MICROCAPITAL STORY: India’s Ujjivan Increases Equity With Investments By Unitus Equity Fund, Bellwether Microfinance Fund, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Sequoia Capital, Lok Capital, India Financial Inclusion Fund and SIDBI

Ujjivan Financial Services, a Bangalore-based microfinance institution (MFI), has completed the fourth round of equity infusion by raising Rs 940 million (USD 18.7 million) making it the fourth highest capitalised MFI in India with total paid up capital and reserves standing at over Rs 1.08 billion (USD 21.5 million) The increase in capital was largely invested by existing shareholders including Unitus Equity Fund (UEF) managed by Elevar Equity L.L.C., Bellwether Microfinance Fund, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, A.W. Holdings and individual investors including promoter & CEO Samit Ghosh. The five new investors in this private placement transaction will include: Sequoia Capital, Lok Capital, Unitus Equity Fund II, India Financial Inclusion Fund and SIDBI. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: Citi Foundation and Jordan River Foundation Present 2008 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, Jordanian Government Pledges $7.1m to Local Microfinance Institutions (MFIs)

On November 16, the Citi Foundation, a philanthropic foundation dedicated to economic development, and the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), a Jordanian non-profit organization (NGO) focused on female entrepreneurship, held the 2008 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards ceremony for Jordan.? The two groups and the Jordanian government highlighted the active role that micro-credit plays in alleviating local poverty and honored individual micro-entrepreneurs, including ten women. ? The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC) also announced new funding initiatives for the microfinance sector.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: New Microfinance Foreign Exchange Risk Management Group, Cygma, Believes Credit Crunch Provides Business Opportunity

Cygma, the new microfinance foreign exchange (FX) risk management group, believes that the current financial situation is driving people in the microfinance industry to use foreign currency hedging facilities. The organisation will be launching its FX hedging products for illiquid and difficult-to-hedge emerging markets currencies in the first quarter of next year. These will be executed directly by the firm without reliance on third parties, supported by its USD 50 million capital reserve fund. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: New Insights Into The Impact of The Global Credit Crisis Envisage A Slow in Growth for Microfinance According to Reuters, World Bank, ACCION and YES Bank

Two stories on how the global financial crisis will impact microfinance were released this week, by Reuters and the World Bank. These reports are only the latest in a slew of reports and analyses on how microfinance will be impacted by the credit crisis, ranging from extremely cautious pessimism to undaunted optimism. While these new reports remain mostly speculative, with little documented evidence of actual changes, they offer fresh insights by experts in the microfinance industry into whether any impacts have been experienced a few months into the credit crisis. As there have been a myriad of articles on the topic, this article highlights the unique or new information addressed in the two reports, with a list of past articles on the topic listed in the Additional Reading section below for further information. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: Ethiopian Microfinance Institution Buusaa Gonofaa Wins the EUR 100,000 2nd European Microfinance Award for Social Responsibility Work

Buusaa Gonofaa, an Ethiopian microfinance institution (MFI) has won the 2nd European Microfinance Award, which is worth EUR 100,000 in prize money. The prize, provided by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, was announced at the European Microfinance Week event (12–14 Nov), hosted by the European Microfinance Platform. This year’s award was designed to recognise and reward microfinance players who had produced outstanding work in the area of social responsibility. Buusaa Gonofaa were rewarded for their development of an innovative system for determining customer needs and evaluating changes in their social well-being. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: Fransabank SAL and Ameen Launch New Microfinance Partnership to Provide Microfinance to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Lebanon’s Jbeil Region

On November 7, Fransabank SAL, an international commercial bank active primarily in the Middle East, and Ameen, a Lebanese microfinance institution (MFI), created a new microfinance partnership to help small businesses in the Jbeil region of Lebanon.  The program will enable owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to expand their businesses by providing them with loans that range from USD 337 (LBP 500,000) to USD 2,023 (LBP 3,000,000) with credit facilities ranging from six months to 18 months.  Loan applicants can also avail of technical and administrative support services. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: John Deere Foundation Grants $1.2 Million to Opportunity International to Fight Hunger in Africa

Opportunity International, one of the world’s largest microfinance organizations, received a $1.2 million grant from the John Deere Foundation to provide increased access to financing for the hunger-afflicted in Africa. OI forecasts that the grant will have a $10.6 million economic impact over the next three years. The grant will be used to benefit farmers, food processors and retailers and their ability to provide affordable food to the rural poor in Malawi and Mozambique. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL PAPER WRAP-UP: Innovations in Microfinance in Southeast Asia, by Gilberto M. Llanto and Ryu Fukui

Written by Gilberto M. Llanto and Ryu Fukui and based on secondary research carried out by the authors, released in July 2003 by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies as Discussion Paper No. 2003-11, 18 pages, available on November 16, 2008 at: http://econpapers.repec.org/paper/phddpaper/dp_5F2003-11.htm

Gilberto M. Llanto and Ryu Fukui describe the “emerging innovations” in microfinance observed through 2003 in Southeast Asian markets, innovations that made it possible for microfinance institutions (MFIs) to reach a greater number of poor households in a sustainable manner.  These innovations help reduce MFIs’ transaction costs and risks and enabled poor households to smooth their investment and consumption patterns.  While the paper also argues for government support of microfinance (p. 13-14), the rest of this paper wrap-up summarizes the nature and extent to which these three innovations have strengthened Southeast Asian microfinance. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: St. John’s University Announces a Student-Run Global Micro-Loan Program

St. John’s University’s Peter J. Tobin College of Business is introducing a student-run Micro-Loan Program that actively engages students in international finance. The initiative is being led by Ph.D. Dr. Linda Sama, St. John’s Associate Dean for Global Initiatives. Dr. Sama says that the program, which is scheduled to launch during the Spring 2009 semester, marks “the next stage in business education on the global level.” The program is also in line with St. John’s mission which includes “using the university’s intellectual and physical resources to search out the causes of poverty and social injustice and to encourage solutions which are adaptable, effective, and concrete.” The program has two goals: to explore the utility of microcredit as a tool for combating poverty in locales where banks are virtually non-existent and to expose students to the challenges of lending and collecting money in the developing world. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: Indonesia’s MBK Ventura, Egypt’s Al Tadamun, and Grameen Bank’s Nurjahan Begum Recognized at Grameen Foundation 2008 Awards

The achievements of the Grameen Bank‘s Nurjahan Begum, Indonesia’s Mitra Bisnis Keluarga (MBK) Ventura, and Egypt’s Al Tadamun were recognized on November 12, 2008 at the Grameen Foundation’s 2008 Awards in Washington D.C. The awards were held in conjunction with its annual Knowledge Sharing Roundtable discussion, which this year discussed the implications of the global financial crisis on microfinance. Nurjahan Begum received the Susan M. Davis Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in microfinance for over 30 years, including her efforts to organize women in Bangladesh’s poorest villages and leading the fight for the rights of disadvantaged women. MBK Ventura of Indonesia received the Excellence in Microfinance Award for its leadership its efforts to ensure that Indonesia’s poorest citizens receive financial services, and Al Tadamun of Egypt was awarded the Pioneer in Microfinance Award in recognition of its program to provide financial services to Cairo’s poorest women. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: Partnership for Lebanon Announces New Microfinance and Development Initiatives With Over 1 Million in Funding From Cisco, Relief International, Intel and Microsoft

The Partnership for Lebanon (PFL), an organization focused on creating sustainable social and economic growth in the region, recently hosted an event highlighting the creation of several new initiatives by some partner organizations. The event brought together Lebanese business sector leaders, economic organizations, various governmental entities, press and partners. Cisco Systems and Intel Corporation were a few of the organizations on hand to present the new programs. Continue reading

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