Category: Trends/Challenges

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Social Performance Task Force (SPTF), CERISE Release Updated SPI4 Assessment Tool

The Social Performance Task Force (SPTF), a US-based nonprofit charged with addressing questions about measuring and managing social performance, and the France-based network CERISE (Comité d’Echanges de Réflexion et d’Information sur les Systèmes d’Epargne-crédit) recently released version 1.2 of SPI4, their assessment tool for the social performance of microfinance institutions.  Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) Donates $1.2m to Effort by Center for Latin American Monetary Studies to Improve Remittance Market in Latin America

The Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the US-based IDB (Inter-American Development Bank), has donated USD 1.2 million to fund a collaborative project with the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies, an association of Latin American and Caribbean central banks (also known by its Spanish acronym CEMLA).  Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Messrs United Cement Company of Nigeria (UNICEM), Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) Partner on $5m Loan to Nigerian MFI Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO)

Messrs United Cement Company of Nigeria (UNICEM), an indirect subsidiary of the French construction materials company Lafarge, and Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the international development department of the French government, reportedly have collaborated to loan NGN 1 billion (USD 5 million) to Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), a Nigerian microfinance institution (MFI), for funding the construction of 5,000 new housing units in the country.  Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Accion’s Smart Campaign Streamlines Microfinance Client Protection Certification Program

The Smart Campaign, a consumer-protection initiative launched in 2010 by US-based nonprofit Accion, recently announced changes to its Client Protection Certification Program that are intended to improve the certification process by reducing the time it takes for financial institutions to become certified, extending certification validity from two years to four years, and launching an appeals and complaints system [1]. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Parinaam Foundation of India Launches Financial Literacy Program in Tribal Communities of Garo, Jaintia, Khasi

The Parinaam Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides social services to women in India, has partnered with the World Bank Group, a group of five multilateral organizations that invest in developing countries, and the government of the Indian state of Meghalaya to offer a financial literacy training program to individuals in three tribal communities: Garo, Jaintia, and Khasi.  Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL EVENT: 5th Pacific Microfinance Week: Next Mile Financial Services in the Pacific, September 21-25, 2015, Honiara, Solomon Islands

Event Name: 5th Pacific Microfinance Week 2015: Next Mile Financial Services in the Pacific

Event Date: September 21-25, 2015

Event Location: Heritage Park Hotel, Honiara, Solomon Islands

Event Summary: Pacific Microfinance Week (PMW) 2015 is a series of workshops, field visits and formal conference sessions focusing on providers of financial services for poor people in the Pacific region. The topics that will be discussed include digital finance and delivery channels, women’s empowerment through access to finance, enhancing the potential of non-bank financial institutions, policy and regulation, innovations in products and services, developing measures of financial inclusion, how corporate governance structures can improve organizational performance, and a special session on financial inclusion in the Solomon Islands. The most recent PMW was held in 2013. Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: European Microfinance Award Application Period Open Through June 3: $110k for Services in Post-Disaster, Post-Conflict, Fragile States

MicroCapital: Please tell us about the theme of this year’s EUR 100,000 (USD 110,000) European Microfinance Award: serving people in post-disaster, post-conflict and fragile states.

Davide Forcella: This is a very timely issue because of the increasing frequency of microfinance institutions (MFIs) being forced to operate under very difficult conditions, due to both natural disasters and human conflict. The aim of the prize is to reward MFIs that Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Triple Bottom Line Investing Presents “TBLI Conference Latin America 2015;” May 28-29, 2015; Buenos Aires, Argentina

Event Name: TBLI Conference Latin America 2015

Event Date: May 28-29, 2015

Event Location: Centro Cívico Parque Patricios, Uspallata 3160, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Summary of Event: This conference will include panels on topics such as green real estate and sustainable urban development; renewable energy and energy infrastructure; sustainable agriculture; and the role of environmental, social and governance factors in investment decisions. Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: June 3 is Deadline to Apply for $106k Sixth European Microfinance Award: “Microfinance in Post-Disaster, Post-Conflict Areas and Fragile States”

Through June 3, the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), a Luxembourg-based network of approximately 130 microfinance organizations and individuals, is accepting applications for the Sixth European Microfinance Award, which will include a cash prize of EUR 100,000 (USD 106,000). This year’s award aims to recognize providers of financial services in post-disaster, post-conflict and fragile states. Successful applicants will illustrate their strategy for increasing “both their own resilience and that of their clients,” while highlighting how these services will respond to the immediate, medium- and long-term needs of clients in afflicted areas. To qualify, an institution must be based in a developing country and obtain a letter of support from a member of e-MFP. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Driving Scale, Agent Network Density in Peru; Youth Banking in the Dominican Republic; Aging, Financial Inclusion in Colombia

“Aging and Financial Inclusion: An Opportunity;” published by HelpAge International and Accion’s Center for Financial Inclusion; 2015; 40 pages; available at

This report highlights various barriers and opportunities in providing financial services to older people and helping younger people plan for old age, focusing on middle-income countries, in particular Colombia. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Money Transfer Startups Bitpesa, Igot Leverage Bitcoin to Reduce Price of Remittances

Currency exchange companies such as Kenya’s BitPesa and Australia’s Igot are tapping into remittance markets such as Kenya’s, which reached a volume of USD 1.43 billion in 2014, by using Bitcoin transfers to undercut the fees charged by firms such as US-based Western Union to deliver money across national borders.  Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Mobile Money and Digital Payments Africa Conference and Workshop, May 19-21, 2015, Johannesburg, South Africa

Event Name: Mobile Money and Digital Payments Africa

Event Date: May 19-21, 2015

Event Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa

Summary of Event: The aim of the event is to bring together sector stakeholders in an effort to strengthen mobile money payment systems and businesses in Africa. The two conference days will feature panel discussions and debates focused on developing financial services and other mobile products for un- and underbanked people, recent trends in mobile money, challenges in developing cashless payment systems in Africa and methods for leveraging social payments to improve financial service offerings for people left out of the traditional banking system. The workshop will focus on discussing strategies for retailers to gain authorization to sell mobile money and digital payment services in Europe. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microsoft, MasterCard to Provide Payment, Technology Support for Micro-Business Owners in Mexico

Microsoft Corporation, a US-based technology firm, and MasterCard, a US-based financial services corporation with operations in 210 countries, have announced a partnership through which they will seek to enhance information technology, communication and payments for small-scale merchants in Mexico. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: 12th “University Meets Microfinance” Workshop, Enhancing Food Security and Resilience to Climate Change: What Role for Microfinance, June 11-12, 2015, Bergamo, Italy

Event Name: 12th “University Meets Microfinance” Workshop, Enhancing Food Security and Resilience to Climate Change: What Role for Microfinance

Event Date: June 11-12, 2015

Event Location: University of Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy

Summary of Event: This conference will bring together academics, practitioners and students working on a variety of topics related to financial inclusion. Discussions will center around climate change, food security and microfinance, including case studies of financial services being used to mitigate the impact of climate change on smallholder farmers and ensure food security for these individuals and their families. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) to Host “Sustainable Investing: Risk, Value, Impact!” Conference, May 4-6, 2015, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Event Name: Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) 2015 Conference, “Sustainable Investing: Risk, Value, Impact!”

Event Date: May 4-6, 2015

Event Location: The Westin Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Summary of Event: This conference will focus on trends and emerging issues in sustainable and responsible investing. Topics of discussion will include shareholder advocacy, serving Latino and immigrant communities, addressing the need for low carbon energy sources, “place-based” investing, water investment risks and opportunities, and corporate governance structures. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Maize Insurance in Burkina Faso, Risks to Microfinance in Pakistan, Claims Analysis in Health Microinsurance

“Loan Protection for Maize Farmers in Burkina Faso;” by Barbara Magnoni and Danielle Sobol; published by The MicroInsurance Centre; 2014; 13 pages; available at

This paper presents the findings of a study focusing on the impact of droughts, specifically the costs to maize farmers in Burkina Faso. Continue reading