Category: Trends/Challenges

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Savings and Credit Forum; March 16, 2017; Zürich, Switzerland

Event Name: Savings and Credit Forum: What are the Social Performance Management and Reporting Practices of Financial Institutions and Microfinance Impact Investors?

Event Date: March 16, 2017

Event Location: University of Zürich, Rämistrasse 59, Zürich, Switzerland

Summary of Event: The draft agenda for this event includes topics such as standards for social performance management and the social performance reporting practices of several microfinance institutions. This half-day event Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) Social Investor Working Group Meeting; March 15-16, 2017; Zurich, Switzerland

Event Name: SPTF Social Investor Working Group Meeting

Event Date: March 15 – March 16, 2017

Event Location: University of Zurich, Rämistrasse 71, 8006 Zürich, Switzerland

Summary of Event: Participants in this meeting will discuss the challenges of social performance management (SPM) as it relates to investing in inclusive finance. Speakers also will share Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: Recommendations from the Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum

AtBanking With the Poor Network the 2016 Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum, Ms. Claire Van der Vaeren, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Cambodia, said that financial inclusion is a vital enabler that can help unlock the potential of the poor and underserved, enhance women’s economic empowerment and catalyse a range of national development objectives. Its importance is shown in references to six of the seventeen UN sustainable development goals.

Ms. Van der Vaeren also was impressed by level of private and public engagement in Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Impact Investing: Mainstreaming Purpose-Driven Finance; February 15, 2017; New York, USA

Event Name: Impact Investing: Mainstreaming Purpose-Driven Finance

Event Date: February 15, 2017

Event Location: Time Warner Center, 60 Columbus Circle, New York, New York, USA

Summary of Event: Speakers here will analyze opportunities and obstacles present in the “mainstreaming” of impact investing, which the organizers define as Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Foro Latinoamericano de Inversión de Impacto; February 14 – 16, 2017; Mérida, México

Event Name: Foro Latinoamericano de Inversión de Impacto (FLII) 2017

Event Date: February 14 – 16, 2017

Event Location: Hotel Hyatt Regency, Mérida, México

Summary of Event: This event will address trends in impact investing as well as the social and environmental impacts of the financial industry in general. Speakers will discuss Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: 12th Biennial Conference on Entrepreneurship; February 22 – 24, 2017; Ahmedabad, India

Event Name: 12th Biennial Conference on Entrepreneurship

Event Date: February 22 – 24, 2017

Event Location: Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Summary of Event: This event offers researchers, educators and practitioners opportunities to discuss their work with the goal of advancing research in entrepreneurship. In past Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Lessons on IPOs from Indian MFIs; Growth In Impact Investing; 10-Year Survey of Microfinance Investment Vehicles

“How to IPO Successfully and Responsibly: Lessons From Indian Financial Inclusion Institutions”; by Anna Kanze; published by the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) at Accion; Fall 2016; 25 pages; available at:

This report draws upon two recent initial public offerings (IPOs) in the financial inclusion industry – those of Equitas and Ujjivan, both microfinance lenders in India – to make the case that institutions can use IPOs to strengthen their capital base while remaining committed to their social missions. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: 13th Annual Global Microfinance Forum; March 16 – 17, 2017; Prague, Czech Republic

Event Name: 13th Annual Global Microfinance Forum

Event Date: March 16 – 17, 2017

Event Location: Grandior Prague Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic

Summary of Event: Participants at this event will discuss recent changes in the microfinance industry and predictions for its future. Speakers will address topics Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: Stimulating the Uptake and Impact of Remittances in Southeast Asia through Technology

AtBanking With the Poor Network the 2016 Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum, Ron Bevacqua, Managing Director of ACCESS Advisory, asked what gaps in local payment systems can be closed by digital services. Juanita Woodward, Singapore Country Director at WorldRemit, said “I think we are at a tipping point with Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: African Finance & Investment Forum: Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Growth; February 13 – 16, 2017; Nairobi, Kenya

Event Name: Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Growth

Event Date: February 13 – 16, 2017

Event Location: Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya

Summary of Event: This year’s iteration of the annual African Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) will focus on entrepreneurship and innovation over two days of conference sessions preceded by a two-day training session. The goal of Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: European Microfinance Summit; January 26 – 27, 2017; Barcelona, Spain

Event Name: European Microfinance Summit

Event Date: January 26 – 27, 2017

Event Location: Paseo García Faria 37-47, Barceló Atenea Mar Hotel, Barcelona, Spain

Summary of Event: Speakers will discuss where microfinance may be headed and the impact it has on both developed and developing countries. The schedule Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: HBS-Accion Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance; April 17 – 22, 2017; Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Event Name: Harvard Business School–Accion Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance

Event Date: April 17 – 22, 2017

Event Location: Harvard Business School, Soldiers Field, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Summary of Event: This week-long program will cover approaches financial inclusion executives can take to address “industry change, managing competition, organization growth, and creating economic and social value.” [1] Past iterations Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Banque Atlantique, Express Union, MTN, WorldRemit to Offer Digital Remittance Services in Cameroon

WorldRemit, a UK-based online money transfer service, recently announced that it will partner with Mobile Telecommunications Network Group (MTN), a South Africa-based telecommunications provider; Express Union, a Cameroon-based financial services firm; and Banque Atlantique, a Togo-based retail bank, to offer digital remittance services in Cameroon. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Digital Financial Services: Are We Realising Their Full Potential?; January 19, 2017; London, UK

Event Name: Digital Financial Services: Are We Realising Their Full Potential?

Event Date: January 19, 2017

Event Location: Citigroup Centre, 33 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, UK

Cost: There is no registration fee, but in order to attend you must purchase a membership to the Financial Inclusion Forum unless it is your first time at one of the organization’s events.

Summary of Event: This event will address concerns regarding digital financial services and how to move beyond the focus on payments to increase the availability and usage of savings, credit and insurance. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: 16 Additional Institutions Commit to World Bank’s Goal of Achieving Universal Financial Access by 2020

The US-based multilateral World Bank Group (WBG) recently announced that 16 additional financial institutions have committed to partner to work toward “universal financial access” (UFA) by 2020, bringing the size of the group to 30 organizations. The new partners, which have committed to helping a total of 168 million people open new transaction accounts by 2020, are:

(1) the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, which operates in Africa, Asia and the Middle East;
(2) Ant Financial (Ali Baba Group) of China; Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: How the Private Sector Can Boost Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa; the Role of Impact Investing in Achieving SDGs in Africa; Documenting Reforms to “Doing Business”

Entreprenante Afrique; by Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg; published in French by Odile Jacob; September 2016; 288 pages; available for purchase at:

Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg argue that the 5-percent average annual growth rate Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced since 2000 is being driven significantly by the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum: Overview of the Region

In anticipation of the recently announced Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Forum, which will be held in Hanoi, Viet Nam, on March 21 and March 22, 2017, MicroCapital is launching a series of stories from the Banking with the Poor Network‘s Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum, which was held in July 2016. The Foundation for Development Cooperation engaged MicroCapital to assist in documenting the event.

Ms. Banking With the Poor NetworkNina Nayar, Associate of the Foundation for Development Cooperation, opened the session reviewing microfinance products and market segments in the region. She described the evolution from “credit and basic savings” years ago to today’s array of credit, savings, insurance, money transfer and other services for individuals as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). These include “a whole slew of innovations” such as payment cards and automated teller machines. She argued that new products are in demand by many segments of often-excluded people: farmers, people in conflict areas, minorities, youth, urban informal workers, migrants and single mothers. At the same time, fear and lack of confidence often Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: Microfinance Investment Vehicles Setting “Green” Targets; Looking to Asian, Latin American MFIs to Deploy Environment-focused Microloans

During European Microfinance Platformone of Friday’s sessions of European Microfinance Week, Hatem Mahbouli, an investment officer with Dutch development bank Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), described his institution’s plans to direct 20 percent of its investments each year to environmental efforts. FMO, which reports the equivalent of USD 9 billion in total assets, has disbursed about USD 120 million of its financial services investments in the “green” sub-sector. To move further toward its goal, FMO is looking particularly to Continue reading