Category: Technology

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Risk Management Initiative in Microfinance (RIM) Announces Launch of Website Promoting Uniform Standards

Risk Management Initiative in Microfinance (RIM), a platform that promotes adoption of risk management standards in microfinance, has announced the launch of its official website, which aims to provide a “hub for the dissemination of risk management standards, information sharing and industry cooperation” [1]. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Digital Financial Services Risk Assessment for Microfinance Institutions, Microinsurance Awareness in Ghana, G2P for Financial Inclusion: A Job Half Done

“Digital Financial Services Risk Assessment For Microfinance Institutions – A Pocket Guide;” by Tom Shaw, Marcella Willis, Daryl Skoog, Sonia Arenaza, Sudha Garg, Susan Salerno, Eve Hamilton and Shailee Adnolfi; published by The Digital Financial Services Working Group; September 2014; 15 pages; available at https://lextonblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/dfs_risk_guide_sept_2014_final.pdf

The authors of this “pocket guide”[1] argue for the importance of “Digital Financial Services (DFS)”[1] to reach low-income individuals who do not have access to traditional banking solutions. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Airtel, Grameen Foundation, Plan International to Launch Mobile Money Platform for Savings Groups in Uganda Under Which All Group Members Must Approve Each Transaction Via SMS

The Ugandan subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, an Indian telecommunications services provider with operations in 150 countries; Grameen Foundation, a US-based nonprofit organization; and the Ugandan arm of Plan International, a UK-based child rights and anti-poverty nonprofit that operates in 48 countries, have entered into a partnership to launch a mobile money platform that is intended to serve savings groups in Uganda.  Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nigerian National Identity Management Commission, MasterCard Launch eID Cards for Biometric Identity Verification, Electronic Payments

The Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), a government initiative responsible for instituting a national identity database of Nigerian citizens and legal residents, recently announced the launch of its National eID Card pilot program in partnership with MasterCard, a US-based payment solutions company [1]. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Marion Allet: e-MFP Microfinance and Environment Action Group Offers Tools for Microfinance Institutions Looking to Go Green

MicroCapital: Would you please tell us about the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) Microfinance and Environment Action Group?

Marion Allet: The e-MFP Microfinance and Environment Action Group was officially launched in February 2013. It is an initiative of various organizations that were already involved in “green microfinance,” such as MicroEnergy International, ADA, PlaNet Finance, Enclude, PAMIGA (the Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) etc. A few years ago, there were very few actors addressing the issue of the environment within microfinance, so we thought there was a real need for sharing experiences. We also wanted to provide some practical tools to help stakeholders understand what green microfinance is and how to get involved. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen-Jameel Microfinance Donates $1m to Kiva Partnership “Change is in Your Hands,” Supporting Microlenders in Middle East, North Africa; Offers Additional $1m in Matching Funds

Kiva, a US-based nonprofit crowdfunding organization that raises money for microfinance institutions (MFIs), and Grameen-Jameel Microfinance Limited, a Cyprus-based nonprofit joint venture of the US-based Grameen Foundation and Saudi Arabia-based Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, have reportedly entered into a partnership to launch the “Change is in Your Hands” campaign, an initiative which uses the website http://www.kiva.org/middleeast to support lending initiatives that will provide financing to entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company Purchases 10% Equity Stake in Rocket Internet for $445m with Eye on Mobile Payments

The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), a Philippines-based telecommunications company, reportedly has purchased a 10-percent stake in Rocket Internet, a Germany-based web service provider and e-commerce investment firm, for EUR 333 million (USD 445 million). Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Indian Government Launches 15 “Technology Centres” to Support Micro-, Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)

The Ministry of Micro-, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the Indian government agency in charge of regulating and supporting MSMEs, reportedly has launched its “Technology Centre Systems Programme,” which involves establishing 15 technology centers and improving the three existing such centers across the country. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Janalakshmi Financial Services to Buy $90m in Products, Services From International Business Machines (IBM)

Janalakshmi Financial Services (JFS), a Bangalore-based microfinance institution (MFI) that offers lending and insurance services, and International Business Machines (IBM), a US-based information technology consulting company, have signed a six-year agreement worth INR 5.5 billion (USD 90 million) to provide JFS with IBM products and services in support of the MFI’s proposed growth in India. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Central Bank of Tajikistan Unveil Draft for Mobile Banking Regulations

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral institution, and the central bank of Tajikistan have been collaborating to launch a regulatory framework with the aim of utilizing technology and retail infrastructure to help banks and other organizations offer financial services outside of bank branches in the country.  Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Econet’s EcoCash, MasterCard to Provide Debit Cards to Mobile Money Users in Zimbabwe

EcoCash, a mobile money service offered by South Africa-based mobile communications company Econet Wireless, and MasterCard Incorporated, a US-based payments and technology company, reportedly have reached an agreement to issue approximately 3 million MasterCard debit cards to EcoCash customers in Zimbabwe over the next five years. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Launches India-based InfrasoftTech’s OMNIEnterprise Microfinance Software in Gaza, Jordan, Syria, West Bank

InfrasoftTech, a financial software firm that was founded in 1995 and is based in Mumbai, India, reportedly has announced that the microfinance department of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides education, health care, social services has adopted InfrasoftTech’s OMNIEnterprise Microfinance Solution, a banking software system across its operations in: Gaza, Jordan, Syria and the West Bank. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Accion’s Frontier Investments Invests Equity in Britain’s Eseye, Provider of Machine-to-Machine “M2M” Services That Can Facilitate Utility Service to Low-Income Households

Accion’s Frontier Investments Group, a venture-equity initiative that seeks to invest in companies serving financially excluded populations, has invested an undisclosed amount in Eseye Limited, a UK-based machine-to-machine (M2M) technology provider, during Eseye’s series-B financing round, which raised a total of USD 9 million. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) Deploys Intellect Core Banking Solution of Indian Software Firm Polaris

The Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP), a government-owned bank that offers microfinance and other services in Vietnam, recently has deployed the Intellect (R) Core Banking Solution (CBS), an enterprise platform offered by India-based Polaris Financial Technology Limited (Polaris) [1]. Continue reading

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