Microfinance in Rural Areas in Haiti: The Experience of Fonkoze and of its Diaspora
April 6, 2009, Montreal, Canada
The Jeune Chambre de Commerce Haïtienne of Montreal (JCCH) and the new Montreal Microfinance Club invite you to a discussion with Katleen Félix, Project Director at Fonkoze, Haiti. Fonkoze has offered microfinance in Haiti for almost 15 years and has a presence in more than 40 rural regions. The institution has a base of approximately 190,000 depositors and 55,000 borrowers. Ms. Félix will present Fonkoze Haiti, its recent initiatives and her decision to work in this industry and in Haiti. Junia Barreau Vice-Consul for Investment, Commerce and Tourism of the Haitian Consulate, will be also present to answer questions.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Fundación Telefónica have recently presented a report on mobile communications and access to financial services in Latin America. The report is a result of a dialogue between public and private sector leaders, carried out through a series of workshops organized by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) – a division of the IDB – and Fundación Telefónica. The report analyses the level of development of mobile technologies and financial services in eight countries throughout Latin America and the Carribean. A copy of the report was still unavailable at the time of this release.
Market Research for Microfinance Managers
April 15-17, 2009, Hyderabad, India
Microfinance Connect, in association with Sambodhi Research and Communications, is conducting a training program on ‘Market Research for Microfinance Managers’ from Apr 15-17, 2009 at Hyderabad, India. The need for the training stems from the fact that market research, which is a generally widely accepted and employed science to collect and analyze relevant data about customers/ competitors and markets, has found limited usage in Microfinance. The supply side potential for microfinance is immense with a large population out of reach of formal financial systems and this makes it tougher for organizations to transition from supply driven to demand driven growth. Hence, there is a need to sensitize and capacitate microfinance practitioners towards understanding the market in greater detail and appreciating specific needs of customers. Thus, according to the organizers, the main aim of the training is to address this need and to create more use for market research in the microfinance industry.
According to a report in The Times of India, three Indian MFIs will begin offering home loan products to the rural poor. SKS Microfinance, Madura Micro Finance and Grama Vidiyal all plan to start rolling out home loans and home improvement loans to borrowers with good repayment records. According to Tara Thiagarajan, Chairman of Madura Micro Finance, the low cost construction model used by the rural poor has prompted the MFIs to offer the loans. Most people in Indian villages own plots and construct their own homes using indigenous materials.
Written by Robert Peck Christen, working draft made available for field-testing, recommendations invited at email@example.com, released June 2005 by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), 39 pages, full-text available at: http://www.microfinancegateway.org/files/26200_file_26200.pdf
According to a report in the Phnom Penh Post, Cambodian microfinance institutions predict that as the economic crisis spreads, their level of non-performing loans (NPLs) will grow. “Our major concern now is that nonperforming loans will go up,” said Bun Mony, a member of the board of the Cambodian Microfinance Association (CMA) and chairman of Sathapana Limited, a Cambodian MFI with 37,000 clients. “We forecast that NPLs will increase to 1 percent or higher this year due to the economic downturn that is affecting our clients’ incomes.” According to Bun Mony, the NPL rate at his institution was only 0.16 percent at the same time last year. Even as the global economy slows, Bun Mony still expects his overall loan portfolio to grow. Sathapana lent USD 37.5 million last year and expects that to rise to USD 44.5 million in 2009.
In the face of client protection failures in the mainstream financial sector, the first meeting of the Steering Committee for the Campaign for Client Protection in Microfinance was hosted by the Center for Financial Inclusion at ACCION International. The meeting was attended by members of the committee which comprises of twenty-three leaders from various microfinance organizations representing a diversity of regions, types of institutions and expertise. The purpose of the meeting was aimed at ensuring microfinance providers worldwide remain committed to serving their clients’ best interests. According to a press release on PRNewsire, the leaders attending the meeting officially endorsed the six principles of client protection in microfinance launched by the campaign at the Clinton Global Initiative in September, 2008. MicroCapital had previously reported on the official launch of the campaign; more information on the story can be found here. The press release states the meeting has a ‘sense of importance and timing’ given the current financial crisis sweeping the world and the increasing focus on interest rates and transparency.
Leonce Kone, Committee Chairman for the Fourth Annual African Microfinance Conference in Ouagadougou
July 7-10, 2009, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (Sub-Saharan Africa)
Dambisa Moyo, author of “Dead Aid,” spoke with Charlie Rose on the “Charlie Rose” show, which aired on Wednesday, March 25, 2009. In the interview she discusses her book “Dead Aid,” with conversation on international development and the critical role that microfinance can play for developing nations. Her discussions on postwar international development policy and its effect on her native Africa helps question the current model and effectiveness of government to government aid.
SIXTH EUROPEAN MICROFINANCE NETWORK ANNUAL CONFERENCE
JUNE 4-5, 2009, MILAN, ITALY
Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) plans to infuse a total of PHP 375 million (USD 7.8 million) into JP Laurel Rural Bank Corporation over three years starting in 2009 through a shareholder advance facility, thus buying 99% of the rural bank. RCBC has set a date of February 13, 2009 for the first installment of PHP 125 million (USD 2.6 million). Existing shareholders will end up owning just 1% of the rural bank once the RCBC acquisition is completed. No information is available as to the terms of the sale. The acquisition is still pending approval by the Monetary Board of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Central Bank of the Philippines.
“Are Remittances Still Resilient? Exploring the Impact of the Global Economic Downturn on Migration and Remittances”
Wednesday, April 15, 2009, Washington, DC, USA
Join Dilip Ratha (World Bank), Kathleen Newland (Migration Policy Insititute), Kai Schmitz (Microfinance International Corporation) and Borany Penh (US Agency for International Development/Microenterprise Development Office) for a discussion of how the current global financial crisis, which has affected both home and host countries, has affected the flow of remittances.
This event, presented by the USAID Microenterprise Development Office, will take place from 4:00 to 5:00 PM (Eastern US Time) at the offices of QED Group LLC, 1250 Eye St NW, Washington, DC 20005.
12th MFC Conference of Microfinance Institutions – Global Crisis: Threat or Opportunity for Microfinance?
MAY 25-27, 2009, The Continental Hotel, Belgrade, Serbia
ANNUAL MICROFINANCE SYMPOSIUM- FROM INFORMATION TO INNOVATION: HARNESSING SOCIAL DATA TO EMPOWER CHANGE
APRIL17, 2009, WASHINGTON, DC
Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, spoke with Charlie Rose on the “Charlie Rose” show, which aired on Wednesday, March 25, 2009. In the interview she discusses her book “The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World,” with discussions on international development and the critical role that microfinance plays for developing nations and the global arena. Ms. Novogratz has been hailed by “New York Times” columnist Nick Kristof as “one of the most interesting innovators in aid and development.”
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, plans to lend USD 450 million to Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador over a 12-month period through to June 2009; however, in light of the global financial crisis that that amount may increase. The IFC is also increasing its support of microfinance institutions (MFIs) because they have been deemed an efficient way to lift people from poverty.