Category: Trends/Challenges

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: How the Private Sector Can Boost Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa; the Role of Impact Investing in Achieving SDGs in Africa; Documenting Reforms to “Doing Business”

Entreprenante Afrique; by Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg; published in French by Odile Jacob; September 2016; 288 pages; available for purchase at: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=_vslDQAAQBAJ&rdid=book-_vslDQAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_buy&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_atb

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

Share

SPECIAL REPORT: Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum: Overview of the Region

In anticipation of the recently announced Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Forum, which will be held in Hanoi, Viet Nam, on March 21 and March 22, 2017, MicroCapital is launching a series of stories from the Banking with the Poor Network‘s Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum, which was held in July 2016. The Foundation for Development Cooperation engaged MicroCapital to assist in documenting the event.

Ms. Banking With the Poor NetworkNina 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

Share

SPECIAL REPORT: Microfinance Investment Vehicles Setting “Green” Targets; Looking to Asian, Latin American MFIs to Deploy Environment-focused Microloans

During European Microfinance Platformone of Friday’s sessions of European Microfinance Week, Hatem Mahbouli, an investment officer with Dutch development bank Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), described his institution’s plans to direct 20 percent of its investments each year to environmental efforts. FMO, which reports the equivalent of USD 9 billion in total assets, has disbursed about USD 120 million of its financial services investments in the “green” sub-sector. To move further toward its goal, FMO is looking particularly to Continue reading

Share

SPECIAL REPORT: Fostering South-South Knowledge Exchange: Solar Home Systems in Bangladesh

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

Share

SPECIAL REPORT: Overcoming Fears at European Microfinance Week: Farmers Eschew Microinsurance to Prevent Drought, MFIs Wary of Group Technology Purchases

At yesterday’s meeting of the European Microfinance Platform’s (e-MFP’s) Digital Innovations for Financial Empowerment Action Group, a wide range of presenters described their challenges and successes in implementing financial technologies. Continue reading

Share

SPECIAL REPORT: Uniting Refugees, Locals via Lending Groups: European Microfinance Week Opens in Luxembourg

Among today’s opening meetings of European Microfinance Week was a working session on the financial inclusion of refugees that was organized by the US-based nonprofit Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) and the Luxembourgish nonprofit European Microfinance Platform (e-EMP). Lene Hansen, a consultant to SPTF, offered evidence to counter some of the common misconceptions discouraging microfinance institutions (MFIs) and their funders from serving refugees. Key among these is Continue reading

Share

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Tigo; UNICEF; Tanzania’s Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency to Provide Mobile Birth Registration for 200k Children in Iringa, Njombe Regions

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

Share

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Commercial Bank of Ethiopia Engaging Homesend to Launch Remittance Service for All Mobile Phone Users in the Country

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

Share

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kenyan Government Caps Bank Lending Rates, Sets Minimum Deposit Rates

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

Share

SPECIAL REPORT: A Preview of European Microfinance Week’s “New Frontiers on SPM: Measuring Client Outcomes”

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.

MC: What social performance outcomes are you measuring? Continue reading

Share

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Correlations Between Financial, Social MFI Performance; Banking for a Better World; A Case for Partnerships Among Corporations, Social Enterprises

“Where Good Intentions Meet Good Business Practice”; by Meraj Husain and Micol Pistelli; published by the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX); August 2016; 16 pages; available at: https://www.themix.org/sites/default/files/publications/where_good_intentions_meet_good_business_practice_mix_august_2016_final.pdf

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

Share

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Pan-African SME Finance Summit POSTPONED

Event Name: First Pan-African Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) Finance Summit: Accelerating Performance Through Innovation

Event Date: FORMERLY SCHEDULED FOR November 22 – November 23, 2016 NEW DATES AND LOCATION TO BE ANNOUNCED

Event Location: FORMERLY SCHEDULED FOR Radisson Blu Hotel, Elgon Road, Nairobi, Kenya NEW DATES AND LOCATION TO BE ANNOUNCED Continue reading

Share

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nepalese Microfinance Institutions Invest in Nepal Finsoft to Develop MIS Software

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

Share

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP, Citi Foundation Launch Digital Financial Inclusion Policy Program in China, Indonesia, Philippines

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

Share

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: JazzCash Mobile Money Users in Pakistan to Gain Access to Merchants Accepting Visa Cards

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

Share

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bangladeshi Farmers to Receive Microloans via Credit Cards Arranged by CARE Bangladesh, DAM, mPower, USAID

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

Share