MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) Seeks Partners for Customer-Centric Financial Services Project

CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based nonprofit policy and research center devoted to worldwide growth of financial access, is searching for financial service providers with whom to partner to increase customer centricity within the providers’ systems. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Frédéric Ruaz on Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM, African Microfinance Week), June 29 – July 3, 2015, Dakar, Senegal

MicroCapital: What can attendees expect to see at Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance (SAM)?

Frédéric Ruaz: You will find most of the sessions involve managers of several types of organizations: microfinance institutions (MFIs), public entities and private funds. In addition to fostering debate, we aim SAM to bridge practitioners with experts, South with North, and even small MFIs with large MFIs. Indeed, SAM is the largest microfinance meeting place in Africa.

MC: Is there a session that you think attendees may find particularly valuable?

FR: That is a tough question, as SAM offers such a diversity of panels. On Wednesday, July 1, the second session will focus mostly on social entrepreneurship. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: 26th Annual SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing, November 3-5, 2015, The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, United States

Event Name: 2015 SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing

Event Date: November 3 to November 5, 2015

Event Location: The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

Cost: The early registration rate of USD 995 is available until September 9, 2015, A regular registration rate of USD 1,085 is available from September 12 to October 13, 2015, and late registration rate of USD 1195 is available after October 13, 2015. Presenters, students, journalists and sponsor representatives are eligible for an entry price of USD 535 per head. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Belgium’s Impulse Microfinance Investment Fund Exits from MFIs in India, Mexico

During the year ending December 2014, the Impulse Microfinance Investment Fund (Impulse Fund), which is managed by Belgium’s Incofin Investment Management (Incofin), sold its equity stakes in India-based Grameen Koota and the Mexican operations of El Salvador-based Apoyo Integral Inversiones, according to a recent announcement by Incofin. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Improving the Wellbeing of the Poorest of the Poor; Finance in Motion’s Impact Investment Report; Investing in Africa’s Small, Growing Businesses

“A multifaceted program causes lasting progress for the very poor: Evidence from six countries;” published by American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2015-05, available at http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/97047

This study reports that a multifaceted “graduation” program generated improvements in the wellbeing of the “poorest of the poor.” Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: China’s Zuoli Micro-finance Obtains Government Approval to Lend to Online Retailers

Zuoli Kechuang Micro-finance Company, a microfinance institution in China, recently obtained approval from the Financial Work Office of the government of Zhejiang Province to cooperate with online money lending platforms and issue loans to online retailers nationwide. The company expects these loans to be in amounts of approximately RMB 500,000 (USD 80,000) at an annualised interest rate of approximately 15 percent.

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: AITEC Banking & Mobile Money Lagos 2015, July 28 – 29, 2015, Lagos, Nigeria

Event Name: AITEC Banking & Mobile Money Lagos 2015

Event Date: July 28 – 29, 2015

Event Location: Eko Hotel, Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria

Event Theme: Financial Empowerment through Trusted Payment Solutions

Event Summary: Now entering its eighth year, AITEC (African Information Technology Exhibitions and Conferences) Banking & Mobile Money Lagos 2015 will address issues in Nigeria’s financial services sector, including developments in payment technologies, best practices in information technology project deployment, and trends in customer service delivery. Additionally, broader themes of risk management, governance, regulation and compliance will be covered.

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Oradian Raises Seed Funding to Scale its Instafin Banking Software Platform Across West Africa

Oradian, a Croatian startup that provides cloud-based software for microfinance institutions in developing economies, announced recently that it has raised seed funding from various investors to scale its products across West Africa, an effort that will include expanding its team in its offices in Croatia and Nigeria. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) to Loan $15m to Chase Bank Kenya, Advise on Financial Access for Women Entrepreneurs

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the US-based World Bank Group, recently announced an agreement to provide a loan of USD 15 million and 15 months of advisory services to Chase Bank Kenya, a privately owned bank in Kenya [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Social Performance Task Force (SPTF), CERISE Release Updated SPI4 Assessment Tool

The Social Performance Task Force (SPTF), a US-based nonprofit charged with addressing questions about measuring and managing social performance, and the France-based network CERISE (Comité d’Echanges de Réflexion et d’Information sur les Systèmes d’Epargne-crédit) recently released version 1.2 of SPI4, their assessment tool for the social performance of microfinance institutions.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) Donates $1.2m to Effort by Center for Latin American Monetary Studies to Improve Remittance Market in Latin America

The Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the US-based IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) Group, has donated USD 1.2 million to fund a collaborative project with the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies, an association of Latin American and Caribbean central banks (also known by its Spanish acronym CEMLA).  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Messrs United Cement Company of Nigeria (UNICEM), Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) Partner on $5m Loan to Nigerian MFI Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO)

Messrs United Cement Company of Nigeria (UNICEM), an indirect subsidiary of the French construction materials company Lafarge, and Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the international development department of the French government, reportedly have collaborated to loan NGN 1 billion (USD 5 million) to Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), a Nigerian microfinance institution (MFI), for funding the construction of 5,000 new housing units in the country.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Accion’s Smart Campaign Streamlines Microfinance Client Protection Certification Program

The Smart Campaign, a consumer-protection initiative launched in 2010 by US-based nonprofit Accion, recently announced changes to its Client Protection Certification Program that are intended to improve the certification process by reducing the time it takes for financial institutions to become certified, extending certification validity from two years to four years, and launching an appeals and complaints system [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Parinaam Foundation of India Launches Financial Literacy Program in Tribal Communities of Garo, Jaintia, Khasi

The Parinaam Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides social services to women in India, has partnered with the World Bank Group, a group of five multilateral organizations that invest in developing countries, and the government of the Indian state of Meghalaya to offer a financial literacy training program to individuals in three tribal communities: Garo, Jaintia, and Khasi.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC), MasterCard to Establish $250m Risk-Sharing Facility to Support Consumer Loans Distributed via Debit Card

MasterCard, a US-based payments and technology company, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the US-based World Bank Group that offers financial services to businesses and governments in developing countries with the aim of increasing economic growth, reportedly have pledged to establish a USD 250 million risk-sharing facility, which is expected to provide an unspecified number of people in emerging markets with access to small loans via payment cards.  Continue reading