The National Microfinance Bank (NMB), one of Tanzania’s largest banks, has issued loans worth TSH 92 billion (USD 63 million) to about 45,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) countrywide . Although NMB was largely privatized in 2005, with 49 percent of its shares in the hands of a consortium of banks and firms primarily in the Netherlands, the government of Tanzania continues to be the majority shareholder. According to Robert Pascal, the head of SMEs at NMB, the loans were issued in an effort to contribute to national social and economic development.
Grameen America, a non-profit microfinance organization founded by Dr. Muhammad Yunus, recently held the grand opening of a new Manhattan, New York, branch . This grand opening brings the total number of branches of Grameen America to four, with branches in Queens and Brooklyn, New York, and a third in Omaha, Nebraska. The ceremony took place at City College of New York and was hosted by the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies. The event featured previous Grameen America borrowers who had used their loans develop retail and culinary businesses .
Lockheed Martin, a global security company based in the US state of Maryland, has given a USD 30,000 grant to support the microfinance efforts of the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) . Established in 1984, FINCA is a global microfinance network, which serves approximately 700,000 people through its subsidiaries in 21 countries . The funding from Lockheed Martin will help provide loan capital for FINCA’s clients in Afghanistan and El Salvador and will support FINCA Haiti’s relief fund efforts following the January 12th earthquake.
Dr Ike Abugu, President of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), has called the lack of skilled workers employed in microfinance as the reason why he feels microfinance has been unable to impact the economy and fulfill its promise. Dr Abugu commented, “The kind of people that went into microfinance was spillover from the commercial banks so they still had this banking mentality. They did not have the skills, knowledge and expertise to run microfinance banks.”
A report released by PlaNet Finance China, a nonprofit acting to promote development of the microfinance sector, suggests that one third of China’s people have no access to financial services . According to population data from the CIA World Factbook, this would total roughly 446 million people, a segment greater than the total population of all but one other nation, India .
According to a recent study entitled “The Landscape of Microinsurance in Africa” published by the Microinsurance Innovation Facility of the International Labour Office (ILO) 2.1 percent of Africa’s 700 million working poor have insurance coverage. The study found that, assuming a feasible insurance coverage level of five percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the potential size of the microinsurance market would be USD 25 billion, as compared to the current market size of USD 257 million.
The government of Jamaica has announced it will provide JMD 750 million (USD 8.3 million) in loans to support microenterprises, which would bring the total funds available to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), through both the public and private sector, to JMD 6.7 billion (USD 75 million), according to Jamaican Commerce Minister, Karl Samuda.
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), an organization representing approximately 100,000 Indian companies, plans to call attention to lacking rural microfinance service by asking the national government to operate microfinance institutions (MFIs) in those areas. ASSOCHAM reportedly argues that those MFIs currently serving rural India charge prohibitive annual interest rates of between 36 and 60 percent .
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has provided a EUR 1 million (USD 1.3 million) loan to LandesLease, an Albanian leasing company, to expand its services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
SHARE Microfin Ltd, an Indian microfinance institution (MFI) with 2.4 million clients and a gross loan portfolio of USD 353 million, recently raised INR 500 million (USD 11 million) through a private placement of two-year, non-convertible debentures (NCD).
Total assets of the top ten microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs) grew by 23 percent in 2009, reaching USD 3.6 billion, while MIVs’ investments in microfinance institutions (MFIs) grew by only 12 percent, according to a report by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), an independent policy and research center.
The government of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh recently announced it would file criminal cases against any microfinance institution (MFIs) found to have used coercion to recover loans.
Ecuador’s central bank, Banco Central del Ecuador (BCE), recently further reduced the cap on annual interest rates to 30.5 percent from 33.9 percent for retail microlenders, and to 27.5 percent from 33.3 percent for all others lenders . Since 2007, when the national government enacted banking reforms allowing the central bank to set a maximum interest rate for all banking institutions, the cap for microlenders has been dropping. According to Javier Vaca, the executive director of Red Financiera Rural (RFR), an Ecuadorian network of organizations that is focused on facilitating and promoting access to financial services, this forces microlenders to increase the average amount of their loans. Some are left with no choice but to sell their portfolios to larger institutions with lower fixed costs .
Event Name: Convergences 2015
Event Date: May 25 to May 26, 2010
Event Location: City Hall, Paris, France
Event Website: http://www.convergences2015.org/
Event Name: Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) 2010 Annual Meeting
Event Date: June 28 – July 2, 2010
Event Location: Kursaal Bern Congress and Culture Centre, Bern, Switzerland
Event Website: http://www.sptf.info/page/2010-annual-meeting
See Our Comprehensive Event Calendar Here: http://microfinanceassociation.ning.com/events
A new law to regulate the microfinance sector in Uganda is expected before the reading of the 2010/2011 budget in June . The plan was announced by Ruth Nankabirwa, the microfinance state minister at the third Financial Inclusion Advisors Conference recently hosted in the capital, Kampala. According to Ms. Nankabirwa, membership in the microfinance sector has grown from 644,318 in 2008 to 1,154,715 in 2009. A large proportion of funds within the sector are unregulated – there are over 1,340 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Uganda that are not regulated. Ms. Nankabirwa argues that regulating the microfinance sector will increase consumer confidence and encourage more people to use its services.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has passed a law allowing banks, deposit-taking microfinance institutions (MFIs) and mortgage finance companies to open branches through third parties, or agency banks.
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 .