paper analyzes five health microinsurance (HMI) schemes operating in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan in order to evaluate the sustainability of HMI. All five schemes were in operation for more than 3 years and serve more than 25,000 active customers. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Morocco’s Microfinance Market; Trends in Funding Financial Inclusion; Growth Projections in Islamic Microfinance

“Ending the Microfinance Crisis in Morocco: Acting early, acting right;” published by the International Financial Corporation in partnership with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development; the Danish International Development Agency; Japan; Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs; and UKaid; October 2014; available at
Continue reading


Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Harakat Implement Credit, Collateral Registry in Afghanistan

Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), the central bank of Afghanistan, recently implemented a credit infrastructure modernization project involving the establishment of Collateral Registry (CR) and Public Credit Registry (PCR) systems, which enable automation of loan processing by tracking information about clients, outstanding loans and assets pledged to back those loans. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Labour Office’s (ILO’s) Impact Insurance Facility, Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) Seek to Stimulate Innovation in Microinsurance in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Impact Insurance Facility of the UN’s International Labour Office (ILO) and the French government’s Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) recently signed a three-year partnership seeking to strengthen the resilience of middle-income workers in the informal sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. Financial details of this partnership have not been reported. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Improving the Wellbeing of the Poorest of the Poor; Finance in Motion’s Impact Investment Report; Investing in Africa’s Small, Growing Businesses

“A multifaceted program causes lasting progress for the very poor: Evidence from six countries;” published by American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2015-05, available at

This study reports that a multifaceted “graduation” program generated improvements in the wellbeing of the “poorest of the poor.” Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: European Microfinance Award Application Period Open Through June 3: $110k for Services in Post-Disaster, Post-Conflict, Fragile States

MicroCapital: Please tell us about the theme of this year’s EUR 100,000 (USD 110,000) European Microfinance Award: serving people in post-disaster, post-conflict and fragile states.

Davide Forcella: This is a very timely issue because of the increasing frequency of microfinance institutions (MFIs) being forced to operate under very difficult conditions, due to both natural disasters and human conflict. The aim of the prize is to reward MFIs that Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: June 3 is Deadline to Apply for $106k Sixth European Microfinance Award: “Microfinance in Post-Disaster, Post-Conflict Areas and Fragile States”

Through June 3, the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), a Luxembourg-based network of approximately 130 microfinance organizations and individuals, is accepting applications for the Sixth European Microfinance Award, which will include a cash prize of EUR 100,000 (USD 106,000). This year’s award aims to recognize providers of financial services in post-disaster, post-conflict and fragile states. Successful applicants will illustrate their strategy for increasing “both their own resilience and that of their clients,” while highlighting how these services will respond to the immediate, medium- and long-term needs of clients in afflicted areas. To qualify, an institution must be based in a developing country and obtain a letter of support from a member of e-MFP. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Maize Insurance in Burkina Faso, Risks to Microfinance in Pakistan, Claims Analysis in Health Microinsurance

“Loan Protection for Maize Farmers in Burkina Faso;” by Barbara Magnoni and Danielle Sobol; published by The MicroInsurance Centre; 2014; 13 pages; available at

This paper presents the findings of a study focusing on the impact of droughts, specifically the costs to maize farmers in Burkina Faso. Continue reading


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


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Swaziland Ministry of Finance to Develop Credit Information Sharing Program as Plan to Increase Financial Inclusion to 75% by 2022

Swaziland’s Ministry of Finance reportedly will launch a program to protect Swazi consumers from over-indebtedness by making consumer credit information available to all credit providers in the country, including development finance institutions, microlenders, savings cooperatives and retailers [1]. Another aim of the effort is to lower the cost of credit to support a government effort to increase financial inclusion in the country from 50 percent in 2011 to 75 percent by 2022 [2]. The principal secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Bheki Bhembe, reportedly said that “The project aims to strengthen credit information flow in Swaziland. By so doing, the project aims to increase access to affordable credit among the under-served market segments.” Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Millicom’s Tanzanian Arm Distributes Profits of $1.8m to Tigo Pesa Mobile Money Customers

Millicom International Cellular, a Luxembourg-based telecommunications company that operates the brand Tigo, recently announced that its Tanzanian unit will distribute third quarter profits of TZS 3 billion (USD 1.8 million) to users and agents of Tigo Pesa, a mobile money service accessed by 3.6 million customers. Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: On Microbusiness Support in Conflict Zones, a Discussion at European Microfinance Week

Major David Beskow of the US Military Academy told a crowd at European Microfinance Week, about distributing microgrants in eastern Baghdad, Iraq, largely to women shop-owners for refrigeration, generators or inventory. Funded by the Iraqi government and the US Army’s Commander’s Emergency Response Program, each grant ranged in size from USD 500 to USD 5,000. Although no repayment was required, each beneficiary business was documented through photos and other means before disbursal and after one and six months, in the presence of local police. Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: European Microfinance Week Participants: Transparency, Competition, Product-specific Rate Caps Can Lower Microloan Interest Rates

To open the two-day conference portion of European Microfinance Week, which is hosted by the 130-member, Luxembourg-based European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), panelists and attendees addressed “Balancing financial inclusion, market stability and client protection.” Narda Sotomayor, who leads the Department of Microfinance Analysis at Peru’s Superintendencia de Banca, Seguros y Administradoras Privadas de Fondos de Pensiones, stated that “MFIs [microfinance institutions] moving further down market to serve new people is risky, as this group has less financial education, less collateral. An institution’s credit portfolio can deteriorate quickly unless its lending methodology is revised as part of a dynamic process.” On the issue of increasing financial capability, she added, “We find synergies between financial education and stability. This also leads to benefits for institutions and the whole system.” Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: A Risk Management “Graduation Model” for Microfinance

MicroCapital: You will be speaking in a few days at European Microfinance Week. How will you describe the state of risk management within microfinance and where it fits in the broader context of the industry?

Kevin Fryatt: In the last several years, we have seen a lot of focus on new technology and serving clients better through new product development, savings mobilization and agent networks, amongst other avenues. Similarly, institutions’ balance sheets are getting increasingly diverse in the types of funding they are sourcing. But within this, the conversation of risk management isn’t happening. There’s a sense of cynicism within the leadership of microfinance institutions (MFIs) toward risk management. It is often misunder-stood and confused with the roles of internal audit or compliance. It is often very difficult to quantify the value of risk management. Continue reading