MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Invest $80m in Acquiring Data on Progress, Barriers to Success of Women, Girls

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in the United States, recently announced that it will commit USD 80 million over three years to improve the availability and reliability of data on women and girls including: (i) how much time they spend on unpaid work; (ii) information on the efficacy of programs and other interventions; and (iii) how successful political leaders are in supporting gender equality.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Smart Communications, ICMFI to Offer Mobile Banking Accounts in Iloilo, Philippines

Smart Communications Incorporated, a mobile services subsidiary of publicly-traded PLDT Incorporated (formerly the Philippines Long Distance Telephone Company), has partnered with the Philippine nonprofit International Care Ministries Foundation (ICMFI) to provide Smart Communications’ “SMART Money” mobile banking accounts to members of the Pototan community in Iloilo province.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS), MicroSave Launch Financial Education Pilot Program for Self-Help Groups (SHGs)

The Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS), a program of the local government’s Rural Development Department, and MicroSave, a financial inclusion consulting firm headquartered in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, recently launched a financial education pilot program in the Bero, Khuntipani and Manoharpur blocks of the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: SBP Increases Transaction Limits, Bolsters Alternate Channels to Boost Branchless Banking in Pakistan

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) recently announced reforms to the country’s branchless banking regulations in an effort to further the bank’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS), launched in May 2015 seeking to deliver financial services to 50 percent of the adult population in Pakistan by 2020. 

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Tigo Tanzania Distributes $2.5m in Profit to Customers, Agents of Digital Payment Platform Tigo Pesa

Tigo Tanzania, a brand of Swedish telecom provider Millicom, recently announced it paid TZS 5.6 billion (USD 2.5 million) of its profits to Tigo Pesa users.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Controversy Brews as For-Profit Fintech Provider MyBucks Buys 6 African Microfinance Organizations from Nonprofit Opportunity International

The sale of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda over the first half of 2016 by US-based NGO Opportunity International to Luxembourg-based financial technology company MyBucks has raised concerns both that these MFIs’ clients could be negatively impacted and that these transactions signal that the sector’s overall direction has shifted toward profit-making.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Financial Technology Start-up iNuka Pap of Kenya Selected For First Barclays Africa Accelerator Program

iNuka Pap Limited, a Kenyan start-up technology company that enables members of local Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) “to conveniently deposit, withdraw and access instant micro-loans as well as access other credit services”[3], is one of ten early-stage financial technology firms selected to participate in the first Barclays Africa Accelerator program.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Tanzania Launches Mobile Money Monitoring (M3) Platform, Regulates Mobile Money Transactions

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) recently launched a Mobile Money Monitoring (M3) platform, a technology-enabled tool that monitors mobile money services in Tanzania.

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Flexible Microloan Repayment Schedules in Bangladesh; Merchant Acceptance of Digital Payments in Developing Countries; Global Standard-setting Bodies and Financial Inclusion

“Cost-Benefit Analysis of Traditional Versus Flexible Microfinance in Bangladesh;” by S. Bairagi, W. Bin Shadat; published by the Copenhagen Consensus Center; May 2016;  32 pages; available at: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/bin_shadat_microfinance.pdf

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Foundation, Ideas42 Seek to Influence Mobile Money Behavior in the Philippines

Two US-based nonprofits, the microfinance-oriented Grameen Foundation and the behavioral design firm ideas42 recently launched a partnership to support financial inclusion in the Philippines by implementing a combination of behavioral science principles and digital financial services provided through mobile phones.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Alibaba’s Ant Financial Raises $4.5b from Investors Including China Life, China Post Group, China Development Bank Capital, Primavera Capital Group to Expand Services in Rural Areas

Ant Financial Services Group, an online lender affiliated with Alibaba Group Holdings Limited, a Chinese e-commerce company, recently completed a Series B equity raise of USD 4.5 billion.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Equity Bank, Ingenico, Tracom Enable Cashless Transfer Doorstep Money System for Government Payments in Kenya

Ingenico Group, a French electronic payment company, recently partnered with Kenya-based microfinance software company Tracom and Kenya-based Equity Bank, to create a system to facilitate the use of cashless money to pay “parking, land rates, business permits and market stall fees.” With this new system, “County agents, equipped with Ingenico wireless smart terminals with a specific Revenue Collection application, can now simply collect payments when arriving at the business premises.”

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: ADA, formerly known as Appui au Développement Autonome, Belgian Raiffeisen Foundation, CERISE Launch Interface Integrating SPI-4, MFI Factsheet on Microfact Website

ADA, formerly known as Appui au Développement Autonome; Belgian Raiffeisen Foundation; and Comité d’Echange, de Réflexion et sur les Systèmes d’Epargne-Crédit (CERISE) recently partnered to integrate the Social Performance Indicators 4 (SPI-4) and MFI Factsheet programs, which can be accessed through Microfact, an online platform that offers tools and workshops intended to improve the performance of microfinance institutions (MFIs).