MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Airtel, Grameen Foundation, Plan International to Launch Mobile Money Platform for Savings Groups in Uganda Under Which All Group Members Must Approve Each Transaction Via SMS

The Ugandan subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, an Indian telecommunications services provider with operations in 150 countries; Grameen Foundation, a US-based nonprofit organization; and the Ugandan arm of Plan International, a UK-based child rights and anti-poverty nonprofit that operates in 48 countries, have entered into a partnership to launch a mobile money platform that is intended to serve savings groups in Uganda.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Issues First Disbursements from $1.36b Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) After 2 Years of Delay

President Goodwill Jonathan of Nigeria officially launched the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development Fund at the eighth MSME finance conference in Abuja, Nigeria, where he announced the provision of NGN 870 million (USD 5.36 million) from the NGN 220 billion (USD 1.36 billion) fund to four beneficiaries Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: “Exchange on the Future of Banking,” September 28 – 30, 2014, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Event Name: Exchange on the Future of Banking

Event Date: September 28 – September 30, 2014

Event Location: On September 28, the event will be hosted at the SS Rotterdam hotel, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; on September 29, the proceedings will be hosted at Cruise Terminal Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; and on September 30, the event takes place at LP2, Las Palmas, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA) of Bangladesh Warns of Punishment for Non-compliant MFIs

The Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA), a Bangladeshi government body that oversees the operations of nongovernmental organization (NGO) microfinance institutions (MFIs), reportedly has issued a warning to MFIs in the country in response to violations of MRA regulations such as the requirement of a 15-day grace period on new loans before collecting loan repayments as well as the use of a declining-balance method of calculating interest. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: Symbiotics 2014 MIV [Microfinance Investment Vehicle] Survey Report: Market Data and Peer Group Analysis

“Symbiotics 2014 MIV [Microfinance Investment Vehicle] Survey Report: Market Data and Peer Group Analysis;” published by Symbiotics Group; 2014; 36 pages; available at http://www.symbioticsgroup.com/media/72461/symbiotics-2014-symbiotics-miv-survey-report.pdf

Symbiotics, a Switzerland-based investment company that is “specialized in emerging, sustainable and inclusive finance”, recently performed a survey of microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs) regarding their financial and social performance during 2013. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Incofin, Triodos Invest in Microfinance Institution (MFI) Arvand of Tajikistan

Belgium-based Incofin Investment Management (Incofin), a private company that manages funds investing in microfinance institutions (MFIs), and Netherlands-based Triodos Investment Management (Triodos), the subsidiary of Triodos Bank that manages funds in “energy and climate, emerging markets, arts and culture and sustainable real estate”[2], jointly acquired a 36-percent equity stake in Microcredit Deposit-Taking Organization Arvand (Arvand), an MFI that operates in and around Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan as well as in the country’s Sughd region. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s New Financial Inclusion Plan Seeks to Bring Every Household Bank Account, Pension, Insurance

Mr Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, reportedly announced the launch of a new financial inclusion program, entitled “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana,” which means “Prime Minister’s People’s Wealth Mission”[1] and is intended to extend “banking, credit, insurance and pension services”[1] to every household in the country. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nigerian National Identity Management Commission, MasterCard Launch eID Cards for Biometric Identity Verification, Electronic Payments

The Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), a government initiative responsible for instituting a national identity database of Nigerian citizens and legal residents, recently announced the launch of its National eID Card pilot program in partnership with MasterCard, a US-based payment solutions company [1]. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Marion Allet: e-MFP Microfinance and Environment Action Group Offers Tools for Microfinance Institutions Looking to Go Green

MicroCapital: Would you please tell us about the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) Microfinance and Environment Action Group?

Marion Allet: The e-MFP Microfinance and Environment Action Group was officially launched in February 2013. It is an initiative of various organizations that were already involved in “green microfinance,” such as MicroEnergy International, ADA, PlaNet Finance, Enclude, PAMIGA (the Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) etc. A few years ago, there were very few actors addressing the issue of the environment within microfinance, so we thought there was a real need for sharing experiences. We also wanted to provide some practical tools to help stakeholders understand what green microfinance is and how to get involved. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Franklin Templeton Investments Launches Financial Inclusion Drive in India

Franklin Templeton Investments India, the Indian division of a Us-based mutual fund company Franklin Templeton Investments, in partnership with the Security Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the regulator for the securities market in India, reportedly has launched a financial inclusion campaign aimed at enlightening people on the mutual funds industry in India’s Rangareddy district. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) Action Group Proposes Best Practices for Microfinance Institutions Offering Remittances

MicroCapital: Please tell us a bit about the Remittances Action Group of the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP).

Gera Voorrips: As you know, e-MFP is a membership organization that promotes members working together on specific topics on which they have a shared interest. In 2011, I took the initiative to engage several members who were working on remittances to launch an Action Group to collaborate on this topic. As one of the requirements of an e-MFP Action Group is to work toward specific results, we decided that we wanted to focus on best practices for microfinance institutions (MFIs) that want to be successful in remittances. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Japanese Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) Announces Purchase of $110m Equity Stake in Cambodian Acleda Bank from International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), a Japanese financial services company, reportedly announced plans to purchase a 12.25-percent equity stake consisting of approximately 27.6 million shares in Acleda Bank (Acleda), a Cambodian commercial bank, for a total cost of USD 110 million. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: World Bank Group to Provide Funding of $42m to Lao People’s Democratic Republic to Support Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), Hydropower and Mining Sectors

The World Bank Group (WBG), a group of five multilateral organizations that invest in developing countries, recently approved plans to disburse a total of USD 42 million to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the hydropower and mining sectors of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Continue reading