MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: The National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB) to Partner with Universities to Facilitate Capacity Building in Nigerian Microfinance Sector

Chief Jethro Akun, the Vice President of the National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB) in Nigeria, has announced plans to partner with the National University Commission (NUC), a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Education established in 1962, to facilitate the offering of courses in microfinance banking at the university level. According to Mr. Akun, the partnership is necessary as the microfinance sector needs more “manpower” to achieve growth in the sector. He also believes that courses in microfinance banking will help to allay many of the fears of the general public over the viability of microfinance banks [1].

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Rwandan Microfinance Institution Urwego Opportunity Bank (UOB) Reports Lending Fosters Social Reconciliation

Radio Netherlands Worldwide recently reported that microfinance in Rwanda is “booming” and the Netherlands is contributing to this “success” [1]. One of the potential effects of the rise of microfinance in Rwanda is social reconciliation. Faustin Zihiga, the Chief Operating Officer of Urwego Opportunity Bank (UOB) of Rwanda, the largest microfinance bank in Rwanda among those reporting to the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX Market), suggests that in group-lending programs, survivors of the genocide mix in the same groups as perpetrators of the genocide. They begin to associate themselves by their group, not by their ethnic background. According to Zihiga, the social change is often even more visible than the economic change that microfinance brings about [3].

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Pro Mujer Releases First Issue of Publication on Innovative Microfinance Services

Pro Mujer, an international microfinance organization serving 202,000 clients in Latin America, recently released the first issue of a publication that will evaluate field research on new microfinance services.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Business Daily Africa Article Claims Kenyan Insurance Companies are Looking to Microinsurance to Boost Profits

A recent article in the Nairobi-based Business Daily Africa newspaper stated that insurance companies in Kenya are increasingly looking towards microinsurance ventures to boost their profits.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Students Make Commitments to Microfinance At Third Annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Meeting in Miami, Florida

At the third annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting which recently took place at the University of Miami, Florida, students, universities and national youth organizations made commitments to implement solutions to global challenges worth approximately USD 42 million; several of the commitments are aimed at advancing microfinance efforts around the world.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR) Announces Call for Proposals 2010

The International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD’s) Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR), a USD 18 million fund that seeks to reduce poverty by leveraging remittances for development in rural areas of developing countries, recently announced its Call for Proposals 2010.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Current and Former CEOs of ACCION International Discuss Role of Microfinance and Capital Markets in Fighting Poverty

In response to the upcoming IPO (initial public offering) of SKS Microfinance, an Indian microfinance institution (MFI) with more than 3.5 million borrowers, Mr Michael Schlein, President and CEO of ACCION International, and Mr Michael Chu, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and former CEO of ACCION, discuss the role of microfinance and the capital markets in fighting poverty in a Forbes magazine article.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Estimates that Global Remittances Declined 11.5% in 2009

According to a report by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries, global remittances may have declined by up to 11.5 percent in 2009 due to the financial crisis.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) Releases 2009 Benchmarking Report on Eastern Europe and Central Asia in Russian

The nonprofit Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) recently released the 2009 Eastern Europe and Central Asia Microfinance Analysis and Benchmarking Report in Russian.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Citigroup Pledges $1m to Help Rebuild Microfinance Sector in Haiti Following January Earthquake

Citigroup, a major American financial services company based in New York City, has pledged USD 1 million in grants to help rebuild Haiti’s microfinance industry [1]. The money will be distributed via three microfinance providers: SOGESOL, Fonkoze and FINCA-Haiti. The grants are to be used by microentrepreneurs whose businesses were damaged by the earthquake in mid-January. This adds to the large grants already given to microfinance institutions in Haiti. Fonkoze has already received a USD 4.5 million grant from the MasterCard Foundation, based in Canada [2].

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Experts Debate New Code of Conduct Adopted by the Microfinance India Network (MFIN)

A recent article featured on Livemint.com, an Indian business newspaper owned by the Wall Street Journal, discusses the debate surrounding the code of conduct recently adopted by the Microfinance India Network (MFIN), a trade association made up of 38 Indian non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) engaged in microfinance.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Shaka Mobile and TransferTo Launch Service Facilitating Cross-Border Mobile Money Transfers

Shaka Mobile, a mobile money transfer service provider for African immigrants in the United States, has signed an agreement with TransferTo, a Singapore-based company that operates a global airtime transfer network, to allow customers in the US and around the world to send wireless recharge to their friends and relatives in Africa.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MicroSave Releases Podcast on the 2007 Initial Public Offering of Mexican Microfinance Lender Compartamos

MicroSave, a technical assistance, training and technical resource center for microfinance organizations, has released a podcast discussing issues surrounding the controversially lucrative 2007, USD 458 million initial public offering of the Mexican microfinance bank, Compartamos.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: responsAbility to Stop Issuing Shares for Global Microfinance Fund

Effective May 26, 2010, the responsAbility Global Microfinance Fund (rAGMF), which directly invests in microfinance institutions (MFIs) and microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs), will temporarily stop accepting investment. A statement released by responsAbility suggests high liquidity, resulting from steadily high net investment inflows and slowing demand for microfinance credit from MFIs driven by the global economic crisis, as the cause of the stoppage [1].

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: The GROWTH Act is Introduced In the US House of Representatives

On April 29, 2010, the Global Resources and Opportunities for Women to Thrive (GROWTH) Act was introduced in the US House of Representatives. The bill, which was originally introduced into the US Senate on July 9, 2009, would provide a range of economic tools intended to help women in developing countries improve their financial situations. The bill includes microfinance and small business development and training as well as measures to enhance women’s land and property rights, to improve wages and working conditions, to improve access to global trade and to strengthen local women’s organizations.

SPECIAL REPORT: The Merger of Microfinance and Carbon Finance – A Mechanism for Small-Scale Technology Transfer

As world leaders haggle over emissions cuts and financial obligations to promote technology transfer to developing nations, a vanguard of microfinance institutions (MFIs) have silently financed purchases of clean energy technologies such as solar panels, biogas digesters, micro hydro dams and clean energy cook stoves in some of the poorest regions of the world. The prevalence of small-scale clean technologies could contribute to the displacement of rapidly expanding coal powered electricity grids to rural areas. Furthermore, it could replace dirty fuels – firewood, animal dung and charcoal – which have significant consequences for human health.