SPECIAL REPORT: Overcoming Barriers to Agricultural Microfinance

At European Microfinance Week, which is hosted by Luxembourg’s 140-member European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), Daniela Rottger, a consultant to German development finance institution Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), spoke Wednesday about her study of the agricultural lending products offered by several African banks and microlenders.

SPECIAL REPORT: Women Microfinance Clients Often Save More, Are More Loyal to Lenders

At today’s session on gender at European Microfinance Week in Luxembourg, panelists eschewed the idea that lenders have a moral obligation to serve a greater proportion of women. Instead, Anne-Marie Chidzero of South Africa and Anna Gincherman of the US-based Women’s World Banking (WWB) network both argued strenuously that lenders are leaving money on the table by failing to reach out to women.

SPECIAL REPORT: Michael Chu: “Disrupt this Old Model to Unlock the Potential of Microfinance”

At today’s opening plenary of European Microfinance Week, which is hosted by Luxembourg’s 140-member European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), Michael Chu of the US-based Harvard Business School and the Mexico-based venture capital fund Ignia, argued that microfinance is generally implemented using a 20-year-old model that is inefficient and “ripe for disruption” through technology.

SPECIAL REPORT: “Making Microfinance Investment Responsible” Group Wrestles with Inconsistent Data Reporting at European Microfinance Week

On this first day of European Microfinance Week, which is hosted by the 140-member European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) of Luxembourg, e-MFP’s “Making Microfinance Investment Responsible” Action Group convened to work on the data it has collected on client protection from 10 microfinance investors, rating agencies and NGOs.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Développement International Desjardins (DID) Invests in Microfinance Currency Hedging Company MFX Solutions

Développement International Desjardins (DID), a nonprofit organization based in Canada that provides technical support and investment for development finance in emerging economies, has invested an unspecified amount in US-based MFX Solutions, a company that provides currency hedging solutions for microfinance institutions (MFIs) and microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs) [1].

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Lessons Learned from Morocco’s Microcredit Crisis; Using Microinsurance to Promote Universal Coverage; Remittances and Post-Conflict Economic Growth

“Lessons Learned from the Moroccan Crisis;” by Nadine Chehade and Alice Negre; published by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor); 2013; 4 pages; available at http://www.cgap.org/sites/default/files/Brief-Lessons-Learned-from-the-Moroccan-Crisis-July-2013_0.pdf

This report presents the results of a study conducted by US-based NGO CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) that explored the Moroccan microcredit downturn, focusing on outlining “lessons learned from the rise, fall, and ongoing recovery of the Moroccan microcredit sector that may be useful when adapted in other countries in similar situations.”

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Establishes $2m Local Currency Credit Line for Bank of Asia

The UK-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) recently opened a local-currency credit line equivalent to USD 2 million for the Bank of Asia Closed Joint Stock Company (CJSC), a public bank based in the Kyrgyz Republic, to support the bank’s micro-, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) clients.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Depositors Withdraw Savings from Microfinance Firms in Kumasi, Ghana amid Lack of Safety Nets for Clients

High rates of deposit withdrawals reportedly are occurring in Ghanaian city of Kumasi, which allegedly is attributed to the lack of safety nets protecting depositors in case firms are shut down by the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the country’s main financial regulator.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Risk Management Initiative in Microfinance (RIM) Launched

MFX Solutions, a US-based company that provides currency hedging solutions for microfinance institutions (MFIs) and microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs), recently announced that it is one of eight partners launching the Risk Management Initiative in Microfinance (RIM), which will aim to mitigate challenges MFIs face in risk management; promote best practices; institute global MFI risk management standards; and protect MFIs and their clients from internal and external risks.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: PKF Chartered Accountants Advises Royal Bank Zimbabwe to Downscale to Microfinance Institution

PKF Chartered Accountants, the Zimbabwean member of UK-based businesses services firm PKF International, reportedly has advised Royal Bank Zimbabwe Limited, a defunct bank, to convert its commercial banking license to a microfinance institution (MFI) license, which carries lower capital requirements set by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the country’s central banking institution.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Online Fundraiser Kiva Discloses Delinquencies of Microfinance Institutions Alidé of Benin, FECECAV of Togo

Kiva, a US-based online microlending fundraiser, recently reported on delinquent payments due to Kiva by non-profit institutions L’Association de Lutte pour la promotion des Initiatives de Développement (Alidé) of Benin and Faîtière des Caisses d’Epargne et de Crédit des Associations Villageoises (FECECAV) of Togo.

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Microfinance Institution Tiers, Microfinance in East Africa, Weather Risk Management

“Microfinance Institution Tier Definitions;” published by MicroRate; April 2013; 2 pages; available at http://www.microrate.com/media/downloads/2013/04/MicroRate-White-paper-Microfinance-Institution-Tier-Definitions.pdf

This report proposes a “tier system that defines microfinance institution [MFI] peer groups by institutional maturity to provide a foundation for industry analysis and informed dialogue.”

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Caspian Advisors Launches $40m Caspian Impact Investments (CII) Fund for Microfinance, Affordable Housing, Agriculture

Caspian Advisors Private Ltd., an Indian investment management and advisory services company specializing in the socially-responsible arena, recently launched the Caspian Impact Investments (CII) fund, which is targeted to raise USD 40 million for projects in the areas of microfinance, small business financing, affordable housing and agriculture.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: China Microfinance Institution Association (CMIA) to Introduce Credit Rating System for Microfinance Institutions As Early As July 2013

The China Microfinance Institution Association (CMIA), an organization that advocates for the interests of 92 domestic member microfinance institutions (MFIs) covering 27 provinces, plans to introduce a credit rating system to evaluate MFIs as early as July.

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Microinsurance in Ghana: Microinsurance as a Means of Insurance Sector Development;” by Jan Meissner; published by the National Insurance Commission (NIC), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

By Jan Meissner; published by Ghana’s National Insurance Commission (NIC) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); 2013; 243 pages; available at: http://www.microfinancegateway.org/gm/document-1.9.61118/Promoting%20Microinsurance%20in%20Ghana_Full%20Book.pdf

This book analyzes potential ways to enhance the development of the microinsurance sector in Ghana, providing an overview of inclusive financial market development in the country as well as a series of recommended best practices for microinsurance development.

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Curbing Debt Stress, Social Performance in Mexico, UN Human Development Report: The Rise of the South

“Regulatory Options to Curb Debt Stress;” by Gabriel Davel; published by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor); March 2013; 29 pages; available at: http://www.cgap.org/publications/regulatory-options-curb-debt-stress

This report highlights how the dynamics of credit markets can lead to cycles of credit growth and accumulation of consumer debt followed by widespread default and contraction.

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Microfinance and Patriarchy, Connecting the World’s Poorest People to the Global Economy, “Best Practices” in Serving Small Businesses

“Microfinance and Patriarchy: A Drift Away from Serving Women;” published by Knowledge @ Wharton; 2013; 3 pages; available at: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/createpdf.cfm?articleid=3169

This report highlights the importance of gender equality in the provision of microfinance and focuses on the negative impacts of patriarchal attitudes on lending practices.

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Pathways Towards Greater Impact: Better Microinsurance Models, Products and Processes for MFIs;” by Craig Churchill, Aparna Dalal and Josh Ling; published by International Labour Organization, Microinsurance Innovation Facility

By Craig Churchill, Aparna Dalal and Josh Ling; published by International Labour Organization, Microinsurance Innovation Facility; 2013; 8 pages; available at: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/employment/mifacility/download/brnote15_en.pdf

This paper examines the challenges faced by microfinance institutions (MFIs) that provide microinsurance products to low-income individuals and businesses.