Category: Trends/Challenges

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Private Equity Fund, Apis Partners, Raises $157m for Financial Technology Startups in Africa, South Asia

Apis Partners, a London-based private equity firm, has raised USD 157 million in investments for the Apis Growth Fund that it launched in 2014 to target technology firms working in payments, savings, investments, credit and insurance in Africa and South Asia. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s SIDBI Sets up $154m Fund to Support Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) recently announced that it has set up a fund with INR 10 billion (USD 154 million) to provide concessional financing to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the manufacturing sector. As per a statement released by SIDBI, the objective of the fund is to transform the Indian MSME sector into a “world class manufacturing hub” in line with the Indian government’s “make in India” program. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank of Ghana Doubles Minimum Capital Requirement for Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) to $610k As of 2018

The Bank of Ghana (BoG), which serves as the country’s central bank and is mandated to license, regulate and supervise financial institutions, reportedly announced that it has revised the minimum capital requirement for microfinance institutions (MFIs) from GHS 1 million (approximately USD 305,000) to GHS 2 million (approximately USD 610,000). Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Donating up to $6m to World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) for Housing Development in Haiti

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the foreign assistance agency of the US government, recently agreed to give the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), a US-based association of credit union groups in 54 countries, a donation up to USD 6 million under USAID’S “Home Ownership and Mortgage Expansion” (HOME) facility. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: “More Inclusive Finance for Youth: Scalable and Sustainable Delivery Models for Financial and Non-Financial Services” from e-MFP’s Youth Financial Inclusion Action Group

MicroCapital: What is the motivation for the new study “More Inclusive Finance for Youth: Scalable and Sustainable Delivery Models for Financial and Non-Financial Services,” which was published recently by e-MFP’s Youth Financial Inclusion Action Group?

Severine Deboos: Almost 73 million youth worldwide are looking for work. The UN’s International Labour Office (ILO) considers financial inclusion an important ingredient to fostering youth employment. While young people may need access to services such as savings, credit, insurance and payments, potential employers may need loans to fund apprenticeships. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank of Kigali, Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN) Rwanda to Offer Mobile Financial Services

Bank of Kigali, a Rwandan commercial bank, and the Rwandan branch of Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN), a South Africa-based internet and telecommunications company, recently entered into a partnership that will allow MTN subscribers who are also customers of Bank of Kigali to transfer funds between their Bank of Kigali accounts and MTN’s mobile payments platform, Mobile Money. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Sanad, Bankmed Partner to Support Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Lebanon

The Sanad Fund for MSME (micro-, small and medium-sized enterprise) (Sanad), a Luxembourg-based organization that provides “medium- and long-term”[1] debt and equity to financial institutions in the Middle East and North Africa region, has recently announced the disbursement of a loan of USD 15 million to Bankmed, a Lebanese commercial bank regulated by the Central Bank of Lebanon. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: ACRE Africa, Bima, Microfact, Tech-Innov, UTM, Others Report on New Products for Rural Areas at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) in Dakar, Senegal

As Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) began to draw to a close, a range of service providers described their new products and services at an all-day Innovation Fair.

Solenn Marquette of Bima, a Sweden-based insurer operating in 13 developing countries, explained her firm’s strategy for using mobile phones to sell insurance. Although building branches is too expensive, “we still put education teams on ground” to market products. One such product is Tigo Hospitalization, which is offered in Senegal starting at CFA 200 (USD 0.40) per month for up to CFA 30,000 (USD 50) in coverage. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Boosting Rural Finance via Collaboration Among AFMIN, AMT Forum, AFRACA, MAIN

Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) is a production of four African microfinance networks in collaboration with Luxembourgish NGO ADA. As this is only the second SAM, a session was held this week on how the networks can expand their collaboration to increase their effectiveness in promoting rural finance on the continent.

Davy Serge Azakpame, the CEO of the Benin-based African Microfinance Network, proposed “creat[ing] an advocacy group to pressure government to boost funding for rural areas.” Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: How Holistic Approaches Can Advance Rural Enterprise Through Microinsurance, Technology, Market Research

At the start of the second day of conference sessions at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM), Renée Chao-Beroff of the Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa (PAMIGA), a France-based network of 14 African microfinance institutions, argued, “Microfinance has to be with something else to have effect. Standalone financial services are no longer working. We have to question our practices and go to a more holistic approach.” As an example, Mark Rueegg of Swiss microinsurer CelsiusPro explained how his firm distributes some of the satellite data it collects for actuarial purposes directly to farmers via mobile phones. “These data can give optimal planting dates instead of farmers going by what they were taught by their father, their neighbor…. This can allow them to increase their yield dramatically without extra costs, such as for additional fertilizer.” Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Promoting Partnerships that Support Value Chains at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM)

During the opening plenary session of African Microfinance Week, also known as Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM), the hot topic was partnerships, especially those that support value chains. André Okou of the African Development Bank, explained that his organization aims “to create new synergy by approaching the value chain in an integrated fashion – supporting all parts of the chain, including non-agricultural elements – to tackle constraints.” Raphaël de Guerre of the French government’s Agence Française de Developpement stated, “In Guinea we have added value for coffee producers. In Cameroon, we have increased honey prices by a factor of 3, showing private investors that this is viable.” Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Opening Ceremonies of Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) Raise Hopes of Reducing Poverty Through Improved Value Chains, Government Support of Agriculture

African Microfinance Week, also known as Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM), was launched this morning in Dakar, Senegal, by speakers including Minister Moustapha Diop of Senegal’s Ministry of Women, Family and Children. (While related meetings, training sessions and vendor presentations are running from June 25 through July 3, the main conference sessions are being held on June 30 and July 1.)

Minister Diop Opens SAM

In keeping with the event theme, “Accelerating Innovative Rural Finance in Africa,” Minister Diop argued that climate change is expected to reduce crop yields in Africa over time and that “to focus on this challenge, family farms are needed, and they need access to finance. Government is helping them, but they need more…. We would like to attract financing to the rural zones; by merging the efforts of the public and private sectors, we will meet this challenge.” Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: The MasterCard Foundation Offering $150k Via Clients at the Centre Prize; Applications Due June 30, 2015

The MasterCard Foundation, a Canadian organization founded by the US-based payments firm MasterCard, is accepting applications for the Clients at the Centre Prize through 11:59 p.m. GMT on June 30, 2015 via the following website: https://mastercardfdn.innocentive.com/. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: East Africa Microfinance Summit 2015: “Microfinance Enhancing Lives through Innovations,” August 17-19, 2015, Nairobi, Kenya

Event Name: East Africa Microfinance Summit 2015

Event Date: August 17-19, 2015

Event Location: Kenyatta International Convention Center, Nairobi, Kenya

Summary of Event: The theme of this conference is “Microfinance Enhancing Lives through Innovations,” and the event will focus on topics including: (1) the impact of mobile banking and agent-based banking for promoting financial inclusion; (2) the role of regulation in encouraging innovation; (3) the benefits of credit information sharing; (4) the role of youth and women in advancing social and economic development; (5) microfinance and socially-responsible enterprise; and (6) developments and trends observed in the East African microfinance industry over the past year.  Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: Cracking the Nut Conference, “Regenerating Rural & Agricultural Development,” March 1-2, 2016, Washington, DC, USA

Event Name: Cracking the Nut Conference 2016

Event Date: March 1 – 2, 2015

Event Location: Enrique V. Iglesias Conference Center, Washington, DC, USA

Event Summary: Cracking the Nut 2016 will focus on three topics: (1) developing methods to incentivize small farmers to adopt “sustainable” farming practices and regenerating rural and agricultural landscapes by restoring deforested areas and depleted soils; (2) financing environmentally sustainable development; and (3) promoting investment in environmentally friendly agriculture.  Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Is Health Microinsurance Sustainable? An Analysis of Five South Asian Schemes,” by Michael E. Weilant, published by the International Labour Organization

“Is Health Microinsurance Sustainable? An analysis of Five South Asian Schemes,” by Michael Weilant, published by the International Labor Organization, May 2015, 45 pages, available at: http://www.impactinsurance.org/sites/default/files/mp41_final.pdf

This paper analyzes five health microinsurance (HMI) schemes operating in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan in order to evaluate the sustainability of HMI. All five schemes were in operation for more than 3 years and serve more than 25,000 active customers. Continue reading

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