The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), the central bank of the country, recently revoked the licenses of 11 microfinance institutions (MFIs) for failing to maintain compliance with a “diverse” range of rules. The MFIs, which are classified as “rural credit operators,” reportedly comprise a
Event Name: Global Savings Group Conference 2018
Event Date: May 22 – May 24, 2018
Event Location: Kigali, Rwanda
Summary of Event: This fourth iteration of this conference is themed “The Power of Savings Groups. Inclusion. Resilience. Empowerment.” Sessions will be based on the following tracks: (1) Systemic Approaches to Increase Scale, Sustainability, and Impact; (2) Access to Formal Financial Services; (3)
Event Name: 5th Sankalp Africa Summit 2018
Event Date: March 1 – 2, 2018
Event Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Summary of Event: This conference focuses on harnessing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to create growth in Africa. Sample session topics include “Driving the Sustainable Development Agenda:
Event Name: Investing for Impact Conference 2018
Event Date: February 15, 2018
Event Location: New York, New York
Summary of Event: This conference will cover inequality worldwide and how investors can take advantage of related opportunities to invest in a socially responsible way. The speaker list includes Eric Usher, the head of the finance initiative of the UN Environment Programme; Evan W
Event Name: 2018 Customer Centricity Learning Event
Event Date: February 19 – 22, 2018
Application deadline: January 19, 2018
Event Location: Mamallapuram, India
Summary of Event: This event is intended to improve the ways financial services providers work with low-income customers. The conference includes training exercises and networking events designed to improve social
“Digital Wallet Adoption for the Oral Segment in India: Concept Development for MoWo (Mobile Wallet for Oral);” by Brett Hudson Matthews, Richa Valechha, Vivek Anand, Avantika Kushwaha, Saborni Poddar and Rachit Ohri; published by MicroSave; May 2017; 50 pages, available at:
The authors describe a project conducted during 2016 in India on the Mobile Wallet for Oral (MoWo), a mobile-money service designed for the “oral” market segment, which includes 264 million people in the country who have low reading-skill levels. A group of 310 participants from various communities were subjected to “signing, reading and numeracy” tests. Thereafter, 138 people of varying literacy levels participated in focus groups on the user interface of the mobile wallet. Finally, 29 participants performed usability testing.
CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a nonprofit research center seeking to expand financial services in poor regions, recently announced the establishment of the Platform for Economic Inclusion (PEI) to “accelerate innovation and scaling of graduation-style programming.” Initiated by Bangladeshi NGO BRAC (formerly the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee) in 2011, the graduation approach involves: targeting only
A group of 75 women recently completed nine-month microfinance apprenticeships in the Afghan provinces of Balkh, Herat and Kabul. Eleven of these have been offered paid positions within the microfinance institutions (MFIs) at which they trained, Afghan Rural Finance Company, the First Microfinance Bank of Afghanistan, the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) Afghanistan and Oxus Afghanistan. Three additional MFIs, Mutahid, Exchangerzone and Hand in Hand, have agreed to host women apprentices in the future.
The program was funded by
Event Name: 14th Annual Global Microfinance Forum
Event Date: March 15 – March 16, 2018
Event Location: Munich, Germany
Summary of Event: This conference will include sessions on microleasing, “green” microcredit, managing foreign exchange risk, crowdfunding, serving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), technology, leveraging guarantees
The Bank of Ghana recently accused a group of microfinance institutions of operating illegally, including Agro Development Fund Services Limited, Hebron Financial Services, MMM, Money-doubler and Oboanipa Ventures Limited. The government of Ghana is in the process of implementing a Depositors Insurance Act
“2017 Symbiotics MIV Survey,” published by the Symbiotics Group, September 2017, 55 pages, available at:
This 11th annual survey of microfinance investment vehicles (MIV) offers data from 93 microfinance funds managed by “44 specialized asset management companies located in 17 countries.” The responding firms’ funds comprise 94 percent of the estimated market size of USD 13.5 billion. The MIV’s assets allocated to microfinance total USD 9.6 billion, of which 73 percent is in fixed-income funds, 16 percent in mixed funds and
At the 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
During the 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
Today at 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
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
“Marginalized Returns,” by Mara Bolis and Chris West, published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fall 2017, 3 pages, available at:
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
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
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.