Category: Technology

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Chinese Internet Companies Alibaba, Baidu Offer Financial Services Through Subsidiaries Yu’e Bao, Baifa

Internet companies in China reportedly are increasing financial inclusion through services such as Yu’e Bao, an online savings and investment product of e-commerce player Alibaba Group, and Baifa, an online “wealth management” product launched by search engine Baidu [1]. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Effectiveness of Microfinance in Cambodia; Scaling Up in Agriculture and Development; Mobile Savings in Ecuador

“AMK Cambodia – Have AMK loans helped its clients improve their overall wellbeing?”, published by Angkor Mikroheranhvatho Kampuchea (AMK); January 2014; 12 pages; available at

This report explores the results of a five-year study of the effectiveness of Angkor Mikroheranhvatho Kampuchea (AMK), a Cambodian microfinance institution, in helping increase its clients’ livelihoods through microcredit services. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Central Bank of Zimbabwe Imposes 5% Tax on Mobile Money Services

The Central Bank of Zimbabwe reportedly has imposed a five-percent tax on the fees charged to effect mobile money transactions such as cash transfers, cellular phone payments and utility bill payments following lobbying effort by the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, a nonprofit organization of member banks. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Burgundy School of Business, ISCAE, Attawfiq Micro-Finance to Host “5th International Conference on Institutional and Technological Environment for Microfinance (ITEM5),” March 18 – 20, 2014, Casablanca, Morocco

Event Name: 5th International Conference on the Institutional and Technological Environment for Microfinance (ITEM5)

Event Date: March 18 – 20, 2014

Event Location: Institut Supérieur de Commerce et d’Administration des Entreprises (ISCAE), Casablanca, Morocco Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Global Financial Development Report 2014,” Published by the World Bank

“Global Financial Development Report 2014,” published by The World Bank, January 2014, 225 pages, available at,,menuPK:8816192~pagePK:64168176~piPK:64168140~theSitePK:8816097,00.html

This report draws on research and analysis of the global financial services market to address the needs of low-income people that do not have access to financial services and recommends policies that the authors believe would increase financial inclusion. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kotak Mahindra Bank Launches Financial Inclusion Programme for Amul Milk-Cooperative Members in West Bengal, India

Kotak Mahindra Bank, a private bank in India, has launched a financial inclusion programme in the Indian state of West Bengal that is aimed at members of 75 cooperatives that supply milk to Amul, the brand owned by the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), a federation of 17 district-level cooperative unions with a combined membership of 3.18 million milk producers [1] [2]. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: From Access to Inclusion: Educating Clients; Economics of Digital Payment Systems; Financial Inclusion and Post Offices

From Access to Inclusion: Educating Clients,” published by Women’s World Banking; 2013; 32 pages, available at

This report addresses the use of mass media campaigns and one-to-one outreach by financial institutions to provide financial education to low-income women in order to promote increased usage of financial products. Research by Women’s World Banking (WWB) indicates that people with the most need for microfinance products, such as small business loans, savings accounts and microinsurance, often fail to use the services not because of lack of access, but rather due to inexperience with the formal financial sector. Continue reading


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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