MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Acumen Fund, Adolf H Lundin Charitable Foundation Invest $1.5m in Farmer Information Service Esoko Networks of Ghana to Expand into East Africa

The Acumen Fund, a New York-based nonprofit venture fund, and the Adolf H Lundin Charitable Foundation, a Liechtenstein-based nonprofit organization, have invested an aggregate sum of USD 1.5 million in an unspecified combination of equity and debt in Esoko Networks Limited (Esoko) of Ghana, a technology platform that aims to strengthen the connection between farmers and markets in Africa with the use of mobile phones.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Cable and Wireless Panama (CWP) Introduces “Movilcash” Mobile Money Service

Cable and Wireless Panama (CWP), a subsidiary of London-based Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC), reportedly has unveiled “Movilcash,” a new mobile money service that will allow customers to transfer money and make purchases from their mobile devices.

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Over-indebtedness in Mexico; Achieving Customer Centricity; Managing Over-indebtedness

“Over-Indebtedness in Mexico: Its Effect on Borrowers;” published by Microfinance CEO Working Group; May 2014; 32 pages; available at http://microfinanceceoworkinggroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Over-Indebtedness-in-Mexico-Its-Effect-on-Borrowers-552014.pdf

This report cautions lending institutions in Mexico about rising levels of over-indebtedness – meaning more borrowers cannot reasonably repay their debts – which can threaten the financial system as well as the economic outlook of low-income individuals.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Foundation Anticipating $1m in Donations to Last Mile Initiative for Latin America

The Grameen Foundation, a US-based nonprofit organization, recently announced that it is anticipating donations to its Last Mile Initiative totaling USD 1 million after receiving a USD 500,000 donation from David and Susan Russell, which must be matched with an equal amount of funds from other sources.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Mambu Sells Software to Nigeria’s One Credit, Premier Kenya, Angola’s Mão Solidária Microfinança

One Credit, a consumer finance company based in Nigeria; Premier Kenya, a financial services provider based in Kenya; and Mão Solidária Microfinança, a microfinance institution based in Angola, recently became customers of Mambu, a provider of web-based software designed for microfinance institutions.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Russian Payday Lender Bistrodengi Selects Diasoft’s Flextera Banking Software

Bistrodengi, a Russian payday lender that offers payday loans of RUB 1,000 to RUB 16,000 (USD 28 to USD 453) for periods of seven to 16 days, recently selected Flextera Loans, a core banking solution from Diasoft, to support its lending and accounting operations. Diasoft’s software is used by approximately 340 financial institutions worldwide. The company is headquartered in Russia, and it also has offices in China, Cyprus, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Yes Bank’s Sampann, Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Bank Use “Doorstep” Banking in Rural India

Two private commercial banks based in the Indian city of Mumbai, Yes Bank and the Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Bank, reportedly have started using “doorstep” banking in rural India to reach more customers by offering services such as credit, savings and insurance at customers’ homes.

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Mobile Money Agents in Uganda; Sustainable Microfinance; Mobile Money for the Global Unbanked

“Agent Network Accelerator Survey: Uganda Country Report 2013;” published by Helix Institute of Digital Finance; January 2014; 26 pages; available at http://www.helix-institute.com/data-and-insights/agent-network-accelerator-survey-%E2%80%93-uganda-country-report-2013-0

This document presents the results of a study conducted by the US-based nonprofit Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and India-based for-profit consultancy MicroSave that seeks to identify the challenges, trends and successes of the mobile money market in Uganda by surveying 2,000 agents.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Facebook Seeks Regulatory Approval from Central Bank of Ireland to Provide Remittances, Mobile Money Throughout European Union

Facebook, a US-based social networking company, reportedly is waiting for approval of its application to the Central Bank of Ireland to become an “e-money” institution, which would allow it to provide remittances and mobile money services throughout Europe through a structure known as “passporting”[2].

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kenya Grants Mobile Money Licenses to Finserve Africa, Tangaza Mobile Pay, Zioncell Kenya

The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), the regulatory authority for the telecommunications sector of the country, recently granted mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licenses to Finserve Africa Limited, a subsidiary of Kenya’s Equity Bank, and two Kenyan mobile money transfer services, Tangaza Mobile Pay Limited and Zioncell Kenya Limited.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Econet of Zimbabwe to Offer Microloans for Entrepreneurs in Informal Sector

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, a mobile services provider that is a subsidiary of South Africa-based Econet Wireless Group, recently announced that it will launch a microloan program to target entrepreneurs in the informal sector in Zimbabwe.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Airtel, MTN Group Partner to Provide Mobile Money Transfers Between Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast

Airtel Burkina Faso, a subsidiary of India-based telecommunications company Bharti Airtel, and Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) Group, a telecommunications company based in South Africa, recently announced a partnership that will allow their mobile money customers to transfer funds between Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Etisalat Lanka of Sri Lanka, Dialog Axiata of UAE Partner to Extend Ezcash Mobile Payment System in Sri Lanka

Dialog Axiata (DA), a Sri Lankan mobile communications subsidiary of Malaysia’s Axiata Group Berhad, reportedly has announced that it will begin a partnership with Etisalat Lanka (EL), a cellular network owned by the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation of the United Arab Emirates, to extend Dialog’s “eZcash” mobile payments to EL’s customers in Sri Lanka.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Truelift Updates Truelift Indicators Tool for Assessing Pro-poor Focus of Microfinance Institutions

Truelift, an initiative that recognises institutions that exhibit commitment to the “pro-poor objective of microfinance,” has announced an updated version of its Truelift Indicators Tool, a set of criteria intended to assess how much microfinance institutions (MFIs) meet the needs of low-income people [1].

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Government Efforts to Achieve Financial Inclusion in India; Index-based Insurance in South, Southeast Asia; Microinsurance Claims Management

“Report of the Committee on Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low Income Households;” published by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI); December 31, 2013; 247 pages; available at http://rbidocs.rbi.org.in/rdocs/PublicationReport/Pdfs/CFS070114RFL.pdf

This report was authored by the Committee on Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low Income Households, which was appointed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in September 2013 to propose measures for increasing access to financial services in India.

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Women and Mobile Financial Services in Uganda; Quantitative Poverty Scoring Methods; European Investment Bank’s Rural Impulse Fund II Symposium in Africa

“Research on Women and Usability of Mobile Financial Services in Uganda;” published by Grameen Foundation; February 2014; 40 pages; available at http://www.grameenfoundation.org/resource/use-mobile-financial-services-among-poor-women

This presentation gives an overview of the Uganda-specific results of a series of studies undertaken by the US-based nonprofit Grameen Foundation with the goal of understanding how mobile-phone usability, or lack thereof, impacts the ability of poor women to access mobile financial services in India, the Philippines and Uganda.