PAPER WRAP-UP: Globalization of Microfinance Markets: an Overview and Some Conditions for Success by Dr. Jairo Morales-Nieto

Written by Dr. Jairo Morales-Nieto, Executive Director of local economic development consultants InterAfrica Corporate Ltd, this 10-page discussion on the necessary steps to transition from local to global microfinance markets was published in January 2008. Dr. Morales-Nieto asserts that rigorous filters and conditions must be observed by all players for microfinance to successfully enter into global financial markets. The full-version of the paper is available here. Continue reading

WHO’S WHO IN MICROFINANCE: Aloysius P. Fernandez

Aloysius P. Fernandez is the Executive Director, as well as board member, of Bangalore-based Mysore Resettlement and Development Agency (MYRADA), a non-governmental organization (NGO) in India which provides training programs for rural development in the Indian states of Karnataka, Andhrapradesh, and Tamil Nadu as well as staff support to 6 other states and promotion of the Self-help Affinity Strategy in Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. MYRADA also publishes on various topics such as watershed development—projects which pursue better management of natural water resources—and NGO-government collaboration.

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: Al Huda to Conduct Training Workshop in Islamabad on Islamic Microfinance

TRAINING WORKSHOP ON ISLAMIC MICROFINANCE

MARCH 7-8, 2008, STATE BANK OF PAKISTAN, ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN

The Al Huda Center of Islamic Banking and Economics (Al Huda CIBE), an institute based in Lahore and comprised of Pakistani academics and practitioners in the field of Islamic finance, will hold a two-day workshop introducing the basics of Islamic microfinance and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as presenting updated practices in the field. Convening at the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in Islamabad, the seminar will cover issues specific to Islam, such as the role of the takaful in microfinance—a form of mutual insurance entailing the pooling of a group’s monies into one common fund which is managed according to shariah law—as well as the interest-free loaning mechanism known as musharaka which is the joint participation of the investor and borrower in the profit and loss of an investment rather than a conventional loan with a risk-determined interest rate. The workshop will also delve into the SBP’s plans for the future development of Islamic finance in Pakistan as well as outreach and development associated with Islamic SMEs and microfinance. The SBP issued new guidelines for Islamic microfinance services within Pakistan in late 2007, as reported by MicroCapital. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), in Agreement with Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Rolls Out New Housing Mircofinance Product for the Economically Active Poor

In February 2008, the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) approved a new microfinance product designed specifically for housing. The new initiative was jointly proposed by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), and is part of a government-mandated initiative to provide housing solutions for the poor.   The initiative is crucial as nearly 33 percent of Filipino families live below the poverty line.  However, the viability of the plan is yet untested: the BSP’s close scrutiny of microfinance operations has alienated banks in the past, driving them away from offering the small, risky loans.  Another such government-mandated plan might actually undermine the impact of the loan product. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: Wall Street Journal Interviews Muhammad Yunus and Discusses Grameen America

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), a leading business publication, interviewed Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, in an article titled “Muhammad Yunus: Subprime Lender”. The article covered Mr. Yunus’ entrance into U.S.’s microcredit market and his approach to credit lending. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: World Vision International (WVI) Announces 48.8 Percent Growth in Microfinance Clientèle of the Middle East and Eastern Europe Region (MEER)

Fiscal year 2007 saw growth in the Middle East/Eastern Europe Region (MEER) according to World Vision International’s (WVI) local office based in Cyprus. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) grew their clientele to over 100,000, a 48.8 percent increase, with most of the growth coming from Eastern Europe. The total MEER portfolio grew to USD 203 million in 2007. Previous MEER portfolio figures were unavailable. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Microfinance Pioneer Muhammad Yunus to Deliver Keynote Address at PODER Magazine’s Philanthropy Forum Devoted to the Americas in Miami, Florida

PODER PHILANTHROPY FORUM

MARCH 11-12, 2008, GUSMAN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, MIAMI, FLORIDA

PODER Magazine, a monthly publication written for business and political elite focusing on the growing influence of Latin America and the US Hispanic community, announced on Tuesday that it will be hosting, along with its partners, a Philanthropy Forum designed to encourage increased collaboration by gathering global practitioners and scholars as well as to foster innovation in private and corporate philanthropy in the region. According to the PR Newswire release, co-sponsoring partners include the City of Miami, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Foreign Policy magazine, Georgetown University, Impremedia, the Inter-American Development Bank, Miami Dade College, the Miami Herald Publishing Company, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Knight Foundation), Synergos.org, and Univision. Continue reading

PAPER WRAP-UP: Do Microfinance Programs in Bangladesh Increase Household Ability to Deal with Economic Hardships?

Written by Serajul Hoque, graduate associate at the Department of Economics at Monash University in Australia, this study briefly investigates the impact of microcredit on rural Bangladeshi households.  Published in January 2008, the paper is based on a RAND survey conducted over four years, and suggests a possible relationship between a household’s membership in a microfinance program, specifically the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC, previously reported), and an increased ability to financially withstand economic hardships.  Available online at http://www.microfinancegateway.org/content/article/detail/46789. Continue reading