Event Name: Committing to Action: Accelerating Financial Inclusion through Partnership in Uganda
Event Date: January 17 – 18, 2017
Event Location: City Royal Resort Hotel, Kampala, Uganda
Summary of Event: This event will focus on the current state of financial inclusion in Uganda. On Day 1 speakers will discuss methods for increasing the presence of women in the workplace, implementing digital solutions, and “product development for rural outreach and agriculture” . Day 2 will focus on Continue reading →
Switzerland-based Symbiotics SA, which specializes in micro-, small and medium-sized enterprise investment, recently issued bonds for two Armenian banks: USD 5 million for ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank and USD 3.7 million for Armeconombank (AEB). The latter was the second of two tranches this year totaling USD 10 million for AEB. All of these transactions were intermediated through Continue reading →
The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), a development finance institution of the Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB), and Dragon Capital Partners, the venture capital and private equity arm of Ukraine-based Dragon Capital Group, recently announced the intention to develop the Silk-way Growth Fund, a Sharia-compliant investment fund benefitting “high growth” small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in manufacturing in Kazakhstan. Continue reading →
WorldRemit, a UK-based online money transfer service, recently announced that it will partner with Mobile Telecommunications Network Group (MTN), a South Africa-based telecommunications provider; Express Union, a Cameroon-based financial services firm; and Banque Atlantique, a Togo-based retail bank, to offer digital remittance services in Cameroon. Continue reading →
Event Name: Digital Financial Services: Are We Realising Their Full Potential?
Event Date: January 19, 2017
Event Location: Citigroup Centre, 33 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, UK
Cost: There is no registration fee, but in order to attend you must purchase a membership to the Financial Inclusion Forum unless it is your first time at one of the organization’s events.
Summary of Event: This event will address concerns regarding digital financial services and how to move beyond the focus on payments to increase the availability and usage of savings, credit and insurance. Continue reading →
The Currency Exchange Fund (TCX), which is based in the Netherlands, recently raised USD 10 million from the UN-managed Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) to reduce the cost of foreign-exchange hedging for “impact lenders” funding microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Myanmar. TCX provides this hedging service, absorbing the currency-exchange risk on the loans, so the lenders can commit US dollars while the MFIs access funding denominated in kyat. Via multiple microloan repayment cycles over three years, the MFIs are expected to gain sufficient liquidity from the LIFT-supported facility to fund Continue reading →
Austria’s C-Quadrat Asset Management informed MicroCapital today that its Dual Return Vision Microfinance and Dual Return Vision Microfinance-Local Currency funds loaned a total approximately equivalent to USD 22 million during November to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Continue reading →
The Entrepreneurs Financial Centre (EFC) of Tunisia, a microfinance institution (MFI) operated by Canada’s Développement International Desjardins (DID), recently obtained an equity investment of EUR 1 million (USD 1.1 million) from Société de Promotion et de Participation pour La Coopération Economique (Proparco), a development finance institution of the French government’s Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD). AFD also committed EUR 1 million (USD 1.1 million) for Continue reading →
Symbiotics SA, a Swiss firm specializing in micro-, small and medium-sized enterprise investment, recently issued bonds totaling EUR 10 million (USD 10.6 million) for Coris Bank International SA, an institution in Burkina Faso whose mission includes a particular emphasis on serving small and medium-sized enterprises. The issue was transacted through Continue reading →
The roles of MFIs in financial systems vary significantly from country to country, even within the Mekong region. Somphone Sisenglath, Managing Director of Ekphatthana Microfinance Institution, described the Lao industry as “very young,” with the median MFI just three years old. Most MFIs operate in the capital, Vientiane, while 80 percent of the population is rural. Since it often takes an hour to travel between villages, it is very expensive Continue reading →
Event Date: March 21-22, 2017; optional field visits on March 23, 2017
Event Location: JW Marriott Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam
Event Summary: Themed “Advancing Financial Inclusion in a Digital Age,” this event will include plenaries on topics such as collaboration and regulating digital financial services. Breakout sessions will address topics such as blockchain technology, gender, serving youth and reaching “the last mile.” On March 23, participants may visit with staff and clients of either Tinh Thuong Microfinance Institution or Continue reading →
FarmDrive, a for-profit Kenyan organization seeking to reduce the risk of lending to farmers, recently received an undisclosed amount of technical assistance funding from CGAP, a US-based NGO also known as the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, to allow it to use satellite data on “planting cycles, crop yields, and trends in production to help forecast future revenues, timing of income and potential Continue reading →
Symbiotics, a Swiss firm specializing in micro-, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) investment, recently issued bonds for two Central American banks serving SMEs. This included bonds totaling USD 15.7 million for Inversiones Financieras Promerica, the Salvadoran unit of Grupo Promerica, which was founded in Nicaragua and now serves nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Symbiotics also issued its second tranche of 2016 for Costa Rica’s Banco Improsa in the amount of Continue reading →
This discussion of supporting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) centered on (1) building systems to boost institutions’ confidence in lending to the sector; and (2) the non-financial needs of MSMEs.
Gerald Sun, Vice President, Head of Sales for Commercial Payments Asia/Pacific at MasterCard Worldwide, said “the banks have trouble making a risk assessment cheaply enough. They lend to big organizations based on their income. For SMEs [small and medium enterprises], they revert to looking at assets as they would for consumer lending. The bank can value a house or car, but not a ton of fertilized chicken eggs.” MasterCard is addressing this issue by Continue reading →
The US-based multilateral World Bank Group (WBG) recently announced that 16 additional financial institutions have committed to partner to work toward “universal financial access” (UFA) by 2020, bringing the size of the group to 30 organizations. The new partners, which have committed to helping a total of 168 million people open new transaction accounts by 2020, are:
(1) the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, which operates in Africa, Asia and the Middle East;
(2) Ant Financial (Ali Baba Group) of China; Continue reading →
The assembled regulators and trade group leaders offered a litany of current and soon-to-be-released strategies to create a nurturing environment for pro-client financial services. It is critically important to Continue reading →
D.light, a privately-owned retailer of solar appliances based in the US city of San Francisco, recently raised USD 22.5 million in funding to expand its PayGo platform, which offers microloans to finance purchases of solar products. Continue reading →