MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bamboo Finance Raises $31m to Complete First Close of Financial Inclusion Fund II with Plans to Grow Savings Options

Bamboo Finance, a Luxembourg-based commercial investment firm, recently announced the first close of Financial Inclusion Fund II at USD 31 million, with the slate of investors including US-based financial services company Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America – College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) and European-based asset management company AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Loans $6m to Indian Microfinance Institution (MFI) Sonata Finance

The Indian unit of UK-based commercial financial institution Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) recently notified MicroCapital that it has disbursed a loan of INR 370 million (USD 5.8 million) to Sonata Finance Private Limited, an Indian microfinance institution (MFI) that serves India’s northern states. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Money Transfer Startups Bitpesa, Igot Leverage Bitcoin to Reduce Price of Remittances

Currency exchange companies such as Kenya’s BitPesa and Australia’s Igot are tapping into remittance markets such as Kenya’s, which reached a volume of USD 1.43 billion in 2014, by using Bitcoin transfers to undercut the fees charged by firms such as US-based Western Union to deliver money across national borders.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Accion, Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), Triodos to Acquire Myanmar’s Dawn Microfinance for $7m

Accion, a US-based microfinance NGO; Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), a Dutch public-private partnership that aims to promote growth in developing economies; and Triodos Investment Management, a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Triodos Bank, have announced plans to invest a total of USD 6.85 million in Dawn Microfinance, a Myanmar-based microfinance institution (MFI).

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: African Microfinance Week (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance), June 29 – July 3, 2015, Dakar, Senegal, With On-site Reporting by MicroCapital

Event Name: African Microfinance Week (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) 2015

Event Dates: June 29 – July 3, 2015

Location: King Fahd Palace Conference Center, Dakar, Senegal

Event Summary: The second annual African Microfinance Week will center around “accelerating innovative rural finance in Africa,” providing practitioners with a venue for exchanging ideas and reflecting on the trajectory of the industry. The event is designed to improve “the synergies” between the Benin-based African Microfinance Network (AFMIN), an association of 21 national microfinance networks; the African Microfinance Transparency Forum (AMT), a South Africa-based group that aims to strengthen the performance of African microfinance institutions (MFIs); the African Rural & Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA), a Kenya-based group of 105 central banks, retail financial service providers and microfinance networks; and the Microfinance African Institutions Network (MAIN), a Cote d’Ivoire-based NGO with 71 members. The program is sponsored by the governments of Senegal and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with support from the US-based Citi Foundation; the Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank; the United Nations Capital Development Fund; and Microfact, a nonprofit, web-based platform that provides toolkits for building the capacity of MFIs. The week will include plenary sessions, trainings, an investors’ fair and the general assemblies of AFMIN and MAIN. The primary languages of the event will be French and English. MicroCapital will provide sponsored, onsite coverage of selected sessions. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Safaricom, Vodacom Partner to Support Cross-Border Mobile Money Transactions Between Kenya, Tanzania via M-Pesa

Safaricom, a Kenya-based telecommunications company, has partnered with South Africa-based telecommunications firm Vodacom to offer cross-border transactions via M-Pesa, a mobile money service developed by UK-based telecom company Vodafone, which is a majority shareholder in both Safaricom and Vodacom.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CelsiusPro Partners with BlueOrchard to Manage KfW’s Climate Insurance Fund (CIF), World Bank Group to Improve Agricultural Insurance in Ukraine

Swiss microfinance investment manager BlueOrchard and Swiss weather index insurance service provider CelsiusPro recently were appointed as co-managers of the Climate Insurance Fund (CIF), an initiative created by German development bank Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau Entwicklungsbank (KfW) that aims to reduce the vulnerability of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and low-income households to climate change by improving access to and use of insurance. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Acumen, Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, Unilever Partner to Support Smallholder Farmers through Enhanced Livelihoods Investment Initiative (ELII) in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean

The US-based non-profit venture fund Acumen, along with the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, an initiative of US-based Clinton Foundation, and the British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company Unilever recently partnered to launch a three-year, minimum USD 10 million Enhanced Livelihoods Investment Initiative (ELII) that aims to boost the economic development of approximately 300,000 smallholder farmers in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) to Provide $4.1m Risk Sharing Facility to Cameroonian Bank Banque Internationale du Cameroun pour l’Épargne et le Crédit (BICEC) for Agricultural Lending

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the US-based World Bank Group, recently signed an agreement with Banque Internationale du Cameroun pour l’Épargne et le Crédit (BICEC), a Cameroonian bank, to provide BICEC with a CFA 2.5 billion (USD 4.1 million) “risk sharing facility… to support its lending activities to agriculture cooperatives active in the productions of cassava, maize and sorghum” [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO) Lends $5.4m to Microfinance Institution Mikrofin of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), a Dutch public-private partnership that aims to promote growth in developing economies, recently signed a senior loan agreement through which it will disburse EUR 5 million (USD 5.4 million) to Mikrofin, a Bosnia and Herzegovina-based microfinance institution. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Mobile Money and Digital Payments Africa Conference and Workshop, May 19-21, 2015, Johannesburg, South Africa

Event Name: Mobile Money and Digital Payments Africa

Event Date: May 19-21, 2015

Event Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa

Summary of Event: The aim of the event is to bring together sector stakeholders in an effort to strengthen mobile money payment systems and businesses in Africa. The two conference days will feature panel discussions and debates focused on developing financial services and other mobile products for un- and underbanked people, recent trends in mobile money, challenges in developing cashless payment systems in Africa and methods for leveraging social payments to improve financial service offerings for people left out of the traditional banking system. The workshop will focus on discussing strategies for retailers to gain authorization to sell mobile money and digital payment services in Europe. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) to Provide Consulting Services to An Binh Joint Stock Commercial Bank (ABBANK) to Finance Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the US-based World Bank Group, recently announced that it has signed a “project services agreement” with An Binh Joint Stock Commercial Bank (ABBANK), a Vietnamese commercial bank. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to Loan $20m to India-based Caspian Impact Investment (CII)

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a government-backed development finance institution based in the US capital of Washington, DC, recently agreed to loan USD 20 million to Caspian Impact Investments (CII), a fund launched in 2013 by Indian investment management and advisory services company Caspian Advisors Private Ltd. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) to Contribute $200m to IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund (FIG Fund), Bringing Total Funding to $345m at First Close

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the US-based World Bank, recently announced that it will devote up to USD 200 million to the IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund (FIG Fund), an investment vehicle that will make equity investments that aim to increase access to capital for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing markets [1]. Continue reading