SPECIAL REPORT: Public Solutions at SAM: Collateral Registries, Business Training, Higher Microinsurance Uptake Can Promote Entrepreneurship in Africa

At SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) plenary on “Public Solutions to Promote Entrepreneurship in Africa,” Kennedy Komba of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) explained that his institution’s SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprise) Working Group comprises 53 regulatory and policy-making bodies. To facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship, these agencies have created collateral registries, adjusted lender liquidity ratios, updated know-your-customer frameworks and established rules for digital financial services. Trainers in Zambia used a financial education game to reach 5,000 people, of whom 80 percent were able to improve their businesses as a result. In Ghana, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Bank of Ghana collaborated to boost local value chains in an effort to reduce costly

SPECIAL REPORT: At SAM, Calls for Alternatives to Collateral, Acquiring Insurance, Technical Assistance, Cheaper Loans for SMEs

During SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference today, Willie Mzumala of Malawi’s Tapika Food Products described how he has grown his business over 13 years to employ 9 people year-round plus additional seasonal staff. However, he still is offered loans at interest rates as high as 45 percent. In addition to affordable financing, he sees a need for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to get help with marketing, getting international exposure and standardizing quality.

Richard Muteti of the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations repeated Mr Mzumala’s call for help with standardization and more affordable financing. Among other barriers to SME success, he cited lack of appropriately

SPECIAL REPORT: “Financial Inclusion and Job Creation in Africa” at the SAM Conference in Addis Ababa

Today “SAMat the SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Laura Foschi of ADA addressed the question of “how to support enterprises as they make the transition from micro- to small and medium-sized.”

Rebecca Rouse of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), described how randomized controlled trials can help determine “how can we best create value, spaces and opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and SME growth.” For example, evaluating the effectiveness of a business training program is much more enlightening when

SPECIAL REPORT: “Lessons from Micro-leasing” at European Microfinance Week

MicroCapital: How does micro-leasing compare with microlending?

Manuel Hörl: Microcredits do not fit the needs of every situation. Often, the borrower cannot meet the collateral or other requirements for receiving a loan. Micro-leasing can allow a farmer, for example, to pre-finance the purchase of a productive asset, such as a cow. The farmer receives basic training in handling the asset, and risk is mitigated by

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Unrealistic Expectations in Impact Investing, Valuing Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), Banking Costs in Kenya

“Marginalized Returns,” by Mara Bolis and Chris West, published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fall 2017, 3 pages, available at:
https://ssir.org/articles/entry/marginalized_returns

The authors of this article cite the Global Impact Investing Network’s (GIIN’s) “2016 Annual Impact Investor Survey,” which reports that 84 percent of 158 investors who seek “measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return” in particular are expecting “risk-adjusted market-rate returns.” Ms Bolis and Dr West state that netting annual returns of 10 to 15 percent would

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fundación Paraguaya Offering Loans in Paraguay for Stoves with Lower Environmental Impact, Supported by DiD, Econoler, IDB

Fundación Paraguaya, a Paraguay-based non-governmental organization, recently introduced a credit product intended to facilitate “the purchase of environmentally friendly technology,” particularly induction stoves, which run on electricity rather than gas or charcoal. In a pilot program, 383 women who purchased induction stoves

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Financial Inclusion Summit East Africa; September 5, 2017; Nairobi, Kenya

Event Name: Financial Inclusion Summit East Africa 2017

Event Date: September 5, 2017

Event Location: Radisson Blu Hotel; Nairobi, Kenya

Cost: The fee to attend is USD 440.

Summary of Event: This conference offers opportunities “to discuss critical challenges, opportunities, pilot programmes and future roadmaps” associated with financial inclusion across East Africa. The event will feature approximately a dozen sessions on topics such as: the financial inclusion gender gap; how to overcome barriers to financial inclusion; financial regulation; financial technology; and the dynamics between financial inclusion and the wider financial services industry.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MicroFinanza Rating Issues 13 Institutional, Social, Client-protection Credentials to Microfinance Institutions in Albania, Morocco, Namibia, Asia, Latin America

During July and August, Italy’s MicroFinanza Rating (MFR) issued five microfinance institutional ratings. Morocco’s Attadamoune Micro-Finance was assigned the grade B+ with a stable outlook. Ecuador’s Fundación Espoir and Albania’s FED Invest both earned grades of BB with stable outlooks. Two institutions earned grades of

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Offshore Financial Centers for Impact Investing; Financial Inclusion in 2025; Microfinance in India

“Offshore Financial Centers for Financial Inclusion: A Marriage of Convenience;” by Sam Mendelson and Daniel Rozas; published by the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) at Accion; June 2017; 14 pages; available at:
http://www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org/publications-a-resources/browse-publications/865-offshore-financial-centers-for-financial-inclusion

This paper explores the use of offshore financial centers (OFCs) based on interviews with 13 equity impact investors.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: ZAMFI Blames Zimbabwe’s Liquidity Challenges for Microfinance Portfolio-at-risk (PAR) Ratio Surpassing 12%

The Zimbabwe Association of Microfinance Institutions (ZAMFI), a 100-member advocacy group, recently announced its members’ aggregate portfolio-at-risk (PAR) ratio rose from 8.3 percent in December 2016 to 12 percent in March 2017, citing both “corporates and individuals fail[ing] to honour their debt obligations due to the liquidity crisis.”

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP Accepting 2017 Photo Contest Entries Through September 29

CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based, nonprofit policy and research center that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, is seeking submissions of original photographs for its annual competition, which aims to highlight the positive effects of microfinance.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: MaRS Social Finance Forum; November 9-10, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Event Name: Social Finance Forum 2017

Event Date: November 9 – November 10, 2017

Event Location: MaRS Discovery District, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Cost: CAD 350 (USD 278) until August 15; CAD 600 (USD 477) thereafter.

Summary of Event: This event will cover topics including new financial technologies, closing the funding gap for female entrepreneurs, the evolution of development aid and exit strategies for impact investments. The agenda includes workshops, presentations, product showcase booths and sessions for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to funders. 

MICROFINANCE EVENT: 9th Sankalp Global Summit; December 7 – 8, 2017; Mumbai, India

Event Name: Ninth Sankalp Global Summit 2017

Event Date: December 7 – December 8, 2017

Event Location: JW Marriott Hotel; Mumbai, India

Summary of Event: The foci of this summit are social enterprise, impact investing and “inclusive development” worldwide. The event will also explore the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year’s agenda has not been released, but previous iterations of the conference included sessions on topics such as financing small and medium-sized enterprises and opportunities in agriculture.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Cambodian Microfinance Association Members Refusing to Charge Clients Value-added Tax

The 82-member Cambodian Microfinance Association (CMA) recently announced that its affiliated microfinance institutions (MFIs) are declining to enforce the 10-percent value-added tax (VAT) that the country’s Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) has levied on financial services.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Zimbabwe’s IPEC Creates Enabling Framework for Microinsurance

The Insurance and Pension Committee (IPEC) of Zimbabwe recently announced it has issued a regulatory framework for microinsurance products to be distributed through “microfinance institutions, mobile network operators, church organisations and burial societies.”

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microloan Delinquencies Rise from 0.5% to 11% Following Demonetization in India

India Ratings, a subsidiary of US-based Fitch Group, recently announced that its “0+ days delinquency index” increased from 0.45 percent to 10.82 percent in the four months following November 2016 and thus concluded that the Indian government’s demonetization had a significant negative effect on microlenders [1].

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) Organizing Angel Investors to Improve SME Support

The World Bank Group’s Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) is providing a framework for “angel” investors to work together to entertain pitches from and fund the development of “start-ups and early-stage enterprises” in the Caribbean region.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: IFC Lending $5.6m to Romania’s Garanti Leasing to Finance Women-owned SMEs

Garanti Leasing, a subsidiary of the Garanti Group Romania specializing in financing real estate, vehicles and agricultural equipment, recently announced it will borrow EUR 5 million (USD 5.6 million) from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-sector arm of the World Bank Group, in order to increase funding for women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).