MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Considers $22m Credit to Belinvestbank of Belarus for On-Lending to Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral investment institution headquartered in London, is considering extending a credit line of EUR 20 million (USD 22 million) to Belinvestbank (BIB), a state-owned bank in Belarus. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Symbiotics Sells Bonds Worth $11m for South Africa’s SA Taxi

Symbiotics, a Switzerland-based investment company that focuses on emerging markets, recently announced that it has completed the second tranche of a bond transaction worth USD 11 million to benefit SA Taxi Development Finance (SA Taxi), a South African leasing company that finances “minibus taxi” operators in the country. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MetLife Foundation Donates $1.8m to Opportunity International to Support Financial Access through Microfinance, Education in Rural China

MetLife Foundation, an affiliate of the Chicago-based insurance company MetLife, recently announced the disbursement of USD 1.8 million in grant funding to Opportunity International, a microfinance NGO also based in the US city of Chicago, to support its outreach via bank branches and mobile vans in rural China.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank of Kigali, Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN) Rwanda to Offer Mobile Financial Services

Bank of Kigali, a Rwandan commercial bank, and the Rwandan branch of Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN), a South Africa-based internet and telecommunications company, recently entered into a partnership that will allow MTN subscribers who are also customers of Bank of Kigali to transfer funds between their Bank of Kigali accounts and MTN’s mobile payments platform, Mobile Money. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Presents Bridging the Gap: Financial Policy Solutions for Women in Africa, July 22, 2015, Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire

Event Name: Bridging the Gap: Financial Policy Solutions for Women in Africa

Event Date: July 22, 2015

Event Location: Hotel President, Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire

Event Summary: The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), a Malaysia-based network of financial regulators, will host this one-day conference immediately preceding the 3rd Annual African Mobile Phone Financial Services Policy Initiative (AMPI) Leaders’ Roundtable. The purpose is to create a forum for financial regulators to discuss and increase awareness of policies that are intended to facilitate an increase in financial inclusion for women to help close the “financial inclusion gender gap”[1]. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Women’s World Banking (WWB) Presents Making Finance Work for Women Summit, November 11-12, 2015, Berlin, Germany

Event Name: Women’s World Banking (WWB) Making Finance Work for Women Summit

Event Date: November 11-12, 2015

Event Location: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (which is also known by its German acronym BMZ), Berlin, Germany

Event Summary: The Making Finance Work for Women Summit is a two-day event that will focus on how women’s access to financial services relates to economic opportunity and macroeconomic growth. Sessions will cover best practices to “serve the women’s market for financial services”[1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank of Ghana Rejects Appeal by Customers of DKM Diamond Micro-Finance Limited; President Intervenes

The Bank of Ghana (BoG), the country’s central bank, recently rejected an appeal by the customers of the Ghana-based savings and microfinance company DKM Diamond Micro-Finance Limited (DKM) who had requested their cash deposits and matured investments with DKM to be paid out. BoG rejected the appeal due to the investigation into DKM’s practices being pending. BoG argued that it had to establish whether the MFI had violated the Ghanaian banking act before it allowed access to funds held by DKM. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: 2015 CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) Microfinance Photo Contest Accepting Entries Through September 9

CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based, nonprofit policy and research center that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, has announced the opening of its annual photo contest to entries of original images that capture the “diversity and dynamism of microfinance and financial inclusion around the world”[1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Société Générale Loans $21.2m to Microenterprises in Serbia; European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Guarantees $10.6m in Support of Financial Inclusion Via VisionFund’s AgroInvest

The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral institution headquartered in London, England, recently announced that it will extend a guarantee facility of RSD 1.15 billion (USD 10.6 million) of a credit line totaling RSD 2.3 billion (USD 21.2 million) to be disbursed by Société Générale Serbia, a subsidiary of the France-based financial institution Société Générale, to rural microenterprises in Serbia. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Sanad, Bankmed Partner to Support Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Lebanon

The Sanad Fund for MSME (micro-, small and medium-sized enterprise) (Sanad), a Luxembourg-based organization that provides “medium- and long-term”[1] debt and equity to financial institutions in the Middle East and North Africa region, has recently announced the disbursement of a loan of USD 15 million to Bankmed, a Lebanese commercial bank regulated by the Central Bank of Lebanon. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: ACRE Africa, Bima, Microfact, Tech-Innov, UTM, Others Report on New Products for Rural Areas at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) in Dakar, Senegal

As Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) began to draw to a close, a range of service providers described their new products and services at an all-day Innovation Fair.

Solenn Marquette of Bima, a Sweden-based insurer operating in 13 developing countries, explained her firm’s strategy for using mobile phones to sell insurance. Although building branches is too expensive, “we still put education teams on ground” to market products. One such product is Tigo Hospitalization, which is offered in Senegal starting at CFA 200 (USD 0.40) per month for up to CFA 30,000 (USD 50) in coverage. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: IFC, Ecobank to Share Risk on $110m in Loans for Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in West, Central Africa

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group; and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (Ecobank), a commercial bank based in Lome, Togo, with operations in 36 African countries, recently announced the launch of a risk-sharing credit facility in the amount of USD 110 million. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Boosting Rural Finance via Collaboration Among AFMIN, AMT Forum, AFRACA, MAIN

Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM) is a production of four African microfinance networks in collaboration with Luxembourgish NGO ADA. As this is only the second SAM, a session was held this week on how the networks can expand their collaboration to increase their effectiveness in promoting rural finance on the continent.

Davy Serge Azakpame, the CEO of the Benin-based African Microfinance Network, proposed “creat[ing] an advocacy group to pressure government to boost funding for rural areas.” Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: How Holistic Approaches Can Advance Rural Enterprise Through Microinsurance, Technology, Market Research

At the start of the second day of conference sessions at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM), Renée Chao-Beroff of the Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa (PAMIGA), a France-based network of 14 African microfinance institutions, argued, “Microfinance has to be with something else to have effect. Standalone financial services are no longer working. We have to question our practices and go to a more holistic approach.” As an example, Mark Rueegg of Swiss microinsurer CelsiusPro explained how his firm distributes some of the satellite data it collects for actuarial purposes directly to farmers via mobile phones. “These data can give optimal planting dates instead of farmers going by what they were taught by their father, their neighbor…. This can allow them to increase their yield dramatically without extra costs, such as for additional fertilizer.” Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: World Economic Forum (WEF) Leaders Aim for Cooperation among Regulators for Financial Inclusion in Africa

During the World Economic Forum (WEF) in South Africa, business and political leaders from multiple African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa among others, emphasized the need for collaboration among regulators in order to promote financial inclusion globally. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Commission, European Investment Fund (EIF) to Guarantee $107m Through European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), Expect to Generate $213m in Loans to European Social and Micro-enterprises

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive body, and the European Investment Fund (EIF), an EU-affiliated provider of finance to organizations that lend to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), recently partnered to introduce the European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Black Sea Trade and Development Bank to Loan $7m to FINCA Georgia for On-lending to Micro- and Small Enterprises

FINCA Bank Georgia (FINCA Georgia), the Georgia-based subsidiary of the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA International), a US-based nonprofit microfinance organization, recently announced that it has entered into an agreement with the Greece-based international financial institution Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), to receive a loan of USD 7 million. Continue reading