Category: South Asia, East Asia and Pacific

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Etisalat Lanka of Sri Lanka, Dialog Axiata of UAE Partner to Extend Ezcash Mobile Payment System in Sri Lanka

Dialog Axiata (DA), a Sri Lankan mobile communications subsidiary of Malaysia’s Axiata Group Berhad, reportedly has announced that it will begin a partnership with Etisalat Lanka (EL), a cellular network owned by the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation of the United Arab Emirates, to extend Dialog’s “eZcash” mobile payments to EL’s customers in Sri Lanka. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India-based NeoGrowth Raises $1.7m from Aspada Investment Company

NeoGrowth Credit, an Indian non-bank financial company that makes working capital and inventory loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country, recently announced that it has raised INR 100 million (USD 1.7 million) from Aspada Investment Company, an Indian investor in early-stage businesses that target low-income consumers. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: LeapFrog Invests $29m in Equity in Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) Capital of India

LeapFrog Investments, a for-profit private equity fund based in Mauritius that invests in microfinance, reportedly has invested USD 29 million in return for a minority stake of undisclosed size in the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) Capital, an Indian non-banking financial company that facilitates funding for organizations that serve low-income people. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) Disburses Syndicated Loan of $125m to Sri Lanka’s National Development Bank (NDB)

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private investment arm of the US-based World Bank Group, recently disbursed a four-year syndicated loan of USD 125 million to National Development Bank (NDB), which is owned by the government of Sri Lanka, in an effort to improve access to funds for micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Sri Lanka. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India-based Five Star Raises Equity Financing from Matrix to Expand Branch Network, Increase Lending to Micro-, Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs)

Five Star Business Credits (Five Star), an Indian non-bank financial company that lends to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, recently announced that it has raised an undisclosed sum in equity financing from Matrix Partners India, the Indian subsidiary of US-based private equity firm Matrix Partners. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Branchless Banking Transactions in Pakistan Quintuple in Value to $8b

According to a report entitled “Access to Finance in Pakistan” that was recently published by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the nation’s central bank, the total value of branchless banking (BB) transactions in Pakistan during 2013 increased by PKY 651 billion (USD 6.73 billion) over the previous year, reaching PKY 802 billion (USD 8.29 billion). Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Buksh Foundation, Kiva Announce Partnership to Support Microentrepreneurs in Pakistan

The Buksh Foundation (BF), a nonprofit microfinance institution (MFI) in Pakistan, and Kiva Microfunds, a US-based nonprofit online fundraising portal for MFIs, have announced a partnership to support microentrepreneurs in an effort to achieve development sector goals and alleviate poverty in the country. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) of Malaysia to Increase Banking Agent Network to 7,500

Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), a government-owned commercial bank that provides traditional and Islamic banking services in Malaysia, recently announced that it will increase its number of banking agents from approximately 5,000 to 7,500 by the end of 2014. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Government Efforts to Achieve Financial Inclusion in India; Index-based Insurance in South, Southeast Asia; Microinsurance Claims Management

“Report of the Committee on Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low Income Households;” published by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI); December 31, 2013; 247 pages; available at http://rbidocs.rbi.org.in/rdocs/PublicationReport/Pdfs/CFS070114RFL.pdf

This report was authored by the Committee on Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low Income Households, which was appointed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in September 2013 to propose measures for increasing access to financial services in India. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Water, Sanitation and Microfinance Toolkit 1: Introduction to Opportunities in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Finance,” Published by Water.org, MicroSave

“Water, Sanitation and Microfinance Toolkit 1: Introduction to Opportunities in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Finance;” published by Water.org and MicroSave, 2013, 75 pages, available at http://www.washmicrofinance.org/

Water insecurity and unhygienic sanitation practices pose significant health and financial risks in the developing world. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bandhan of India Raises $16m in Nonconvertible Debentures (NCDs) From Unnamed Swiss Investor

Bandhan Financial Services, an Indian microfinance institution (MFI) that offers loans for health emergencies and microenterprise, reportedly has raised INR 1 billion (USD 16.3 million) in nonconvertible debentures (NCDs) from an unnamed Swiss investor. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Germany’s Kreditech Raises $15m in Debt from Kreos Capital for Lending in Eurasia, Latin America

Kreditech, a German technology company that uses an online platform to assess the creditworthiness of loan applicants, recently announced that it has raised USD 15 million in debt financing from UK-based venture capital firm Kreos Capital (Kreos). Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Commercial Banks in India Seek to Expand Microlending: Housing Development Finance Corporation, IndusInd Bank, Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI)

Commercial banks in India reportedly are gaining interest in offering microfinance services to low-income individuals. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Annapurna Microfinance of India Raises $5m in Series B Financing from Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO), Incofin

The Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries, a public-private partnership established by the government of Belgium and known by the Dutch acronym BIO, has led a Series-B investment of INR 300 million (USD 5 million) with participation of undisclosed amount from Rural Impulse Fund II, a microfinance investment vehicle managed by Belgium’s Incofin Investment Management, in Indian microfinance institution (MFI) Annapurna Microfinance Private Limited. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) Invests $14.4m in Equity in Philippine Resources (PR) Savings Banking Corporation to Expand Rural Operations

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a US-based development finance institution, recently announced an equity investment of PHP 650 million (USD 14.4 million) in Philippine Resources Savings Banking Corporation (PR Savings Bank), a rural commercial bank based in Cauayan City in the Philippines. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) Applies to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for Self-Regulatory Organization Status

The Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN), a trade association composed of 47 Indian microlenders that operate as non-banking finance companies, reportedly has applied to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central banking authority, for status as a “self-regulatory organization” (SRO). Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Manappuram of India Acquires Milestone Home Finance

Manappuram Finance Limited, an India-based non-banking finance company, recently signed an agreement to acquire Milestone Home Finance Company, an organization licensed to provide housing finance in India, from Jaypee Hotels, an India-based hospitality company, Continue reading

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OPINION: No Silver Bullet: While Microfinance Alone Won’t End Poverty, It Is Making an Impact – So Let’s Re-focus It to Serve the Poor

The debate about the contributions that microfinance is making to global poverty alleviation is an interesting one. But it’s also getting a little tedious.

We are all disappointed that microfinance has not, as the popular culture has promoted it, proven to be the “silver bullet” for poverty alleviation. If, however, we challenge ourselves to really understand (and be transparent about) the strengths and limitations of microfinance, and begin to think about it as just one part of a more comprehensive package of development services, the debate (and potential for impact) becomes much more interesting. Continue reading

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