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)

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MicroFinanza Rating Issues 27 Rating Updates, New Reports for Microfinance Institutions in the Philippines, Latin America

During October 2017, MicroFinanza Rating (MFR) issued a Micro­finance Institutional Rating (MIR) of BB with a Stable outlook to Rangtay sa Pagrang-ay Microfinance of the Philippines. MFR also updated the MIRs of three affiliates of US-based Pro Mujer Incor­porated: Pro Mujer Argentina’s was confirmed at BB+ with a Positive outlook; Pro Mujer Nicaragua’s was confirmed at BBB+ with a Stable outlook; and Pro Mujer Mexico’s was upgraded

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Social Impact Hub Introduces Library of Potential Impact Investments in Australia

The Impact Investing Hub, a student-led project connecting investors to potential impact investments, recently created a Current Deals Library to provide greater access to information on opportunities that are meant to pay off financially as well as

SPECIAL REPORT: At SAM, a “Moral Obligation” to Include More People in the Financial System, Harvesting Wins $12k FMO Fintech for Microfinance Prize for Use of Satellite Data to Boost Agricultural Lending

At the gala dinner at SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Olivier Massart, the General Manager of ADA, argued that the attendees of the event have incurred a “moral obligation” to increase financial inclusion. The 650+ attendees spent an estimated total of USD 1 million to USD 2 million on travel and registration fees. Because they elected not to spend this money directly on serving poor people, Mr Massart challenged each delegate to bring at least one additional person in to the financial system for each

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MicroFinanza Rating Issues 5 Institutional, Social Credentials to Microfinance Institutions in Ecuador, Mexico, Palestine, Rwanda

Italy’s MicroFinanza Rating (MFR) issued two microfinance institutional ratings during September. Palestine’s Asala Company for Credit and Development was assigned a grade of BB+ with a “stable” outlook, and Inkunga Finance of Rwanda was assigned a grade of

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: C-Quadrat’s Dual Return Vision Microfinance Funds Lend $31m to MFIs in Asia, Latin America

C-Quadrat Asset Management, an arm of Austrian fund manager C-Quadrat, recently informed MicroCapital that its Dual Return Vision Microfinance funds lent a total approximately equivalent to USD 31 million to unidentified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in five Asian countries, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan, as well as three Latin American countries, Ecuador, Mexico and