MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Ericsson, Rwandan Government to Launch “Rwanda Interconnect Switch” Linking Microfinance Institutions, Banks

Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (Ericsson), a Swedish communications technology and services corporation, recently announced that it has signed an agreement with the Rwandan Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to launch a national interoperability switch, known as the Rwanda Interconnect Switch (RIS), which is expected to be operational by early 2017.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Incofin’s AgRIF, DWM’s Inclusive Finance Equity Fund II Invest $4m in Crystal, a Georgian Microfinance Institution Focusing on Rural Areas

The Agricultural Rural Impulse Fund (agRIF) together with the Inclusive Finance Equity Fund II recently acquired share capital valued at GEL 9 million (approximately USD 4 million) in Joint Stock Company Microfinance Organization Crystal (Crystal), a Georgian microfinance institution.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Second China-UK Microfinance and Rural Finance Conference, July 5-6, 2016, Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom

Event Name: The Second Microfinance and Rural Finance Conference

Event Dates: July 5-6, 2016

Event Location: Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Foundation, Ideas42 Seek to Influence Mobile Money Behavior in the Philippines

Two US-based nonprofits, the microfinance-oriented Grameen Foundation and the behavioral design firm ideas42 recently launched a partnership to support financial inclusion in the Philippines by implementing a combination of behavioral science principles and digital financial services provided through mobile phones.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: C-Quadrat’s Dual Return Funds Loan $9.6m to Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Bolivia, Cambodia, Columbia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Paraguay, Zimbabwe

During April 2016, Austria’s C-Quadrat Asset Management GmbH issued loans worth the equivalent of USD 9.6 million via its two Dual Return Funds to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Bolivia, Cambodia, Columbia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Paraguay and Zimbabwe. USD 2 million of this total was invested in an MFI based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which has 181 service points and provides financial services to clients in rural regions of the country. Financial information on the organization is not available.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Equator Capital Acquires Minority Interest in Kenya’s Jamii Bora Bank

Equator Capital Partners LLC, a US-based fund manager, through its fund ShoreCap II Limited, recently acquired a minority interest in Jamii Bora Bank Limited, a commercial bank based in Kenya whose customer base is made up primarily of micro-savers and borrowers.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fairassets, Owner of Indian On-line Peer-to-Peer Lender Faircent, Sells Equity Stakes to Investors Including JM Financial, Aarin Capital, M&S Partners

JM Financial Limited, a financial services firm based in India, recently announced that it has acquired, through its subsidiary, JM Financial Products Limited, a 9.84-percent equity stake in Fairassets Technologies India Proprietary Limited, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: IDB Approves $120m Loan for Chile for Factoring, Cooperatives, Leasing for MSMEs

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a US-based multilateral finance institution that operates in Latin America and the Caribbean, recently approved a loan of USD 120 million to the Chilean government to finance the development of micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The loan is divided into three parts: (1) USD 50 million for factoring to “fund eligible entities that neither belong to nor are associated with banks”; (2) USD 50 million to lend to “eligible Savings and Lending Cooperatives”; and (3) USD 20 million for “eligible leasing companies that neither belong to nor are associated with a bank to help them finance MSMEs…” Factoring is a process whereby a company sells future goods or services at a discount in return for immediate cash.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MoneyGram Expands Operations in Equatorial Guinea Through 15 BANGE Branches

MoneyGram International, a US-based money transfer company, recently announced it has expanded its operations in Equatorial Guinea by launching services at 15 locations of Banco Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial (BANGE), a government-controlled bank.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Brazil’s CODEFAT Announces $1.4b Credit Line PROGER Urbano–Capital de Giro for Micro-, Small Businesses

The Conselho Deliberativo do Fundo de Amparo ao Trabalhador (CODEFAT, translated as Deliberative Council of the Worker Support Fund), a unit of the Brazilian government, recently announced a line of credit totalling BRL 5 billion (approximately USD 1.4 billion) to be made available as working capital for companies earning annual gross revenues of up to BRL 3.6 million (approximately USD 1 million).

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: Guidance on the Application of the Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision to Institutions Relevant to Financial Inclusion, published by the Basel Committee

“Guidance on the Application of the Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision to the Regulation and Supervision of Institutions Relevant to Financial Inclusion”, published by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, December 2015, 55 pages, available at http://www.bis.org/bcbs/publ/d351.pdf

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FINCA, First Access Partner in Africa on Alternative Credit Scoring, Incorporating Mobile Phone Usage

FINCA Microfinance Holding Company, an arm of US-based nonprofit microfinance network FINCA International, and First Access, a US-based financial technology company, recently partnered to create an alternative credit-scoring system to serve the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. This system aims to “establish credit scores for low-income clients who lack sufficient formal credit history to secure small loans to build businesses or support emerging personal needs.” Specific information on exactly how this system works is unavailable, but First Access typically analyzes demographic, geographic, financial and social aspects of clients’ mobile phone usage to predict credit risk.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) Loans $22m to Fibabanka of Turkey to Support Micro-, Small-scale Agriculture

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based microfinance investment vehicle (MIV), recently announced it has loaned Fibabanka, a Turkish commercial bank, EUR 20 million (approximately USD 22 million) to finance micro- and small enterprises (MSEs) working in the Turkish agricultural sector.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Ecobank, Old Mutual Partner to Distribute Microinsurance in Africa

Ecobank Group, an arm of Togo-based Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), and Old Mutual Emerging Markets, an arm of South Africa’s Old Mutual Group, recently announced an agreement to provide Ecobank’s customers with Old Mutual’s “life insurance, savings and short-term insurance solutions across a greater network on the African continent.” Specific plans for the rollout have not been released.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) Connects Deposit-taking Microfinance Institutions, Banks Through FAST Transfers; Increases Capital Requirements

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), the country’s central bank, recently announced various initiatives expected to boost Cambodia’s microfinance industry.