MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: TBC Bank to Acquire ProCredit Bank Georgia’s Microcredit Portfolio

TBC Bank, a commercial bank that was founded in 1992 in Georgia as the Tblisi Business Centre, reportedly will acquire the microcredit portfolio of ProCredit Bank Georgia (PCBG), a financial institution that is majority-owned by Germany-based ProCredit Holding. As of January 2015, PCBG’s gross microloan portfolio amounted to GEL 39.3 million (USD 19.2 million). These loans, defined as those smaller than EUR 10,000 (USD 11,300), represent 5 percent of PCBG’s total loan portfolio. The purpose of the move is to allow PCBG to concentrate on the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Orange, Ecobank Partner to Launch Mobile Money Service in Mali with Plans to Expand Across Africa

Orange, a French provider of telephone and Internet service in 30 countries, and EcoBank Transnational Incorporated (EcoBank), a Togo-based bank operating in 28 countries, recently launched a mobile banking service that will enable Orange Money subscribers to transfer money between Ecobank accounts. As of February 5, both companies signed a partnership agreement to launch the service in Mali, and they plan to expand to Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Conakry, Niger, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the future. Customers also will be able to check their account balances, receive “mini-statements” via short message service (SMS, also known as text messaging) and top-up their Orange Money e-wallets [1].  Continue reading

SPECIAL FEATURE: Are Microfinance Institutions and Investors Removed from Business Reality?

This opinion piece was contributed by David MacDougall, a consultant based in the US city of New York.

Microfinance inspires optimism. Investors – especially private equity investors – anticipate handsome returns; aid agencies see strong social impact; and microfinance institution (MFI) managers are certain they can grow themselves out of every tight situation. While microfinance can play an important role in development, most MFIs nevertheless are relatively simple financial institutions that need to be grounded in sound market and business principles rather than pie-in-the-sky expectations. These “Business 101″ principles, which may sound like common sense truisms, in my experience, have not trickled down to many MFIs. In over 10 years of examining the viability of MFI business models as an analyst and risk manager, I have seen decision makers fail again and again to do reality checks. What’s still urgently needed is sound market analysis and professional risk management. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Decree in Belarus Requires Microfinance Organizations to Register with National Bank Within 6 Months

The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB), the central banking authority of the country, has announced that organizations providing microfinance services in the country have six months to register with the bank to comply with the guidelines set forth in “Decree No. 325,” a presidential order “on the raising and provision of loans, the operation of microfinance organizations” [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to Invest $17m in Equity in European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) to Support MSME Financing in Ukraine

The German government’s Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) has agreed to invest equity in the amount of EUR 15 million (USD 17 million) in the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based microfinance investment vehicle (MIV). This new investment, which is in the highest risk “first-loss” tranche of EFSE, raises BMZ’s total commitment to the fund to approximately EUR 175 million (USD 200 million). The infusion will be used to provide local-currency financing to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Ukraine. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Winter Meeting; February 10, 2015; New York City, USA

Event Name: Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Winter Meeting

Event Date: February 10, 2015

Event Location: Grand Hyatt New York at Grand Central Terminal, New York, New York, USA

Cost: There is no fee to attend the event, although participants may attend by invitation only.

Summary of Event: The attendees will discuss current world development challenges, such as how to sustainably connect small-farmers with markets, the implementation of long-term investment strategies to build resilient health services, how to decrease skills gaps in the marketplace and methods for protecting and managing water resources. Members will be encouraged to create collective action plans around specific development challenges.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Loans $29m to Government of Uganda in Effort to Bring Financial Inclusion, Improved Nutrition to 576k Rural Households

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), an agency of the United Nations that aims to alleviate poverty in rural areas, recently extended a loan of USD 29 million to the government of Uganda to support the Project for Financial Inclusion in Rural Areas (PROFIRA). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Dutch Pension Fund PGB to Invest $22.6m in Actiam Institutional Microfinance Fund III

Persoonsgebonden Budget (PGB), the pension fund for the Dutch printing industry and formerly SNS Asset Management, will invest EUR 20 million (USD 22.6 million) to Actiam Institutional Microfinance Fund III, which is managed by Actiam Impact Investing. An arm of asset manager Actiam, Actiam Impact Investing provides debt and subdebt funding to microfinance institutions (MFIs) [1] [2].  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Vikram Akula Buys 26% Stake in India’s Vaya Finserv

Vikram Akula, the founder and former chairman of Indian group-lender SKS Microfinance, recently bought 26-percent stake in the start-up Vaya Finserv. Launched in 2014, Vaya Finserv has plans to acquire a “small finance bank” license, which will it will use to provide credit to individuals in India who have been rejected by traditional banks, primarily women’s self-help groups. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nigeria’s Bank of Industry (BOI) Earmarks $105m for Micro-, Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Country

The Bank of Industry (BOI), which was established by the Nigerian government to promote domestic sectors such as agriculture and finance in Nigeria, recently earmarked NGN 19.8 billion (USD 105 million) to support micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Continue reading

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: e-MFP Survey of Investors in Tier 2/3 Microfinance Institutions; The Business of Doing Good; Benchmarking Inclusive Growth and Development

“Annual Survey 2014, e-MFP Action Group of Investors in Tier 2/3 MFIs;” prepared by Gabriela Erice, Daniel Rozas and e-MFP in collaboration with the e-MFP Action Group of Investors in Tier-2/3 Microfinance Institutions; published by the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP); 2015; 22 pages, available at http://www.e-mfp.eu/sites/default/files/resources/2015/01/Annual%20Survey%202014%20-%20final.pdf

The “Investors in Tier 2/3 MFIs Action Group” of the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), a Luxembourg-based network of approximately 130 microfinance organizations and individuals, has released the results of its third annual survey detailing the analysis of investments of the action group members for the year 2013 [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Loans $45.3m to Union bancaire pour le commerce et l’industrie (UBCI) of Tunisia for On-lending to Micro-, Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral institution headquartered in London, has announced that it will loan EUR 40 million (USD 45.3 million) to Union bancaire pour le commerce et l’industrie (UBCI), the Tunisian commercial banking subsidiary of BNP Paribas, a French financial group. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: DEG, EBRD Loan $10m – Part in Local Currency – to Bai Tushum of Kyrgyz Republic for On-lending to Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)

The Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft GmbH (DEG), a German development finance institution offering long-term project and company financing, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral institution headquartered in London, have announced that the two institutions will collectively loan the equivalent of USD 10 million to Bai Tushum Bank (BTB), a provider of microfinance services in the Kyrgyz Republic. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Union (EU), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Launch $78m Program to Support Small, Medium-sized Enterprises in Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine

The European Union (EU) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral institution headquartered in London, have announced a joint program to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Movistar, MasterCard Collaborate to Launch Mobile Money Service “Tu Dinero Móvil” in Peru

Movistar, the Spanish mobile phone operator owned by Telefónica S.A., and MasterCard, the US-based payments and technology company, recently launched “Tu dinero móvil” (Your mobile money), which reportedly is the first electronic money service operating in Peru [1]. The service will allow Movistar’s 16 million mobile users in Peru to perform financial transactions such as depositing and withdrawing money, refilling mobile balances and purchasing goods in the 65,000 establishments in Peru that are affiliated with MasterCard [2].  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Développement international Desjardins (DID) to Establish 4 More Entrepreneur Financial Centers in Tunisia, Elsewhere in Africa, Latin America

Développement international Desjardins (DID), a Canadian nonprofit providing technical support and investment for the community finance sector in emerging economies, has announced that it will establish four new entrepreneur financial centers (EFCs) in Africa and Latin America. Continue reading