Category: Technology

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Accion Venture Lab Invests in Kenyan Mobile Money System Kopo Kopo, MeraDoctor of India

US-based nonprofit Accion has announced that its Accion Venture Lab, a USD 10 million investment vehicle that provides seed capital and management support to financial inclusion startups, has invested unspecified amounts of money in two companies: Kopo Kopo, a Kenya-based service that allows small businesses to accept customer payments through mobile phone; and MeraDoctor, which provides low-cost health insurance in India as well as 24-hour access to doctors by telephone that is intended to lessen health impacts by reducing delays in seeking care [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Commission’s “JASMINE Helpdesk” Answers Questions on Microfinance in Europe

The JASMINE (Joint Action to Support Microfinance Institutions in Europe) Helpdesk, which has been operational since 2011, is an online information service that provides answers to microfinance-related queries posed by representatives of microfinance institutions (MFIs), microentrepreneurs, and others interested in microfinance in Europe [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kenya Commercial Bank, Safaricom’s M-Pesa Launch Mobile App KCB M-Benki to Increase Financial Inclusion

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), a publicly-traded financial services company in Kenya, has partnered with Safaricom, a Kenyan mobile service provider that operates the mobile money service M-Pesa, to launch a mobile banking application called KCB M-Benki in Kenya and five other East African countries serviced by KCB [1]. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Women Microfinance Clients Often Save More, Are More Loyal to Lenders

At today’s session on gender at European Microfinance Week in Luxembourg, panelists eschewed the idea that lenders have a moral obligation to serve a greater proportion of women. Instead, Anne-Marie Chidzero of South Africa and Anna Gincherman of the US-based Women’s World Banking (WWB) network both argued strenuously that lenders are leaving money on the table by failing to reach out to women. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Michael Chu: “Disrupt this Old Model to Unlock the Potential of Microfinance”

At today’s opening plenary of European Microfinance Week, which is hosted by Luxembourg’s 140-member European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), Michael Chu of the US-based Harvard Business School and the Mexico-based venture capital fund Ignia, argued that microfinance is generally implemented using a 20-year-old model that is inefficient and “ripe for disruption” through technology. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MicroEnsure, Telenor Pakistan, Jubilee Life Insurance Company to Offer Free Life Insurance to Prepaid Mobile Customers in Pakistan

The Pakistani arm of MicroEnsure, a UK-based microinsurance intermediary, has announced the launch of “Talkshawk Mohafiz Zindagi Beema,” a free mobile life insurance service, in collaboration with Telenor Pakistan, a unit of Norway’s Telenor Group. The insurance will be provided by Jubilee Life Insurance Company Limited, a Pakistani insurance provider [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Micro Pension Foundation, Invest India Micro Pension Services, Visa Partner to Promote Savings by Low-Income Households in India

Micro Pension Foundation, an Indian nonprofit that helps low-income households gain access to microsavings products, and Visa Incorporated, a US-based payments technology company, reportedly are partnering to establish the “Micro Pension Financial Inclusion Lab” [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Airtel, Tanzania Postal Bank (TPB) Partner to Offer Mobile Banking Services

Airtel Tanzania, a subsidiary of Indian telecommunications company Bharti Airtel, and Tanzania Postal Bank (TPB), a Tanzania-based bank that provides financial services to people in rural areas who do not have access to traditional banks, reportedly are partnering to offer free mobile financial services to their customers. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Aavishkaar Goodwell Invests $6m in Electronic Payment Services (EPS); 4,500 ATMs Planned for Rural India

Aavishkaar Goodwell, an Indian-Dutch joint venture that invests in development projects, reportedly has invested an additional INR 360 million (USD 6 million) in Electronic Payment Services (EPS), an India-based company that provides electronic payment systems to merchants in Asia. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Microfinance and Mobile Banking, Financing Incremental Housing Improvements, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) 2012 Microfinance Snapshot

“Microfinance and Mobile Banking: Blurring the Lines?”; by Michel Hanouch and Sarah Rotman; published by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor); 2013; 20 pages; available at http://www.cgap.org/sites/default/files/Focus-Note-Microfinance-and-Mobile-Banking-August-2013.pdf

This report presents the results from a study conducted by US-based NGO CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) that explored the impact of mobile banking services on the microfinance market. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: PlaNet Finance Partners with Thaneakea Phum Cambodia (TPC), China Foundation of Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) to Implement Microfinance Risk Management System

PlaNet Finance, a France-based nongovernmental organization, recently partnered with Thaneakea Phum Cambodia (TPC), a Cambodia-based microfinance institution (MFI), and the China Foundation of Poverty Alleviation (CFPA), a China-based microfinance lender, to integrate PlaNet Finance’s new risk management system into the two Asian MFIs’ operations. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Cambodian Microbank Sathapana, ElectraCard Partner to Provide ATM, Debit Card Services

Sathapana Limited, a Cambodia-based microfinance institution (MFI), reportedly has partnered with ElectraCard Services (ECS), a subsidiary of India-based Opus Software Solutions that provides electronic payment services, to provide automated teller machine (ATM) and debit card services to Sathapana customers. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (NOI) Poll Reveals Mobile Money Not Widely Adopted in Nigeria

A recent survey in Nigeria on the adoption of mobile money services, conducted by the Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (NOI) Polls, an opinion polling and research organization based in Nigeria, concluded that sixty percent of Nigerians do not know what mobile money is or that it is offered in their country. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Rizal Microbank of the Philippines Sets Up Eight Mobile Microbusiness Offices (MBOs)

Rizal Microbank, a Philippines-based microfinance subsidiary of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) that offers microloans, deposits, and microinsurance, reportedly is spending PHP 16,000,000 (USD 367,000) to set up eight mobile microbusiness offices (MBOs) to increase microfinance services in the Philippines [1]. The MBOs, which will be made up of two container vans and run by two bank employees, will allow customers to deposit and withdraw cash and apply for loans without needing to travel to a bank branch [1]. The transactions will be cashless and done through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) or RCBC’s “My Wallet” debit card [2].

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