Category: South Asia, East Asia and Pacific

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Mobile Services Firm Digicel Invests $5m in Bima to Promote Microinsurance in Asia-Pacific, Caribbean, Central America

Digicel, a Bermuda-based cellular network provider that operates in 30 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific, recently invested USD 5 million in Bima, a Sweden-based mobile microinsurance provider that operates in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific, to expand microinsurance product offerings in the Caribbean and the Asia-Pacific region. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: WestBridge Capital Invests $16m to Acquire 20% Equity Stake in India’s Aptus Value Housing Finance

WestBridge Capital, an investment company with offices in India, Mauritius and the United States, recently invested a total of INR 98 crore (USD 16 million) to acquire 20 percent of the shares of Aptus Value Housing Finance, an India-based company that seeks to provide affordable housing finance, primarily for middle-income, self-employed customers [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Enables “Small Finance Banks” in Effort to Promote Financial Inclusion

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central banking authority, recently issued guidelines for the licensing of “small finance banks,” which are intended to provide credit and savings services to small businesses, small-scale farmers and other entities in the “unorganized sector.” Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CDC, Creation Investments, DEG, International Finance Corporation (IFC), FMO Acquire 40% Equity Stake in India’s Equitas for $51.4m

The Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), which is owned by the UK government; Creation Investments Capital Management (Creation Investments), a US-based alternative investment management company; Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft GmbH (DEG), a German development finance institution offering long-term project and company financing; the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-investment arm of the World Bank Group; and Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), a Dutch development bank, recently announced that they will invest a total of INR 325 cores (USD 51.4 million) to acquire 40 percent of the shares of Equitas Holdings, an Indian microfinance lender. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: Peru, Colombia, the Philippines Top 2014 Global Microscope on Microfinance Business Environment

According to the Global Microscope on the Microfinance Business Environment 2014, a recent report by the UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Peru is the top country in enabling microfinance for the seventh consecutive year. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: UK Department for International Development (DFID), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Create Digital Financial Services Unit in Pakistan

The Department for International Development (DFID), a development agency of the British government, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a US-based nonprofit that supports innovations in health and education, recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the International Branchless Banking Conference 2014 in Pakistan. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Investment Bank (EIB), Government of Luxembourg Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Provide $4.5m in Grants to Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in African, Caribbean, Pacific Countries

The Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term lending bank of the European Union (EU), and the Government of Luxembourg recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to provide grants totaling EUR 3.6 million (USD 4.5 million) to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX) Launches Impact Accelerator in Philippines to Provide Financial, Operational Support to Early-Stage Social Enterprises

Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX), a Singapore-based for-profit company that provides capital to social enterprises (SEs), recently launched an Impact Accelerator program in the Philippines that will provide four early-stage SEs with seed capital and tailored mentorship and advisory services in an effort to decrease the time needed for the businesses to grow. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) to Loan $30m to Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) of Philippines to Fund Small, Medium-sized Enterprises; Women-led Businesses

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the US-based World Bank Group that offers financial services to businesses and governments in developing countries with the aim of increasing economic growth, recently announced that it has approved a “medium-term loan”[1] of up to USD 30 million to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), a commercial bank in the Philippines. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Expected to Loan $5m in Local Currency to Imon International of Tajikistan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral institution that finances development projects in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and North Africa, is expected to issue a four-year, senior loan worth the local-currency equivalent of USD 5 million to Imon International, a microfinance institution (MFI) based in Tajikistan, to increase its lending to small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Lok Capital of Mauritius Seeking $100m for Third Fund, First Round Scheduled to Close by April 2015

Lok Capital, a Mauritius-based venture capital fund that focuses on microfinance and other social businesses in India, reportedly is seeking to raise USD 100 million for a new fund that will focus on financial inclusion as its key priority, with agriculture and energy as secondary areas of interest [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: US Agency for International Development (USAID) to Provide $71m to Government of India for Banking, Clean Energy, Water and Sanitation

The US Agency for International Development (USAID), a government agency that provides international economic and humanitarian assistance, recently committed up to USD 71 million to the Government of India to support the country’s banking, clean energy and water and sanitation sectors. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Investment Bank (EIB) to Loan $31m to AccessBank Azerbaijan for On-lending to Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

The Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term lending bank of the European Union (EU), recently announced that it is extending an intermediated senior loan totaling EUR 25 million (USD 31 million) to AccessBank Azerbaijan, a microfinance bank (MFB) in Azerbaijan, for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank of Thailand (BOT) to Aid Non-Bank Lenders in Providing “Nano-Loans” of $3040 to $3650

The Bank of Thailand (BOT), the country’s central bank, recently announced that it will introduce a “nano-financing” financial education scheme to enhance the ability of non-bank lenders to provide “nano-loans” that range from THB 100,000 (USD 3040) to THB 120,000 (USD 3650) and carry an annual interest rate of 30 to 36 percent. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Distinguishing Multiple Lending from Over-indebtedness at European Microfinance Week

“Multiple borrowing was endemic,” in Bangladesh as of 2008, says Shameran Abed, the director of microfinance at Bangladesh-based Brac International, “but we didn’t know if this was bad, although we knew it was a risk.” Mr Abed was speaking this morning at the opening plenary of the last day of European Microfinance Week, which is organized by the Luxembourgish NGO European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP). In the past, he explained, the members of borrowing groups were good at letting Brac staff know who was a good credit risk. As the market was getting saturated, “Groups became less cohesive, so we couldn’t totally rely on them to tell us if individuals were becoming overindebted.” Continue reading

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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

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Symbiotics Issues Bonds Totaling $9.3m to Prasac of Cambodia, AccessBank Azerbaijan 

Symbiotics Group, a Swiss for-profit provider of investment and business services, recently issued bonds totaling USD 9.3 million to Prasac, a Cambodian microfinance institution (MFI), and AccessBank Azerbaijan, a microfinance bank (MFB) in Azerbaijan. Continue reading

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