Category: Technology

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Equity Bank, Google Announce BebaPay Card for Paying Bus Fares in Kenya

In partnership with Google, a US-based provider of technology products and services, Equity Bank, a private bank based in Kenya, has announced that the bank will be offering a new cashless payment card system called BebaPay, which is expected to enable users to pay bus fares without the use of cash. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Commission, European Investment Bank Launch Small, Medium-Sized Enterprise Financing Website

The European Commission (EC), the legislative body of the European Union (EU), recently introduced an online portal featuring small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) stock prices and providing SMEs with information on the following EC programs: the Competitiveness and Innovation Program (CIP), which offers business support services; European Progress Microfinance Facility, which supports microcredit providers; Risk Sharing Instrument Facility (RSI), which supports debt financing to SMEs for research, development and innovation projects; and the Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises (JEREMIE), which allows EU member states to use EU structural funds to finance SMEs via equity, loans or guarantees [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Agricultural Mobile Applications in Kenya Increase Market Information for Farmers

Kenyan farmers are using mobile agriculture applications to improve market information such as M-Farm, iCow, Kilimo Salama, M-Pesa and M-Shwari. These agri-technological innovations aim to offer either increased transparency or the extension of financial services to farmers. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Savings Groups in Rural Mali, Three Market Archetypes Advancing Financial Inclusion, Long-term Trends in India’s Rural Credit Market

“Final Impact Evaluation of the Savings for Change Program in Mali;” by Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at The University of Arizona and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA); published by Oxfam America and Freedom from Hunger; April 2013; 215 pages; available at http://www.oxfamamerica.org/issues/community-finance/files/final-impact-evaluation-saving-for-change

This report presents the results from a study conducted by The University of Arizona and Innovations for Poverty (IPA) between 2009 and 2012 intended to explore the impact of savings groups in 500 villages in rural Mali, where 82 percent of surveyed households live on approximately USD 1.25 per day and the “typical village is more than 14 miles from a paved road.” Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MFTransparency Reveals Truth in Lending Tables Data Platform and Pricing Transparency Index

MicroFinance Transparency (MFTransparency), a US-based nongovernmental organization that provides information on microcredit products and their prices, recently revealed the Truth in Lending Tables (TILT) Data Platform that displays the interest rates and fees charged to 40 million microfinance clients of 429 institutions across 20 countries. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank Indonesia Releases “Guiding Principles” for Branchless Banking Trial; Indosat, Telkomsel, PT XL Axiata to Offer Money Transfers for $0.21

Bank Indonesia, the country’s central bank, recently issued “guiding principles” for upcoming tests of a banking and payment system through existing Financial Services Intermediary Units (FSIU), registered third-party services which facilitate the provision of non-conventional banking services. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Land Bank of Philippines Announces Bayadload E-Payment Service for Mandatory Government Contributions

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), a government bank specializing in serving farmers and fishermen, has announced that it will partner with Smart Hub, a subsidiary of Filipino telecom Smart Communications, to offer a new e-payment channel called “BayadLoad” to allow household workers or their employers to make mandatory government contributions using their mobile phones. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Accion Venture Lab Invests in 5 Startups Aiming to Bring Financial Services to Poor People, Including Salud Facil of Mexico, Varthana of India

Accion, a US-based provider of microenterprise loans and business training in 31 countries, has announced that its Accion Venture Lab, which provides seed capital and management support to financial inclusion startups, will invest an aggregate of USD 10 million in startup companies that deliver financial services to poor people around the globe. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) to Offer Validated Social Data from Microfinance Institutions

The Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX), a US-based nonprofit, recently announced plans to release a feature on its MIX Market website in 2013 that will allow users to search for “validated social data” from microfinance institutions (MFIs) and filter out those not reporting such data. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Inter-American Development Bank Promotes Psychometric Testing for Screening Loan Applicants

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a multilateral institution financing development efforts in Latin America, recently released an article arguing that psychometric testing can be used by financial institutions to reduce defaults on loans by 20 to 40 percent, increase profits by 15 to 30 percent and reduce operational costs associated with traditional credit evaluation and due diligence by approximately 60 percent. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Union Commit $25m to Kyrgyz Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (KyrSEFF)

The UK-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) recently launched the Kyrgyz Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (KyrSEFF), a USD 20 million credit line supporting energy efficiency projects for households and private enterprises in the Kyrgyz Republic. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PUBLICATON ROUND-UP: Rural Finance in Laos, Micro-Health Insurance in Rural India, Distribution Models in Mobile Financial Services

“Rural Finance in Loas: GIZ Experience in Remote Rural Areas;” by Klaus Prochaska, Dennis Fischer, Philipp Hauger, Tony Deary; published by Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); December 2012; 40 pages; available at: http://www.microfinancegateway.org/gm/document-1.9.61072/Rural_Finance_in%20Laos_Paper_GIZ_2012.pdf

This report presents an analysis of the “Microfinance in Rural Areas – Access to Finance for the Poor” project, which is operated by Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), an agency of the German Government, in partnership with the Bank of Lao, the central bank of Laos. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: U’yo’olché, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (FMCN) Look to Carbon Credits to Finance Improved Cook Stoves to Reduce Emissions, Improve Living Standards, Promote Women’s Rights in Rural Mexico

U’yo’olché, a Mexican environmental non-governmental organization (NGO), and Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, A.C. (FMCN), a nonprofit funder of environmental efforts, are leading an initiative to provide improved cook stoves to families in rural areas of southern Mexico with the aim of reducing wood consumption, eliminating hazardous household smoke, decreasing the risk of accidents, minimizing household expenses and promoting women’s empowerment. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Launches $100m Credit Line for Russian Residential Energy Efficiency Improvements, Center-Invest Bank Borrows $24m

The UK-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) recently launched an energy efficiency credit line valued at USD 100 million to be on-lent via local private banks to benefit individual Russian households, housing associations, management companies, maintenance service providers, condominiums and energy service companies (ESCOs). Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Cambodian Microfinance Institution Hattha Kaksekar Launches SmartVista E-Payment Service from BPC

Hattha Kaksekar Limited, a Cambodian microfinance institution (MFI), recently announced its launch of SmartVista, an electronic payments solution created by Banking Production Centre (BPC) Banking Technologies, a mobile technology solutions provider with offices in Asia, Europe, Latin America and Russia. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Multilateral Investment Fund to Invest $5.8 million in Equity in Nxtp Labs of Argentina to Support Technology Start-Ups in Latin America

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the US-based IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) Group, recently approved a USD 5 million equity investment and USD 750,000 in technical assistance for Nxtp Labs, an Argentina-based company that provides seed funding for entrepreneurs in Latin America seeking to establish technology-based businesses in exchange for an equity stake worth between two and ten percent. Continue reading

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