MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Taps Albania Agribusiness Support Facility (AASF) to Back $60m in Loans for Farmers, Related Firms

Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, a subsidiary of Italy-based Intesa Sanpaolo, recently partnered with the Albania Agribusiness Support Facility (AASF), a funding vehicle established by

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Central Bank of Myanmar Clears the Air by Issuing Mobile Financial Services License for OK Dollar

Myanmar’s Internet Wallet Limited reportedly has received a mobile financial services license from the Central Bank of Myanmar to cover the operations of its subsidiary, OK Dollar,

SPECIAL REPORT: Saleh Usman Gashua of AFRACA on Creating Value for SMEs at SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance)

MicroCapital: What is your perspective on the theme of SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) this year, “Creating Value for SMEs: A New Frontier for Inclusive Finance”?

Saleh Usman Gashua: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa are facing numerous challenges, especially in accessing finance. SMEs, particularly those in the “missing middle,” comprise a segment whose growth and development will go a long way in generating jobs for young Africans. With 11 million youth entering Africa’s labour market each year, we cannot ignore SMEs. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) and other organizations serving these enterprises therefore have a major role to play in the future of Africa. I hope this edition of SAM will generate a range of concrete solutions for this segment.

MC: Your organization, the African Rural & Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA), is one of several networks that collaborated to create SAM.

SUG: Organizing a forum of this magnitude is by no means an easy task! Given the experience of AFRACA organizing similar forums in the past, we know that a partnership approach is necessary. The coordination process so far has been seamless, with the lead institution, ADA, facilitating

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Akhuwat, AlHuda Center of Islamic Banking and Economics Hosting 7th Global Islamic Microfinance Forum; November 24-25, 2017; Istanbul, Turkey

Event Name: Seventh Global Islamic Microfinance Forum: “Evidence of Impact – Financial Inclusion”

Event Dates: Conference: November 24 – November 25, 2017; Post-conference workshop: November 27 – November 28, 2017

Event Location: Istanbul Lütfi K?rdar International Convention and Exhibition Center; Istanbul, Turkey

Summary of Event: The primary objective of this event is to “create awareness of Islamic microfinance for the benefit of humankind.” Islamic microfinance consists of services conducted according to Shariah law, which includes a prohibition on charging interest in favor of concepts such as the sharing of profit and loss. The event will feature approximately 40 speakers from 30 countries covering topics including: the potential of Islamic microfinance; funding challenges faced by Islamic microfinance institutions (MFIs); the “Qarz-e-Hasan” model of Islamic microfinance; and “Micro Takaful, Waqf and Zakat – Supportive elements for Islamic microfinance.” AlHuda will also host a two day post-conference workshop called “Islamic Agriculture and Rural Finance.”

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: ADB Donates $150k to Cantilan Bank of the Philippines to Migrate to Oradian Cloud Banking Software

The Philippine’s Cantilan Bank recently received grant funds of USD 150,000 from the Manila-based Asian Development Bank to migrate its operations to Instafin, a cloud-based software product from Croatia-based Oradian. The migration is expected to help Cantilan carry out its “day-to-day operations more effectively and serve their clients more efficiently.” Cantilan Executive Vice President Tanya Hotchkiss said, “This has given Cantilan more capacity to focus on our core business and financial inclusion

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Entrepreneur Financial Centre (EFC) Tunisia Receiving Technical Assistance from International Finance Corporation (IFC), Opening New Branch in Sfax

Entrepreneurs Financial Centre (EFC) Tunisia, a for-profit microfinance institution based in Tunis, recently arranged to receive advisory services from the International Finance

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fundación Paraguaya Offering Loans in Paraguay for Stoves with Lower Environmental Impact, Supported by DiD, Econoler, IDB

Fundación Paraguaya, a Paraguay-based non-governmental organization, recently introduced a credit product intended to facilitate “the purchase of environmentally friendly technology,” particularly induction stoves, which run on electricity rather than gas or charcoal. In a pilot program, 383 women who purchased induction stoves

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Calvert Foundation Buys $5m in Subordinated Notes from Eco.Business Fund in Effort to Mitigate Climate Change in Latin America

The Calvert Social Investment Foundation, a US-based institution supporting the “social and environmental impact sectors,” recently invested USD 5 million in the Eco.Business Fund, a lender to financial institutions in Latin America that seek to mitigate climate change. The financing is in the form of subordinated notes, the first time the Eco.Business Fund has borrowed in this manner.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: The Microfinance Centre’s (MFC’s) Alternative Finance Forum; October 5, 2017; Warsaw, Poland

Event Name: Alternative Finance Forum

Event Location: Copernicus Conference Centre; Warsaw, Poland

Summary of Event: This forum aims to “introduce new forms of financial services” while covering topics including equity-based crowdfunding, social impact bonds, online lenders to small businesses and peer-to-peer lending platforms. The event has support from the European Union and its European Investment Bank Institute.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: UK-based Humaniq Harnesses Blockchain, Biometrics To Launch Mobile Money Service in Ghana, Asia, South America

Humaniq, a London-based technology company, recently announced the launch of its “blockchain-powered financial inclusion app,” which allows users to send and receive money. Humaniq has

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Indonesian Online Lender UangTeman Raises $12m in Equity Funding for Consumer Loans, Research and Development

UangTeman, an Indonesian firm offering online loans of up to USD 350, recently announced it has secured USD 12 million in Series A funding from