Category: Trends/Challenges

MICROFINANCE EVENT: 9th Annual Penn Microfinance Conference, “Adapt and React,” March 28, 2015, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Event Name: 9th Annual Penn Microfinance Conference

Event Date: March 28, 2015

Event Location: Jon M. Huntsman Hall, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Summary of Event: This conference will focus on how the microfinance industry has adapted its product offerings and lending methods in the wake of increased government regulation and concern about over-indebtedness. The event will feature a keynote address by Dennis Ripley, the chief business development officer for Opportunity International, a US-based nonprofit providing microfinance services in 22 countries.

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Bank to Host Global Forum on Remittances, June 16-19, 2015, Milan, Italy

Event Name: Global Forum on Remittances 2015

Event Date: June 16-19, 2015

Event Location: Centro Congressi Stella Polare Conference Centre, Milan, Italy

Summary of Event: This event is intended to promote awareness of remittances sent by migrants to their home countries. Session topics will include trends in remittences sent from Europe, best practices in regulation, opportunities for financial inclusion, competition and transaction costs, new technologies, opportunities for public-private partnerships and strategies for developing public-private partnerships to further financial inclusion.

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: Triple Bottom Line Investing Presents “TBLI Conference Nordic 2015;” June 15-16, 2015; Copenhagen, Denmark

Event Name: TBLI Conference Nordic 2015

Event Date: June 15-16, 2015

Event Location: Ovnhallen Porcelænshaven 20, Copenhagen Business School; Copenhagen, Denmark

Summary of Event: This conference will include panels on topics such as low-carbon investment strategies, how asset owners can address climate change, investing in sustainable agriculture and food production, and social impact strategies for banks.

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) to Host “SOCAP15,” October 6-9, 2015, San Francisco, California, USA

Event Name: Social Capital Markets “SOCAP15″

Event Date: October 6-9, 2015

Event Location: Fort Mason Center; San Francisco, California, USA

Cost: Regular admission to the event costs USD 1,395 plus a USD 9.95 processing fee. Registrations completed prior to March 26, 2015, are eligible for a discount of USD 600.

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: Triple Bottom Line Investing Presents “TBLI Conference Asia 2015;” April 29-30, 2015; Singapore

Event Name: TBLI Conference Asia 2015

Event Date: April 29-30, 2015

Event Location: INSEAD Asia Campus, Singapore

Cost: The standard cost to attend is SGD 795 (USD 716), with discounts offered to investors, NGO representatives and students, as well as to all attendees who register by April 3, 2015.

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) to Loan $60m for Affordable Housing in Tanzania

The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank Group has approved USD 60 million in new financing to be disbursed by the International Development Association (IDA), a lending arm of the World Bank, to support its ongoing Housing Finance Project (HFP) in Tanzania, which seeks to support affordable housing in the urbanizing country by providing “medium- and long-term liquidity to lenders.” Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Caribbean MicroFinance Alliance (CMFA) to Host “Sixth Caribbean Microfinance Forum (CMF VI): Solutions for Inclusive Growth;” July 6-9, 2015; Miami, Florida, USA

Event Name: The Sixth Caribbean Microfinance Forum: Solutions for Inclusive Growth

Event Date: July 6-9, 2015

Event Location: Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Miami Airport & Convention Centre; Miami, Florida, United States of America

Cost: The fee to attend the forum is USD 600. A reduced rate of USD 475 is available for attendees who register by April 1, 2015, and a discounted rate of USD 200 is available for one-day registration.

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: Mobile Money and Digital Payments Americas; March 24-25, 2015; Mexico City, Mexico

Event Name: Mobile Money & Digital Payments Americas

This event will be held at the same time and venue as the Prepaid Americas and Transport Ticketing Americas events.

Event Date: March 24-25, 2015

Event Location: Marquis Reforma Hotel; Mexico City, Mexico

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EBRD Loans $9m – Part in Local Currency – to FINCA, AccessBank for MSMEs in Tajikistan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral financial institution that operates in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and North Africa, has expanded its support for on-lending for micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Tajikistan with multi-currency loans to FINCA Tajikistan (FINCA TJK) and AccessBank Tajikistan (AccessBank) in amounts equivalent to USD 4 million and USD 5 million, respectively. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Assessment of Deutsche Bank’s VG Microfinance Fund, SMEs in Latin America and the Caribbean, Bridging the Entrepreneurship Gender Gap

“VG Microfinance – Invest Nr. 1 GmbH Fund Assessment Study;” by Rocio Cavazos and Melanie Meslay; 2015; 33 pages; available at

This study presents a quantitative and qualitative analysis of VG Microfinance-Invest Nr. 1 GmbH, a fund launched by Germany’s Deutsche Bank in 2007 with the support of the German government’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau Entwicklungsbank (KfW) that provided subordinated debt to 21 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in 15 different countries. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EBRD Loans $2.3m to UniCredit Bank Banja Luka of Bosnia and Herzegovina as Part of $23m Advisory, Financing Package for Women-led SMEs in the Balkans

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral institution, has partnered with UniCredit Bank Banja Luka (UB), the unit of Italy’s UniCredit Group that operates in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to launch EBRD’s “Western Balkans Women in Business” program with a EUR 2 million (USD 2.3 million) credit provided to UB. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Amret Microfinance, Econet Wireless, myAgro, Urwego Opportunity Bank to Engage Human-Centered Design Firms to Improve Digital Financial Services for Smallholder Farmers in Cambodia, Africa

CGAP (The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based nonprofit that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, recently selected the following financial service providers to receive an unspecified level of support from human-centered design firms to improve their digital financial services for small-scale farmers: (1) Amret Microfinance, a Cambodian microfinance institution; (2) the Zimbabwean arm of South African mobile network operator Econet Wireless and US-based relief and development nonprofit Mercy Corps; (3) myAgro, a nonprofit organization in Mali that sells agricultural inputs via mobile technology; and (4) Urwego Opportunity Bank (UOB), a microfinance institution that was created as a result of a merger between Urwego Community Banking and Opportunity International Bank of Rwanda [1]. While the Econet-Mercy partnership will engage human-centered design firm, the other three programs have not yet released the names of the organizations with which they will work.  Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Responsible Digital Finance; March 16, 2015; Frankfurt, Germany

Event Name: Responsible Digital Finance: Global and Local Perspectives on Emerging Opportunities and Risks

Event Date: March 16, 2015

Event Location: Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Frankfurt, Germany

Cost: There is no fee to attend the event, although participants must register in advance.

Summary of Event: Attendees will discuss the opportunities and challenges of implementing digital finance services in developing countries, such as the need for transparent and safe digital products tailor-made for low-income segments of the population living in remote areas. Continue reading


SPECIAL FEATURE: Are Microfinance Institutions and Investors Removed from Business Reality?

This opinion piece was contributed by David MacDougall, a consultant based in the US city of New York.

Microfinance inspires optimism. Investors – especially private equity investors – anticipate handsome returns; aid agencies see strong social impact; and microfinance institution (MFI) managers are certain they can grow themselves out of every tight situation. While microfinance can play an important role in development, most MFIs nevertheless are relatively simple financial institutions that need to be grounded in sound market and business principles rather than pie-in-the-sky expectations. These “Business 101″ principles, which may sound like common sense truisms, in my experience, have not trickled down to many MFIs. In over 10 years of examining the viability of MFI business models as an analyst and risk manager, I have seen decision makers fail again and again to do reality checks. What’s still urgently needed is sound market analysis and professional risk management. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: e-MFP Survey of Investors in Tier 2/3 Microfinance Institutions; The Business of Doing Good; Benchmarking Inclusive Growth and Development

“Annual Survey 2014, e-MFP Action Group of Investors in Tier 2/3 MFIs;” prepared by Gabriela Erice, Daniel Rozas and e-MFP in collaboration with the e-MFP Action Group of Investors in Tier-2/3 Microfinance Institutions; published by the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP); 2015; 22 pages, available at

The “Investors in Tier 2/3 MFIs Action Group” of the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), a Luxembourg-based network of approximately 130 microfinance organizations and individuals, has released the results of its third annual survey detailing the analysis of investments of the action group members for the year 2013 [1]. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Etisalat, First Bank of Nigeria Merge Easywallet, Firstmonie Mobile Money

Etisalat, a United Arab Emirates-based telecommunications services provider, and First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), a commercial bank based in the Nigerian state of Lagos, recently fused FBN’s “Firstmonie Mobile Money,” a service that allows customers to access their FirstBank accounts as well as transfer funds through their mobile devices [2], and Etisalat’s “Easywallet,” a service allowing money transfers, airtime top-up, and payment for goods and services via mobile phones [3]. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nestlé Dominican Republic, Multilateral Investment Fund, Asociación Dominicana para el Desarrollo de la Mujer (ADOPEM) to Develop Microfranchise Distribution Project in the Dominican Republic

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the US-based Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), recently announced that it has partnered with Asociación Dominicana para el Desarrollo de la Mujer (ADOPEM), a microfinance institution (MFI) in the Dominican Republic, and Nestlé Dominican Republic, a unit of the Switzerland-based multinational food and beverage company, to develop a project that will give low-income women in the country an opportunity to operate micro-franchises to distribute Nestlé products in their communities [1]. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Financial Liberalization and Rural Banking in India, Agricultural Financing and Food Security in Developing Countries, European Small Business Finance Outlook

“Financial Liberalization and Rural Banking in India;” published by the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata; 2014; 29 pages; available at

This paper examines the effects of the recent trend of financial liberalization in India, including its impact on banking policy and the structure of rural economies in the country. Continue reading