Omidyar Network, a US-based social investment firm, and ACCION International, a US-based nonprofit that supports microfinance institutions (MFIs), have invested USD 3.2 million in equity in Mobile Transactions International, a Zambia-based mobile financial services company, to expand financial access to poor and underserved populations. Mobile Transactions International will use the money to develop its leadership team, agent network and technology platform. Arjuna Costa, director of investments at Omidyar, and Monica Brand, fund manager for ACCION International’s Frontier Investments Group, will join Mobile Transactions International’s board of directors.
Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), a Canada-based nonprofit that aims to alleviate poverty through financial investment, also committed USD 500,000 in convertible debt funding, which will eventually be converted into shares held by MEDA in Mobile Transactions International.
Mobile Transactions has approximately 50 agent locations across Zambia and offers services such as money transfers and voucher programs. The number of customers it serves is not available.
By Charlotte Newman, Research Associate
About Omidyar Network
Founded in the US in 2004, Omidyar Network is an investment firm that provides investments and grants to “socially responsible” organizations in the areas of microfinance, entrepreneurship, property rights, social media, marketplaces and government transparency. To be eligible for a grant, an organization must be “determined to be aligned to Omidyar Network’s goals, have an identifiable impact, have potential for large-scale impact, have proven leadership, and exemplify innovation.” Omidyar Network typically makes investments of USD 1 million or greater. In 2010, Omidyar Network reported total assets of USD 271 million.
ACCION International is a private, US-based nonprofit organization with the mission of alleviating poverty by providing financial products such as microenterprise loans and business training to its clients. ACCION was founded in 1961 and issued its first microloan in 1973 in Brazil. ACCION’s partner microfinance institutions provide loans to men and women entrepreneurs in 22 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the United States. As of 2010, ACCION’s network serves 3.18 million active clients and has an active loan portfolio of USD 3.81 billion.
About ACCION Frontier Investments Group
Frontier Investments Group is a venture equity fund focused on microfinance. Frontier Investments invests in new technologies and disruptive business models that can enhance the way financial services are delivered to poor people. Frontier Investments seeks innovations that will enhance the efficiency, reach and scope of financial services at the base of the economic pyramid. The size of the fund is not available. Frontier Investments Group is an affiliate of ACCION International, a private, U.S.-based nonprofit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools necessary for poverty alleviation, such as microenterprise loans, business training and other financial services. As of 2010, ACCION’s network serves 3.18 million active clients and has an active loan portfolio of USD 3.81 billion.
About Mennonite Economic Development Associates
Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) is a Canada-based nonprofit company dedicated to helping families who are living in poverty in the developing world through investment, primarily microfinance. MEDA is active in 44 countries as of 2009. MEDA’s history dates back to 1953 when a group of Mennonite businessmen invested in a dairy farm in Paraguay. MEDA’s Product Lines include the following: (1) Investment fund development, establishing private investment as an effective solution to global poverty; (2) member engagement, helping their members strengthen faith-work development connections in their own lives and in all the places touched by their work; (3) microfinance, providing innovative and sustainable access to savings and credit for the poor; and (4) production & marketing linkages, providing innovative and sustainable access to markets for small producers and/or giving the poor better access to products that serve their basic needs.
Sources and Additional Resources:
Omidyar Network: Press Release: “Omidyar Network and ACCION Invest US $3.2 Million in Mobile Transactions International,” http://www.omidyar.com/about_us/news/2012/02/29/omidyar-network-and-accion-invest-us-32-million-mobile-transactions-interna
MicroCapital.org story, February 18, 2012, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC), ACCION Support Swadhaar in Expanding Microfinance for Women in Urban India,” http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-international-finance-corporation-ifc-accion-support-swadhaar-in-expanding-microfinance-for-women-in-urban-india/
MicroCapital Universe Profile: Omidyar Network
MicroCapital Universe Profile: ACCION International
MicroCapital Universe Profile: ACCION Frontier Investments Group
MicroCapital Universe Profile: Menonite Economic Development Associates
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