Category: Technology

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fern Software Implements Abacus MIS System for Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Jordan, Tunisia; Premiering Arabic, French Editions of Software

UK-based Fern Software recently informed MicroCapital that it has implemented its Abacus financial management information system (MIS) in two additional languages: in Arabic for a microfinance institution (MFI) in Jordan and in French for an MFI in Tunisia. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Amret Microfinance, Econet Wireless, myAgro, Urwego Opportunity Bank to Engage Human-Centered Design Firms to Improve Digital Financial Services for Smallholder Farmers in Cambodia, Africa

CGAP (The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based nonprofit that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, recently selected the following financial service providers to receive an unspecified level of support from human-centered design firms to improve their digital financial services for small-scale farmers: (1) Amret Microfinance, a Cambodian microfinance institution; (2) the Zimbabwean arm of South African mobile network operator Econet Wireless and US-based relief and development nonprofit Mercy Corps; (3) myAgro, a nonprofit organization in Mali that sells agricultural inputs via a mobile technology; and (4) Urwego Opportunity Bank (UOB), a microfinance institution that was created as a result of a merger between Urwego Community Banking and Opportunity International Bank of Rwanda [1]. While the Econet-Mercy partnership will engage human-centered design firm, the other three programs have not yet released the names of the organizations with which they will work.  Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Responsible Digital Finance; March 16, 2015; Frankfurt, Germany

Event Name: Responsible Digital Finance: Global and Local Perspectives on Emerging Opportunities and Risks

Event Date: March 16, 2015

Event Location: Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Frankfurt, Germany

Cost: There is no fee to attend the event, although participants must register in advance.

Summary of Event: Attendees will discuss the opportunities and challenges of implementing digital finance services in developing countries, such as the need for transparent and safe digital products tailor-made for low-income segments of the population living in remote areas. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Winter Meeting; February 10, 2015; New York City, USA

Event Name: Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Winter Meeting

Event Date: February 10, 2015

Event Location: Grand Hyatt New York at Grand Central Terminal, New York, New York, USA

Cost: There is no fee to attend the event, although participants may attend by invitation only.

Summary of Event: The attendees will discuss current world development challenges, such as how to sustainably connect small-farmers with markets, the implementation of long-term investment strategies to build resilient health services, how to decrease skills gaps in the marketplace and methods for protecting and managing water resources. Members will be encouraged to create collective action plans around specific development challenges.  Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Crowdfunding to Expand Grameen China’s Microfinance Services Incorporated, a direct sales e-commerce company in China with annual sales totalling RMB 29 billion (USD 11 billion) [1], recently entered into a collaboration with Grameen China, which operates under Grameen Trust, the nonprofit arm of Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank. [2] Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Développement international Desjardins (DiD) Establishes Local Group Automating Microfinance Institution Operations in Senegal

Développement international Desjardins (DiD), a Canada-based nonprofit organization that focuses on providing technical support and investment to community financial institutions, recently announced the successful completion of a five-year long project to expand the computerization of the operations of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Senegal. Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: Rural Action Group Discusses Product Ecosystems, Marital Strife at European Microfinance Week

The Rural Outreach & Innovation Action Group of the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) met today as part of a full day of Action Group meetings at European Microfinance Week, which is being hosted in Luxembourg by e-MFP, a 130-member NGO. Michael Tarazi, a senior financial sector specialist at CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) argued against pushing lending products on new rural clients, instead proposing a multi-stage approach. For example, farmers can be offered mobile phones for free, with the promise of receiving information such as crop management suggestions via SMS (text message). Then crop buyers can purchase access to the farmers’ phones, such as to request the preparation of a wholesale load of crops from a group of the farmers at a given price. This can increase the income of the farmers, putting them in a better position to repay future loans for improvements to their processes. As Mr Tarazi put it, “Finance comes at the end; first you develop the digital ecosystem with other valued services such as information.” Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: to Expand Peer-to-Peer Lending to Small Businesses in China Via Joint Venture With Bank of Suzhou

The Bank of Suzhou Limited, a Chinese commercial bank, has announced that it will collaborate with, a Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform, to build a website to intermediate loans from members of the public to micro- and small enterprises. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: The MasterCard Foundation Commits $25m to Expand UN Capital Development Fund’s Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) Program

The MasterCard Foundation, a Canadian nonprofit that aims to promote youth learning and financial inclusion in Africa and other emerging markets, has partnered with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), a UN initiative to increase access to microfinance and other forms of investment capital for small businesses and individuals in developing countries, to expand the UNCDF Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) program. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Technology Recognized as Tool to Improve Property Rights, Payment Platforms, Reduce Transaction Costs at International Monetary Fund (IMF) Seminar: “Future of Finance – Technology and Financial Inclusion”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), a US-based arm of the United Nations, and the US-based World Bank Group, recently held a seminar on technology and financial inclusion as part of its seminar series entitled “The Future of Finance,” panelists discussed the role of technology as a tool to amend market failures in the provision of financial services for low-income people such as via the documentation of property rights and reductions in transaction costs. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: The Broadband Effect: Enhancing Market-based Solutions for the Base of the Pyramid, Strengthening Regulated SACCO Societies in Kenya, Microfinance Barometer

“The Broadband Effect: Enhancing Market-based Solutions for the Base of the Pyramid;” by Olivier Kayser, Lucie Klarsfeld and Simon Brossard; published by the Inter-American Development Bank; September 2014; available at,7101.html?id=75634

This report examines how private companies are using broadband, a high-capacity internet connection, to improve the efficiency and reach of their operations that are geared towards the “base of the pyramid (BOP) markets” [1]. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: SatADSL to Provide Microfinance Institutions, Money Transfer Firms with Satellite Technology to Expand Branch Networks in East Africa

SatADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line), a Belgian telecommunications company that provides internet services in Sub-Saharan Africa, recently announced that it plans to provide microfinance institutions and money transfer firms with automated teller machines (ATMs) and money transfer capabilities using “ very small aperture terminal” (VSAT) equipment. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Togo-based EcoBank to Accept MasterCard Debit, Credit, Prepaid Cards via 2,500 ATMs, 10,000 Points of Sale in 28 African Countries

MasterCard, a US-based payment solutions company, recently partnered with EcoBank Transnational Incorporated (EcoBank), a Togo-based bank, to enable Ecobank’s customers to use MasterCard debit, credit and prepaid cards at all of Ecobank’s point-of-sale (PoS) terminals and automated teller machines (ATMs). Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kenyan Regulators Approve Equity Bank Mobile Money Services Despite Security Objections from Safaricom

The Communications Authority (CA) of Kenya, the government body that regulates the communication industry in the country, and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the country’s central banking authority, have given their approval to Equity Bank, a private Kenyan microfinance bank, to roll out a one-year pilot of its mobile money services using “Thin Sim technology” [1]. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: China’s Alibaba Launches Microfinance Arm, Ant Financial, to Consolidate Financial Services Units Including Alipay Mobile Payments, Yu’e Bao Money Market Fund

Alibaba Group Holding Limited, a Chinese internet and e-commerce company, recently launched Ant Financial Services Group, a microfinance arm to consolidate all six of Alibaba’s affiliated entities Alipay, an online payment tool; Alipay Wallet, a mobile payment application; Yu’e Bao, a USD 93 billion money market fund; Zhao Cai Bao, a platform that allows individuals and small businesses directly borrow from investors; Ant Micro, a microfinance provider and MY Bank, an affiliated private bank. Continue reading