MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: 11 Microfinance Institutions in Cambodia Lose Licenses for Noncompliance

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), the central bank of the country, recently revoked the licenses of 11 microfinance institutions (MFIs) for failing to maintain compliance with a “diverse” range of rules. The MFIs, which are classified as “rural credit operators,” reportedly comprise a

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Gret Spins Off Microfinance Activities in Myanmar, Creating Thitsar Ooyin

French NGO Gret recently consolidated its two microfinance institutions in Myanmar under a single entity called Thitsar Ooyin, which can be translated as “garden of loyalty.” Gret Microfinance Programme Manager Guillaume Lepoutre said, “The creation of a dedicated entity…provides access to new financial…resources.”

Thitsar Ooyin offers group and individual loans from eight branches in Chin State and the Dry Zone. It has 80 employees and primarily finances

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Sri Lanka’s SANASA Installing 35 Weather Stations, Expanding Index Insurance for Rice Farmers to Pepper, Cinnamon Growers

SANASA Insurance Company Limited, a member of Sri Lanka’s cooperative SANASA group, recently installed the first of 35 weather stations funded by a donation from Desjardins Financial Security, an insurer within the Canadian cooperative Desjardins Group. The stations expand an existing network supporting SANASA Insurance’s provision of index insurance to rice farmers, whereby the farmers are paid when weather conditions are not conducive to healthy crops rather than based on individual insurance claims. The new stations are intended to improve the provision of insurance for rice farmers as well as allowing SANASA Insurance to expand to serving pepper and

MICROFINANCE EVENT: 2018 Customer Centricity Learning Event; February 19 – 22, 2018; Mamallapuram, India

Event Name: 2018 Customer Centricity Learning Event

Event Date: February 19 – 22, 2018

Application deadline: January 19, 2018

Event Location: Mamallapuram, India

Summary of Event: This event is intended to improve the ways financial services providers work with low-income customers. The conference includes training exercises and networking events designed to improve social

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Analytics Private Limited (APL) to Use IBM Technology to Help FINCA Pakistan Understand Customers Better, Improve Digital Financial Services

FINCA Pakistan, an affiliate of the US-based Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA International), recently hired Analytics Private Limited (APL), a Pakistani technology company, to help it deepen

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: “Microinsurance Master” Program Offers 10 Weeks of Immersion, Coaching on Scaling Up Insurance Services for Poor People

A new program called Microinsurance Master is offering two weeks of training at Pioneer Microinsurance, a Philippines-based firm with 18 million customers, followed by eight weeks of remote coaching intended to help participants “focus on client-centric solutions that reduce the vulnerability of low-income people and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s Aavishkaar Bharat Fund Attracts $95m for Impact Investing from Investors Including CDC, SIDBI, Munjal Family Office (Hero Corporation), TIAA

Indian fund advisor Aavishkaar recently completed the first close of the Aavishkaar Bharat Fund, with commitments of INR 6.2 billion (USD 95 million), of which it has INR 5.9 billion (USD 92 million) in hand. The fund will support businesses in India that further Aavishkaar’s mission to “enhance livelihoods and reduce vulnerabilities for the low-income population” in “a range of sectors, namely agriculture, dairy, education, energy, handicrafts, health, water and sanitation, technology for development, microfinance and financial inclusion.” Aavishkaar will seek to do this while generating a

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: USAID to Guarantee $15m in Agricultural Lending by Cambodia’s AMK Microfinance Institution, LOLC, RMA Financial Services

Through its Development Credit Authority (DCA), the US Agency for International Development (AID) has agreed to guarantee a portion of agricultural loans totaling USD 15 million to be disbursed

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Greenlight Planet Nets Equity, Debt Totaling $60m for Sun King Solar Product Line from Apis, Eight Roads, Bamboo, Deutsche, Global Partnerships, Other Investors

Greenlight Planet, which has offices in Kenya, India and the US, recently raised a total of USD 60 million in equity and debt “to expand its solar-energy product lines, distribution networks, and financing capabilities in Africa and Asia.” Three entities purchased stakes of unspecified sizes in Greenlight, including Apis Growth Fund I, the lead investor in the funding round, which is managed by Nigeria- and UK-based Apis Partners. The other two entities increased existing stakes in Greenlight: Eight Roads Ventures, a private equity firm with offices in seven countries; and Bamboo Capital Partners, an investor seeking “economic, social and environmental

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Cooperative Bank of Vietnam (Co-opBank), Développement international Desjardins (DiD) Supporting People’s Credit Funds in Improving Products for Agricultural, Other Rural Clients

The Cooperative Bank of Vietnam (Co-opBank), whose mission includes promoting “social economic development in agricultural and rural area[s]” of Vietnam, recently began implementing a project with the support of Développement international Desjardins (DiD), a unit of Canadian cooperative Desjardins Group, intended to improve the tailoring of financial products to the needs of people in

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MFI in Bosnia and Herzegovina Borrows from Dual Return Vision Microfinance Fund

A microfinance institution (MFI) in Bosnia and Herzegovina borrowed a portion of the equivalent of USD 47 million that C-Quadrat Asset Management, a unit of Austrian fund manager C-Quadrat, disbursed during November via the Dual Return Vision Microfinance funds. The other borrowers are located elsewhere in Europe as well as Latin America and

SPECIAL REPORT: Scaling Up Implementation of Social Performance Management at European Microfinance Week

On European Microfinance Week 2017the first day of conference sessions at European Microfinance Week, experts in the social performance of microfinance institutions (MFIs) discussed how tools developed over the last ten years have reached a level of maturity warranting their wider rollout.

Cecile Lapenu of France-based Cerise described SPI4, the fourth iteration of a set of Social Performance Indicators intended to simplify reporting and provide a common language for different stakeholders to discuss social performance management (SPM). SPI4 incorporates the Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Principles and the Social Performance Task Force’s Universal Standards for SPM. It also includes optional modules on poverty, gender and the environment. To date, 432 SPI4 audits have been completed on institutions in 88 countries.

Jurgen Hammer of the Luxembourg-based Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation explained his organization’s use of the SPI4/ALINUS (Aligning Investors’ Due Diligence to the Universal Standards) framework to evaluate and benchmark the social performance of its partner MFIs. The foundation was meeting or exceeding the benchmark data in all categories except

SPECIAL REPORT: Rural Outreach and Innovation Action Group Highlights Apps, Soil Test Kits, Funding Agricultural Cooperatives

On European Microfinance Week 2017the first afternoon of European Microfinance Week, the European Microfinance Platform’s (e-MFP’s) Rural Outreach & Innovation Action Group presented a range of services that are reaching rural areas today.

Amsalu Alemayehu of Ethiopia’s Wasasa Microfinance explained that his organization has been financing agricultural cooperatives for about five years and how this can be an efficient method for serving a large number of people. However, the number of cooperatives Wasasa serves remains small. Mr Alemayehu explained that many of the 78,000 cooperatives in Ethiopia are member-managed and need significant capacity building to become creditworthy.

Marina Kortenbusch of Switzerland’s Business & Finance Consulting (BFC), who is also the chair of the Action Group, spoke passionately about

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Australian Government Introduces $30m “Emerging Market Impact Investment Fund” Targeting Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Asia-Pacific

The Australian government recently launched a facility called the Emerging Market Impact Investment Fund (EMIIF) in an effort to support “positive social and development outcomes for poor communities in the Asia-Pacific.” The fund, which will execute loans, equity placements and guarantees, has an allocation of AUD 40 million (USD 30 million) phased over the period 2017 to 2021. It will invest in parcels of

SPECIAL REPORT: European Microfinance Week Opens: Microfinance and Environment Action Group Celebrates Rollout of Solar Products in Central America, Ethiopia, Philippines; Turns Eye to Scaling Up

On European Microfinance Week 2017the opening day of European Microfinance Week, the European Microfinance Platform’s (e-MFP’s) Microfinance and Environment Action Group met to review its successes and make plans for the next two years.

Carla Palomares of ADA, the Luxembourgish nonprofit formerly known as Appui au Développement Autonome, explained her organization’s work with the 60-member Microfinance Council of the Philippines (MCPI) and Red Centroamericana y del Caribe de Microfinanzas (REDCAMIF), a network of networks serving 139 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in the Dominican Republic and six Central American countries. ADA helped MCPI develop a team dedicated to supporting its member MFIs in offering loans for clients to buy solar lamps. MCPI is now working with six additional MFIs to roll out solar loans. The program with REDCAMIF is similar, but involves microleasing for agricultural equipment and support regarding environmentally sustainable farming practices as well as

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: OJK Licenses 10 Islamic Microfinance Institutions in Indonesia

Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK), the Financial Services Authority of Indonesia, recently granted operating licenses to 10 Islamic microfinance institutions (MFIs) in the country. The MFIs are funded by unspecified donors wishing to encourage

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: National Bank of Cambodia: Foreign Banks Struggling to Meet 10% Local-currency Lending Requirement Should Partner with Microfinance Institutions

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) continues to resist suggestions that it soften the decree it made in December 2016 that all financial institutions boost their local-currency lending to 10 percent of their portfolios by December 2019. NBC Director General Chea Serey reportedly said foreign banks struggling to meet the new threshold should partner with microfinance institutions (MFIs) because

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company Linking 8 MFIs to United Bank’s “UBL Omni” Branchless Banking Service

United Bank Limited (UBL), a Karachi-based commercial bank, and the Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC), an organization funded by the governments of the UK and Germany, recently reached an agreement through which PMIC will link eight of its partner microfinance institutions (MFIs)