Category: Trends/Challenges

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


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


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


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


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


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


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: Continue reading


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


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


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:

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


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Good World Solutions Uses Mobile Surveys to Promote Microfinance Client Protection

Good World Solutions (GWS), a US-based nonprofit organization that develops anonymous reporting tools for people to report on how companies treat them, has built a mobile-based interactive voice response survey service to gather information from microfinance borrowers in India to determine whether microfinance institutions (MFIs) are following the client protection principles of the US-based Smart Campaign.  Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Inter-American Awards for Financial and Entrepreneurial Innovation: Applications Due July 10, 2015

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) Group, has announced that it is accepting applications for the 2015 Inter-American Awards for Financial and Entrepreneurial Innovation, which is intended to recognize the achievements of institutions that support financial inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Morocco’s Microfinance Market; Trends in Funding Financial Inclusion; Growth Projections in Islamic Microfinance

“Ending the Microfinance Crisis in Morocco: Acting early, acting right;” published by the International Financial Corporation in partnership with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development; the Danish International Development Agency; Japan; Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs; and UKaid; October 2014; available at
Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: Mohamed Attanda on African Microfinance Week (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance, SAM), Dakar, Senegal, June 29 – July 3, 2015

MicroCapital: The agenda of Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) emphasizes improving services in rural areas; is there something in that realm that you would like to highlight?

Mohamed Attanda: Yes, we have noted for the past several years that rural areas have not been well served by traditional financial institutions, so there has been a need for microfinance institutions to focus on rural areas and family farms. How microfinance institutions can deal with this problem is a big question. The large size of African Microfinance Week gives us more opportunities to work together to innovate in rural finance in Africa.

MC: Several networks have collaborated to create SAM. What is the advantage in collocating their general assemblies in conjunction with a conference? Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Global Findex Database 2014; PEP Report on Female Entrepreneurs in Nigeria; YouthSave Research Report 2015

“The Global Findex Database 2014: Measuring Financial Inclusion Around the World;” by Asli Demirguc-Kunt, Leora Klapper, Dorothe Singer and Peter Van Oudheusden; published by the World Bank; April 2015; 88 pages; available at

The World Bank’s Global Findex Database 2014 indicates that between 2011 and 2014, 700 million people became accountholders for the first time at banks, via other financial institutions and with mobile money service providers, reducing the number of unbanked individuals by 20 percent. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Three Social Security Insurance, Pension Schemes Launched in India; Banks May Bear Subsidy Costs

The administration of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly has launched three new social security schemes in an effort to increase access to insurance and pension coverage for a “large” segment of India’s population.  Continue reading