The Zimbabwe Association of Microfinance Institutions (ZAMFI), a 100-member advocacy group, recently announced its members’ aggregate portfolio-at-risk (PAR) ratio rose from 8.3 percent in December 2016 to 12 percent in March 2017, citing both “corporates and individuals fail[ing] to honour their debt obligations due to the liquidity crisis.”
The Institute for Sustainable Investing, a unit of US-based financial services firm Morgan Stanley, in collaboration with The Economist Intelligence Unit, a UK-based advisory affiliated with The Economist magazine, recently released the 2017 Inclusive Growth Opportunities Index, a report on investment opportunities intended to increase access to education, healthcare and finance as well as “gender inclusion.”
CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based, nonprofit policy and research center that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, is seeking submissions of original photographs for its annual competition, which aims to highlight the positive effects of microfinance.
Kiva, a US-based, nonprofit crowdfunding platform for microfinance institutions (MFIs), recently launched its World Refugee Fund to raise money online from individuals for on-lending to institutions serving cross-border refugees and people who have been internally displaced.
Event Name: Social Finance Forum 2017
Event Date: November 9 – November 10, 2017
Event Location: MaRS Discovery District, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Cost: CAD 350 (USD 278) until August 15; CAD 600 (USD 477) thereafter.
Summary of Event: This event will cover topics including new financial technologies, closing the funding gap for female entrepreneurs, the evolution of development aid and exit strategies for impact investments. The agenda includes workshops, presentations, product showcase booths and sessions for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to funders.
The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) is helping Syrian refugees in Jordan’s Azraq camp buy food from supermarkets inside the camp utilizing blockchain technology from Switzerland’s Ethereum Foundation.
Event Name: Mondato Summit Asia 2017 – Of Titans & Trailblazers: Emerging Asia’s Digital Finance & Commerce Moment
Event Date: November 28 – November 29, 2017
Event Location: Yangon, Myanmar
Cost: Entry passes cost USD 1,500 until August 31 and USD 1,750 thereafter.
Summary of Event: Attendees will consider ways “incumbents and innovators alike can navigate the highly complex digital finance and commerce (DFC) ecosystem” in South and Southeast Asia. The proceedings will include case studies, debates, demonstrations and roundtable discussions.
The government of the Solomon Islands recently announced it will attempt to shift to using “electronic payment channels for [80 percent of its] payments and receipts” by 2020.
The government of Cambodia recently announced it has commenced the first phase of a project intended to aid 15,000 small-scale farming families in growing their operations by “building infrastructure to help farmers, and offering special microfinance deals.”
Ghana-based AgroCenta recently won USD 20,000 in the Fincluders Startup Challenge, which was created to support new companies seeking to increase financial inclusion.
South African technology firm AxMe International Services recently expanded its SureBüddy insurance application to Uganda, allowing users in that country to view advertisements in return for no-cost insurance for their mobile phone screens.
The MasterCard Foundation, which is based in Canada, is accepting applications through June 5 for its 2017 “Clients at the Centre” Prize, which includes a cash award of USD 150,000.
Event Name: Making Finance Work for Women Summit
Event Date: October 24 – October 25, 2017
Event Location: The Kilimanjaro Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Summary of Event: The theme of this year’s biennial summit is “Digital Financial Inclusion.” Sessions will include topics such as “the state of digital financial services”, how policymakers
Event Name: 7th Annual Central Asian & Caucasus Microfinance Forum
Event Date: October 26 – 27, 2017
Event Location: Tbilisi, Georgia
Summary of Event: The theme of this year’s forum is “Microfinance Goes Digital: the Opportunities and Challenges in the Caucasus and Central Asia.” The event will focus on funding policy, social responsibility and how financial technology
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral institution, recently announced that it will disburse a loan of EUR 40 million (USD 44 million) to Banca Transilvania, a Romania-based bank, in order to improve energy efficiency in residences in the country. The funds will come from the Green Economy Financing Facility
Ant Financial Services Group, a member of China’s Alibaba Group and the parent company of Alipay, and Elang Mahkota Teknologi (Emtek), an Indonesia-based media company, recently announced plans to launch a mobile payment platform in Indonesia. The new service will run on BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)
Event Name: Seventh Annual Africa Banking and Finance Conference (ABFC)
Event Date: May 30 – May 31, 2017
Event Location: Serena Hotel, Kigali, Rwanda
Summary of Event: The theme of this year’s Annual Banking and Finance Conference is “Making Financial Inclusion a Reality in Africa: Connecting People to Banking
The Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN), a self-regulatory organization of 53 Indian microfinance and non-banking financial institutions, recently launched a financial literacy app in English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu. The app offers users their credit histories, interest rates, payment cycles