MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to Loan $32m to Tunisia’s Banque de Tunisie for On-Lending to Micro, Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs); $3.2m to Support Women-Led SMEs in Kosovo

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral financial institution, has agreed to lend EUR 30 million (USD 32 million) to Tunisia’s Banque de Tunisie, for on-lending to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: e-MFP Accepting Applications for $106k Sixth European Microfinance Award: “Microfinance in Post-Disaster, Post-Conflict Areas and Fragile States” Through June 3, 2015

The European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), a Luxembourg-based network of approximately 130 microfinance organizations and individuals, has announced that it is accepting applications for the Sixth European Microfinance Award, which will include a cash prize of EUR 100,000 (USD 106,000). This year’s award aims to recognize service providers operating in post-disaster, post-conflict and fragile states. Applications for the award may be submitted until June 3, 2015, by institutions that operate in such areas and provide financial services that are intended to increase the “resilience” of people in these areas. Successful applicants will illustrate their strategy for increasing “both their own resilience and that of their clients,” while highlighting how these services will respond to the immediate, medium- and long-term needs of clients in afflicted areas. To qualify, an institution must be based in a developing country and obtain a letter of support from a member of e-MFP. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Save the Date: African Microfinance Week (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance), June 29 – July 3, 2015, Dakar, Senegal

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 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.

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional (BTPN) of Indonesia Borrows $300m from Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), International Finance Corporation (IFC) for Microenterprise Lending

The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), a Tokyo-based subsidiary of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, recently provided a loan of USD 300 million to Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional (BTPN), a commercial bank in Indonesia. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Save the Date: European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) to Host European Microfinance Week, November 18-20, 2015, Luxembourg

Event Name: European Microfinance Week 2015

Event Dates: November 18-20, 2015

Location: Luxembourg

Event Summary: The European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), a Luxembourg-based network of approximately 130 members, is hosting its annual European Microfinance Week. One day will consist of meetings of e-MFP’s eight action groups: “investors in tier 2/3 microfinance institutions (MFIs),” “making microfinance investment responsible,” “microfinance and the environment,” “remittances,” “research in microfinance,” “rural outreach and innovation,” “university meets microfinance,” and “youth financial inclusion.” The other two days will consist of traditional conference sessions as well as the presentation of the sixth annual European Microfinance Award. Further details regarding the event are expected to be released before the end of April. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microsoft, MasterCard to Provide Payment, Technology Support for Micro-Business Owners in Mexico

Microsoft Corporation, a US-based technology firm, and MasterCard, a US-based financial services corporation with operations in 210 countries, have announced a partnership through which they will seek to enhance information technology, communication and payments for small-scale merchants in Mexico. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: 12th “University Meets Microfinance” Workshop, Enhancing Food Security and Resilience to Climate Change: What Role for Microfinance, June 11-12, 2015, Bergamo, Italy

Event Name: 12th “University Meets Microfinance” Workshop, Enhancing Food Security and Resilience to Climate Change: What Role for Microfinance

Event Date: June 11-12, 2015

Event Location: University of Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy

Summary of Event: This conference will bring together academics, practitioners and students working on a variety of topics related to financial inclusion. Discussions will center around climate change, food security and microfinance, including case studies of financial services being used to mitigate the impact of climate change on smallholder farmers and ensure food security for these individuals and their families. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Base of Pyramid Asia (BOPA) Buys 33% Equity Stake in Alliance for Microfinance in Myanmar (AMFIM)

For an undisclosed price, Base of Pyramid Asia (BOPA), a Singapore-based equity investor in small microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Asia, recently purchased a 33-percent stake in the Alliance for Microfinance in Myanmar (AMFIM), a deposit-taking MFI that was launched in Myanmar in 2014. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Grants $1.5m to Développement international Desjardins (DID) for Microfinance Operations in Central, West Africa

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), an agency of the United Nations, has chosen to prolong the mandate originally given in 2013 to Développement international Desjardins (DID), a nonprofit member of the Canada-based Desjardins Group, with a grant of USD 561,000 for microcredit in Cameroon. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s West Bengal State Offers MSMEs $8k via Unsecured “Micro Business Credit Cards,” Funded by $32m from State Bank of India

The government of the Indian state of West Bengal recently secured INR 2 billion (USD 32 million) from the government-owned State Bank of India to fund “Micro Business Credit Cards” for micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) to Host “Sustainable Investing: Risk, Value, Impact!” Conference, May 4-6, 2015, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Event Name: Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) 2015 Conference, “Sustainable Investing: Risk, Value, Impact!”

Event Date: May 4-6, 2015

Event Location: The Westin Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Summary of Event: This conference will focus on trends and emerging issues in sustainable and responsible investing. Topics of discussion will include shareholder advocacy, serving Latino and immigrant communities, addressing the need for low carbon energy sources, “place-based” investing, water investment risks and opportunities, and corporate governance structures. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Maize Insurance in Burkina Faso, Risks to Microfinance in Pakistan, Claims Analysis in Health Microinsurance

“Loan Protection for Maize Farmers in Burkina Faso;” by Barbara Magnoni and Danielle Sobol; published by The MicroInsurance Centre; 2014; 13 pages; available at http://www.microinsurancecentre.org/resources/documents/milk-brief-35-doing-the-math-loan-protection-for-maize-farmers-in-burkina-faso/download.html

This paper presents the findings of a study focusing on the impact of droughts, specifically the costs to maize farmers in Burkina Faso. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: USAID-Funded Lebanon Investment in Microfinance (LIM) Program Establishes Microfinance Association

Lebanon’s Ministry of Interior and Municipalities officially has approved the establishment of a microfinance association, whose membership will consist of the following Lebanese microfinance institutions (MFIs): Association for the Development of Rural Capacities, Association d’Entraide Professionnelle, Al Majmoua, Entrepreneurial Development Foundation, Emkan, Ibdaai Lebanon, Makhzoumi Foundation and Vitas. Continue reading