MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: How the Private Sector Can Boost Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa; the Role of Impact Investing in Achieving SDGs in Africa; Documenting Reforms to “Doing Business”

Entreprenante Afrique; by Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg; published in French by Odile Jacob; September 2016; 288 pages; available for purchase at: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=_vslDQAAQBAJ&rdid=book-_vslDQAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_buy&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_atb

Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg argue that the 5-percent average annual growth rate Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced since 2000 is being driven significantly by the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: IFC, Cathay United Bank Loaning $50m to VPBank for SMEs in Vietnam with Support From Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the US-based World Bank Group, and Cathay United Bank, a Taiwan-based commercial bank, recently announced that they will each lend USD 25 million to Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) to support small businesses in Vietnam. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Financing the Excluded: Innovations for Last Mile Financing in the Mekong

Organizations Banking With the Poor Networkserving people at the “bottom of the pyramid” are using solar lighting, doorstep savings services and mobile banking to reach potential customers still untouched by formal financial services. Gaurav Bhandari, Greenlight Planet‘s Senior Global Partnerships Manager for Asia, described his firm’s products, which he reports have prevented 10,000 house fires, increased homeworkers’ productivity by Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) Investor Forum 2016, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, December 7 – 8

We at MicroCapital are pleased to offer our readers 10 percent of the fee to attend the Global Impact Investing Network’s (GIIN’s) Investor Forum 2016 on December 7 and December 8 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Just register with the code “MC16”. Thank you for reading!

Global Impact Investing Network Investor Forum 2016

Written by Comments Off on MICROFINANCE EVENT: Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) Investor Forum 2016, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, December 7 – 8 Posted in Events

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Islamic Development Bank’s ICD, Gabon’s CDC to Launch Fund Aimed at Growing SMEs in Central Africa

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), a development finance institution of the Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations Deposit (CDC), a financial institution backed by the government of Gabon, recently announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding for the creation of a private equity fund to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Gabon and elsewhere in Central Africa. Continue reading

Written by Comments Off on MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Islamic Development Bank’s ICD, Gabon’s CDC to Launch Fund Aimed at Growing SMEs in Central Africa Posted in Africa, Deals, Middle East

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Oikocredit Increases Equity Stake in Bolivian MFI Banco FIE

Oikocredit, a cooperative “social investment” fund based in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, recently increased its equity stake in Banco para el Fomento a las Iniciativas Económicas (Banco FIE), “more than doubling” its investment in the Bolivian microfinance bank. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: China International Microfinance Summit, November 29-December 1, 2016, Beijing, China

Event Name: 2016 China International Microfinance Summit

Event Date: November 29 – December 1, 2016

Event Location: Landmark Towers Hotel, Beijing, China Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum: Overview of the Region

In anticipation of the recently announced Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Forum, which will be held in Hanoi, Viet Nam, on March 21 and March 22, 2017, MicroCapital is launching a series of stories from the Banking with the Poor Network‘s Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum, which was held in July 2016. The Foundation for Development Cooperation engaged MicroCapital to assist in documenting the event.

Ms. Banking With the Poor NetworkNina Nayar, Associate of the Foundation for Development Cooperation, opened the session reviewing microfinance products and market segments in the region. She described the evolution from “credit and basic savings” years ago to today’s array of credit, savings, insurance, money transfer and other services for individuals as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). These include “a whole slew of innovations” such as payment cards and automated teller machines. She argued that new products are in demand by many segments of often-excluded people: farmers, people in conflict areas, minorities, youth, urban informal workers, migrants and single mothers. At the same time, fear and lack of confidence often Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EFSE, Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rabo International Advisory Services Facilitate Capacity Building Plan for FED Invest to Support Farmers, SMEs in Rural Albania

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based investment fund focused on 16 Central Asian and Southeast European countries, in partnership with the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Rabo International Advisory Services (RIAS), a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Rabobank Group, recently announced that the EFSE Development Facility will “cover part of the costs of a multi-year capacity building plan” aimed at expanding Albania-based FED Invest’s ability to provide financial services to farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Digital Financial Services: Providing a “Ladder” Out of Poverty or Creating “Financial Exclusion”?

At European Microfinance PlatformFriday’s closing session of European Microfinance Week, representatives of Luxembourg-based MyBucks, US-based Opportunity International and India-based MicroSave argued about the risks and rewards of digital finance services. Vicki Escarra, the CEO of Opportunity International, said, “What we’ve done over the past five years to get to very rural areas is to use these digital channels.… To focus on women in Africa – not just women, but women living in Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Investment Bank, World Bank Partner to “Boost MENA,” Supporting First-time Entrepreneurs in the Middle East, North Africa

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the Luxembourg-based long-term lender of the European Union (EU), and the US-based multilateral World Bank Group (WBG) recently announced a joint initiative, Boost MENA, to support “first-time entrepreneurs”, particularly women and young people, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Microfinance Investment Vehicles Setting “Green” Targets; Looking to Asian, Latin American MFIs to Deploy Environment-focused Microloans

During European Microfinance Platformone of Friday’s sessions of European Microfinance Week, Hatem Mahbouli, an investment officer with Dutch development bank Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), described his institution’s plans to direct 20 percent of its investments each year to environmental efforts. FMO, which reports the equivalent of USD 9 billion in total assets, has disbursed about USD 120 million of its financial services investments in the “green” sub-sector. To move further toward its goal, FMO is looking particularly to Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Evolving Regulations Obscure the Future of Microfinance in Myanmar

Paul European Microfinance PlatformLuchtenburg, who serves as coordinator for the UN Capital Development Fund in Myanmar, described several of the contrasts in the microfinance industry in Myanmar at European Microfinance Week Thursday. Five years into civilian rule, Mr Luchtenburg says “I’ve never seen a government work so hard. You go to a meeting and the results go up the leadership chain that night…. There’s this rapid push for development.” To accept deposits, institutions must pay at least 10 percent per year and be deemed “sustainable” by the government. However, lending rates are capped at 2.5 percent per month, a level that all of the panelists agreed was too low, especially for serving rural areas. Rommel Caringal, the CEO of the local unit of US-based VisionFund, said, “The inconsistency is causing big problems, but Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Kashf Foundation of Pakistan Wins $106k European Microfinance Award for Supporting “Low-cost” Private Schools

The Kashf Foundation, a Pakistani nonprofit providing microfinance services and advocacy on social issues, won the seventh European Microfinance Award last night for its support of private schools that serve students from low-income families. In addition to financing the schools, Kashf provides training in areas ranging from classroom management to human resources. The organization also assists Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Fostering South-South Knowledge Exchange: Solar Home Systems in Bangladesh

On this first day of European Microfinance Week conference sessions, three participants described their visits to Bangladesh to learn how low-income families there have financed purchases of home solar systems. Tesfaye Befekadu, the general manager of Ethiopia’s Harbu Microfinance Institution, explained, “The exposure visit opened my mind to green microfinance…. I came back from Bangladesh with a lot of knowledge. I collected the managers, and we exchanged information and immediately decided this idea should go to the Board of Directors. Then I asked the Board to explain it to the shareholders.… I can say that all levels of the organization, down to the clients, own this program.” In the year since the visit, Harbu has delivered Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Overcoming Fears at European Microfinance Week: Farmers Eschew Microinsurance to Prevent Drought, MFIs Wary of Group Technology Purchases

At yesterday’s meeting of the European Microfinance Platform’s (e-MFP’s) Digital Innovations for Financial Empowerment Action Group, a wide range of presenters described their challenges and successes in implementing financial technologies. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Uniting Refugees, Locals via Lending Groups: European Microfinance Week Opens in Luxembourg

Among today’s opening meetings of European Microfinance Week was a working session on the financial inclusion of refugees that was organized by the US-based nonprofit Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) and the Luxembourgish nonprofit European Microfinance Platform (e-EMP). Lene Hansen, a consultant to SPTF, offered evidence to counter some of the common misconceptions discouraging microfinance institutions (MFIs) and their funders from serving refugees. Key among these is Continue reading