MICROCAPITAL STORY: Malawi Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Makes Progress in Completing Customization of Microfinance and Financial Cooperatives Bills; Efforts to Pass the Bills Could Be Hampered by Parliamentary Delays

Malawi Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, an executive branch agency responsible for the country’s legal sector, reported that work to complete customization of the Microfinance and Financial Cooperatives bills is close to an end. This progress is further confirmed by Anthony Kamanga, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, who mentioned in an interview that there was solid progress. However, Mr. Kamanga cautioned that efforts could be hampered by parliamentary processes, and added that, “the problem we always face to ensure that these draft bills see the light of the (sic) day has been working with parliament; we cannot dictate things to them…and waiting for them always leads into unnecessary delays.” Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: Kazakhstan Prime Minister Calls for Schemes to Improve the Functioning of MicroCredit Organizations in Rural Areas; Appoints Deputy Prime Minister to Coordinate the Efforts

The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Karim Massimov, has called for schemes to coordinate the functioning of microlending systems in the rural areas of the country. According to a press release found on the state-run news agency, Kazakh National Information Agency (Kazinform), the Prime Minister appointed Umirzak Shukeyev, the Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, to coordinate the efforts. The PM has commissioned the Deputy PM to coordinate specifically the activities of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Kazakhstan based public entrepreneurship development fund, Damu. The release quoted the PM as saying that because several past decisions taken by the Government, with regard to microlending in the rural areas, had not yet translated to action, such measures for coordination were necessary. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Considers Separate Body to Supervise Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), Cooperatives and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the central bank of Nepal, is considering creating a separate regulatory organization to supervise microfinance development banks by reassigning its present responsibilities to it. According to Gopal Prasad Kafle, Executive Director of Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank is developing a preliminary plan for the Micro-Finance Act, which would provide for the establishment of this body. After the Act goes into effect, Nepal Rastra Bank will transfer its present responsibilities of regulating microfinance, cooperatives, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to the new regulatory body. The same Act will also have a provision for establishing a national microfinance development fund to back micro-credit institutions and strengthen their capacity. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: South Korean Microfinance Sector Receives Public Subsidies while Citibank Funds $139K to Joyful Union to Create a ‘Sustainable Microcredit Model’

In the wake of the financial crisis in South Korea, funds have been allocated towards microfinance from both the public and private sectors.  First, Citibank Korea announced that it would grant USD 139,000 and continue its partnership with microfinance institution (MFI) Joyful Union in a project called “Creating a sustainable microcredit model in Korea.”  Then the Government of Korea announced that it too would increase its support of low-income businesses by subsidizing loans and credit guarantees to self employed street vendors and shop owners.  Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: Depositors in Rwanda Approach the Ombudsman’s Office for Help to Recover their Deposits From Corrupt Microfinance Institutions

Nearly two years after the crackdown on corrupt Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Rwanda by the Central Bank of Rwanda (BNR), depositors are still struggling to retrieve their deposits caught up with the fraudulent MFIs. According to a press release found on AllAfrica.com, in an effort to collect their money, depositors have decided to file their concerns with Rwanda’s Ombudsman’s office. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: Indian Bank Launches The Latest Of Its Rural Development Initiatives, Financial Literacy and Credit Counselling Centres (FLCC) and Micro State Branches, to Support Microfinance

Indian Bank, a Government-owned banking institution, has established the first of its Financial Literacy and Credit Counselling Centres (FLCC) in Dharmapuri, one of the 32 districts in Tamil Nadu on the Southeast coast of India. The FLCCs are being established under the umbrella of the newly created Indian Bank Trust for Rural Development (IBTRD). FLCCs will provide information on various financial products and services and advice on managing debt and finances as well as helping people to understand their rights and responsibilities with regards to finances. A proposed second FLCC may open in Puducherry a Union Territory bordering Tamil Nadu. The FLCCs will provide information at no charge to the client. Additionally, training institutes entitled Indian Bank Self Employment Training Institute will be established under the IBTRD in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) Provides EUR 5m Loan to Macedonian Commercial Bank, TTK Banka A.D. Skopje (TTK); Fund will be Used to Provide Microloans to Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) in Macedonia

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg based microfinance fund has agreed to lend EUR 5 million to TTK Banka A.D. Skopje (TTK), a commercial bank based in Skopje, Macedonia as part of a loan agreement to help TTK further expand its outreach to micro and small entrepreneurs in the Republic of Macedonia. In a news release found on the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management website, Nikolche Petkoski, a member of the Board of Directors at TTK said that the loan, which would help TTK to support and increase access to finance for micro and small businesses in Macedonia, was particularly important during the present ‘times of economic uncertainty’. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: Three Injured in Nicaragua as Thousands Demand Moratorium on Debt Repayment to Microfinance Institutions

The Latin American Herald Tribune reported that thousands of farmers and small businessmen gathered on the night of Monday, January 12, to protest against high interest rates of microfinance institutions in the community of Tipitapa. They lit fire to a number of tires creating a blockade of traffic on the Pan American Highway just north of the Nicaraguan capital, Managua. The protest lasted until early morning on Tuesday, and culminated as the National Police used tear gas to clear away resistant protestors armed with guns, clubs, and stones. Two policemen and one civilian were injured, and 160 were arrested. Paramedics treated hundreds of others who were hurt by the tear gas. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Engineers for Social Impact (E4SI) 2009 Fellowship Program

APPLICATIONS BECOME AVAILABLE ONLINE ON JANUARY 15, 2009 AND ARE DUE BY FEBRUARY 22, 2009.

Engineers for Social Impact (E4SI) has commenced its second annual rigorous recruitment process to match the most talented ten undergraduate students from fifteen elite Indian engineering schools with partner social enterprises that focus on development by means of sustainable for-profit entrepreneurship. E4SI fellowships promise to be highly entrepreneurial in a way that combines the best of consulting, technology, and social innovation. Fellows will gain unprecedented access to the development sector as they work with leading social entrepreneurs, attend leadership workshops at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, and pitch their ideas to thought leaders as they join an outstanding cohort of exceptional young leaders.

Partner social enterprises for the 2009 edition of the E4SI fellowship program are leaders in microfinance, multiple bottom-line investment advisory, education, energy, and healthcare. Among them are: Ujjivan, Intelicap, iDiscoveri, and Solar Electric Light Company (SELCO India).

For more information on the Engineers for Social Impact fellowship and details on how to apply for the 2009 edition, please visit the E4SI website. Applications are due on February 22, 2009.

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: US Secretary of State Designate Hilary Clinton Refers to Obama’s Mother, Ann Dunham; Implies Microfinance Would be an Important Part of her Agenda

At a confirmation hearing before the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, US Secretary of State designate Hilary Clinton, while speaking briefly about President-elect Barack Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, implied that microfinance would be an important part of the Obama administration’s agenda. Senator Clinton noted that Ann Dunham had worked on microfinance in Indonesia and that she had been scheduled to attend a microfinance forum at a United Nations conference in Beijing in 1995, which Ms. Clinton attended. Ms. Dunham, however, could not make it to the conference as she was diagnosed with cancer that eventually claimed her life few months after the conference. MicroCapital recently reported on Ann Dunham’s work as a researcher and practitioner of microfinance in Indonesia and her philosophy on the empowerment of women as a means to address poverty. Hilary Clinton also expressed similar sentiments at the hearing where she stated how, through her work on microfinance around the world, she had ‘seen firsthand how small loans given to poor women to start small businesses can raise standards of living and transform local economies’. Continue reading