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).

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Sanabel’s Annual Conference: Financial Inclusion in the Arab Countries; November 7-8, 2017; Beirut, Lebanon

Event Name: Sanabel’s 2017 Conference: Financial Inclusion in the Arab Countries; A Journey of Collaboration and Achievements

Event Date: November 7 – November 8, 2017

Event Location: Beirut, Lebanon

Summary of Event: This conference is intended to contribute to a more “inclusive and progressive” microfinance environment in the Arab region. The topic themes include the evolution of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and clients; supporting existing and new partnerships; MFIs’ role in advancing the UN’s sustainable development goals; strategic leadership and risk management; and advancing youth financial inclusion.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing; November 1-3, 2017; San Diego, California, USA

Event Name: The SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing

Event Date: November 1 – November 3, 2017

Event Location: Hotel Del Coronado; San Diego, California, USA

Summary of Event: The theme of this event is “All In For Impact.” It will focus on concrete ways investing can positively impact social and economic spheres. The conference program offers plenary sessions focused on investment and practice management issues, shareholder advocacy strategies, and community impact investment opportunities. In addition, the organizers will present the Moskowitz Prize Award and the SRI Service Award.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Solomon Islands’ National Provident Fund Launches youSave Retirement Savings Plan for Self-employed With Support from UN’s PFIP

The National Provident Fund, a government-backed retirement trust in the Solomon Islands, recently launched youSave, a savings plan designed to help self-employed islanders establish and contribute to retirement accounts as do “formally employed” citizens.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion, $150k “Clients at the Centre” Prize; November 8-9, 2017; Accra, Ghana

Event Name: The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion

Event Date: November 8 – November 9, 2017

Event Location: Accra, Ghana

Cost: This event is open by invitation only

Summary of Event: The symposium will focus on increasing the knowledge of financial service providers regarding the financial lives of poor people in an effort to enable the providers to design and deliver products that are more closely aligned with people’s needs.

MICROFINANCE BRIEF: Ford Foundation to Invest $1b Over 10 Years in Mission-related Investments Such as Financial Services in Developing Countries, Affordable Housing in the US

The US-based Ford Foundation recently announced plans to disburse USD 1 billion in “mission-related investments” with initial foci on access to financial services in developing countries and affordable housing in the US.

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: GIIN Impact Investor Survey; Financial Inclusion in Humanitarian Emergencies; Green Index 2.0

Annual Impact Investor Survey 2017, The Seventh Edition;” by Abhilash Mudaliar, Hannah Schiff, Rachel Bass, Hannah Dithrich; published by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), May 2017, 84 pages, available at https://thegiin.org/knowledge/publication/annualsurvey2017

The authors of this paper discuss the results of primary and secondary research on the latest trends and challenges of the impact investment sector, which they define as investments that “target social and / or environmental impact objectives”[1].

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: SureBüddy, Provider of Free Funeral and Handset Insurance, Expands to Uganda

South African technology firm AxMe International Services recently expanded its SureBüddy insurance application to Uganda, allowing users in that country to view advertisements in return for no-cost insurance for their mobile phone screens.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Apply by June 5 for The MasterCard Foundation’s $150k “Clients at the Centre” Prize

The MasterCard Foundation, which is based in Canada, is accepting applications through June 5 for its 2017 “Clients at the Centre” Prize, which includes a cash award of USD 150,000.