Category: Technology

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Private Equity Fund, Apis Partners, Raises $157m for Financial Technology Startups in Africa, South Asia

Apis Partners, a London-based private equity firm, has raised USD 157 million in investments for the Apis Growth Fund that it launched in 2014 to target technology firms working in payments, savings, investments, credit and insurance in Africa and South Asia. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Qualcomm, Project Concern International (PCI) India, Microware Computing & Consulting Partner to Offer 3G-based Mobile Microfinance Technology for Microfinance Institution Planned Social Concern

Qualcomm, a US-based semiconductor and telecommunications company, recently announced a collaboration with Project Concern International (PCI) India, a New Delhi-based branch of the US-based non-governmental organization PCI; Planned Social Concern (PSC), a microfinance institution (MFI) based in Jaipur, India; and Microware Computing & Consulting, an Indian telecommunications and software company. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Bank Introduces Micro Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) with Fingerprint Identification to Increase Access to Banking in Rural India

The Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Bank, an Indian financial services company, reportedly has introduced micro automatic teller machines (ATMs) in rural India to improve access to banking services in underserved areas of the country. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Tanzania’s National Microfinance Bank Launches MasterCard Debit Cards

Tanzania’s National Microfinance Bank (NMB) recently launched a range of debit cards including Tanzanite, targeting the mass market; Titanium, targeting the middle class; and World Rewards, targeting affluent customers. These debit cards are branded by MasterCard, a New York-based payments and technology company. As per Ineke Bussemaker, the managing director of NMB, the debit cards were launched to cater to the “evolving needs” of the bank’s customers who were “increasingly seeking faster, more secure and smarter ways to pay.” Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Mobile Finance Implementation; Alternative Delivery Channels and Technology; “Market Insights for Innovations and Design” (MI4ID) Behavioral Research

“Expanding Access to Finance Through Mobile Payments;” published by the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) International and The MasterCard Foundation; June 2015; 12 pages; available at

This case study offers suggestions for microfinance institutions (MFIs) implementing mobile technology. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MetLife Foundation Donates $1.8m to Opportunity International to Support Financial Access through Microfinance, Education in Rural China

MetLife Foundation, an affiliate of the Chicago-based insurance company MetLife, recently announced the disbursement of USD 1.8 million in grant funding to Opportunity International, a microfinance NGO also based in the US city of Chicago, to support its outreach via bank branches and mobile vans in rural China.  Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: East Africa Microfinance Summit 2015: “Microfinance Enhancing Lives through Innovations,” August 17-19, 2015, Nairobi, Kenya

Event Name: East Africa Microfinance Summit 2015

Event Date: August 17-19, 2015

Event Location: Kenyatta International Convention Center, Nairobi, Kenya

Summary of Event: The theme of this conference is “Microfinance Enhancing Lives through Innovations,” and the event will focus on topics including: (1) the impact of mobile banking and agent-based banking for promoting financial inclusion; (2) the role of regulation in encouraging innovation; (3) the benefits of credit information sharing; (4) the role of youth and women in advancing social and economic development; (5) microfinance and socially-responsible enterprise; and (6) developments and trends observed in the East African microfinance industry over the past year.  Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Cracking the Nut Conference, “Regenerating Rural & Agricultural Development,” March 1-2, 2016, Washington, DC, USA

Event Name: Cracking the Nut Conference 2016

Event Date: March 1 – 2, 2015

Event Location: Enrique V. Iglesias Conference Center, Washington, DC, USA

Event Summary: Cracking the Nut 2016 will focus on three topics: (1) developing methods to incentivize small farmers to adopt “sustainable” farming practices and regenerating rural and agricultural landscapes by restoring deforested areas and depleted soils; (2) financing environmentally sustainable development; and (3) promoting investment in environmentally friendly agriculture.  Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Good World Solutions Uses Mobile Surveys to Promote Microfinance Client Protection

Good World Solutions (GWS), a US-based nonprofit organization that develops anonymous tools for people to report on how companies treat them, has built a mobile-based interactive voice response survey service to gather information from microfinance borrowers in India to determine whether microfinance institutions (MFIs) are following the client protection principles of the US-based Smart Campaign.  Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) Seeks Partners for Customer-Centric Financial Services Project

CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based nonprofit policy and research center devoted to worldwide growth of financial access, is searching for financial service providers with whom to partner to increase customer centricity within the providers’ systems. Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: Frédéric Ruaz on Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM, African Microfinance Week), June 29 – July 3, 2015, Dakar, Senegal

MicroCapital: What can attendees expect to see at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM)?

Frédéric Ruaz: You will find most of the sessions involve managers of several types of organizations: microfinance institutions (MFIs), public entities and private funds. In addition to fostering debate, we aim SAM to bridge practitioners with experts, South with North, and even small MFIs with large MFIs. Indeed, SAM is the largest microfinance meeting place in Africa.

MC: Is there a session that you think attendees may find particularly valuable?

FR: That is a tough question, as SAM offers such a diversity of panels. On Wednesday, July 1, the second session will focus mostly on social entrepreneurship. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: AITEC Banking & Mobile Money Lagos 2015, July 28 – 29, 2015, Lagos, Nigeria

Event Name: AITEC Banking & Mobile Money Lagos 2015

Event Date: July 28 – 29, 2015

Event Location: Eko Hotel, Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria

Event Theme: Financial Empowerment through Trusted Payment Solutions

Event Summary: Now entering its eighth year, AITEC (African Information Technology Exhibitions and Conferences) Banking & Mobile Money Lagos 2015 will address issues in Nigeria’s financial services sector, including developments in payment technologies, best practices in information technology project deployment, and trends in customer service delivery. Additionally, broader themes of risk management, governance, regulation and compliance will be covered.

Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Oradian Raises Seed Funding to Scale its Instafin Banking Software Platform Across West Africa

Oradian, a Croatian startup that provides cloud-based software for microfinance institutions in developing economies, announced recently that it has raised seed funding from various investors to scale its products across West Africa, an effort that will include expanding its team in its offices in Croatia and Nigeria. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Social Performance Task Force (SPTF), CERISE Release Updated SPI4 Assessment Tool

The Social Performance Task Force (SPTF), a US-based nonprofit charged with addressing questions about measuring and managing social performance, and the France-based network CERISE (Comité d’Echanges de Réflexion et d’Information sur les Systèmes d’Epargne-crédit) recently released version 1.2 of SPI4, their assessment tool for the social performance of microfinance institutions.  Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC), MasterCard to Establish $250m Risk-Sharing Facility to Support Consumer Loans Distributed via Debit Card

MasterCard, a US-based payments and technology company, and 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, reportedly have pledged to establish a USD 250 million risk-sharing facility, which is expected to provide an unspecified number of people in emerging markets with access to small loans via payment cards.  Continue reading