Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg argue that the 5-percent average annual growth rate Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced since 2000 is being driven significantly by the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Continue reading →
Ms. Nina Nayar, Associate of the Foundation for Development Cooperation, opened the session reviewing microfinance products and market segments in the region. She described the evolution from “credit and basic savings” years ago to today’s array of credit, savings, insurance, money transfer and other services for individuals as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). These include “a whole slew of innovations” such as payment cards and automated teller machines. She argued that new products are in demand by many segments of often-excluded people: farmers, people in conflict areas, minorities, youth, urban informal workers, migrants and single mothers. At the same time, fear and lack of confidence often Continue reading →
On this first day of European Microfinance Week conference sessions, three participants described their visits to Bangladesh to learn how low-income families there have financed purchases of home solar systems. Tesfaye Befekadu, the general manager of Ethiopia’s Harbu Microfinance Institution, explained, “The exposure visit opened my mind to green microfinance…. I came back from Bangladesh with a lot of knowledge. I collected the managers, and we exchanged information and immediately decided this idea should go to the Board of Directors. Then I asked the Board to explain it to the shareholders.… I can say that all levels of the organization, down to the clients, own this program.” In the year since the visit, Harbu has delivered Continue reading →
Tigo Tanzania, a brand of Swedish telecom provider Millicom, recently announced that it will expand its partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the government of Tanzania’s Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) to register and provide birth certificates to an estimated 200,000 children under the age of five in the Iringa and Njombe regions. Continue reading →
HomeSend, a software platform facilitating remittance transactions, and the government-backed Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) recently announced the intention to launch remittance services in Ethiopia by the end of 2016. Continue reading →
The government of Kenya recently passed legislation to cap the interest rates on bank loans at 4 percent per year above an undisclosed benchmark reference rate and also set the minimum deposit interest rate at 70 percent of the reference rate. Continue reading →
MicroCapital: What is the value of social performance management (SPM)?
Lucia Spaggiari & Amelia Greenberg: Financial service providers (FSPs) do not achieve their social goals without deliberately managing their social performance. Providing access to financial products and services can have a neutral or even harmful effect when it is not done responsibly. Even the best-intentioned FSPs have been shocked upon seeing their first data about client outreach, satisfaction and exit. Simply put, they were not reaching their target clients; their products were not well adapted to clients’ needs; and they were not achieving their missions.
Drawing upon Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX)’s database of financial service provider (FSP) performance indicators, the authors examine the relationship between the social and financial performance of 780 FSPs in 98 countries. Continue reading →
A group of Nepalese microfinance organizations is investing in Nepal Finsoft Limited, an information technology (IT) company based in Kathmandu, to develop a banking management information system (MIS) the thirty-four institutions hope will provide them with “increased efficiency and capacity to serve clients [and] lower overall costs of the infrastructure shared by all participating financial institutions.” Continue reading →
CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based, nonprofit research center that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, and the Citi Foundation, the charitable arm of US-based financial services firm Citigroup, recently launched the “East Asia Digital Financial Inclusion Program”. Continue reading →
JazzCash, a mobile money service of Pakistan-based cellular phone network Mobilink, and Visa, a US-based payment technology company, recently announced that JazzCash Mobile Account customers will be able to make purchases from the millions of merchants worldwide that accept Visa payment cards, including approximately 50,000 retail outlets in Pakistan. Continue reading →
The Agricultural Extension Support Activity (AESA) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is implemented by the Bangladesh-based nonprofit Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), is piloting an initiative to provide smallholder farmers with loans via bank cards. Continue reading →