MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Incofin Raises $6.5m from KfW for Fairtrade Access Fund, DRC-focused FPM

Belgium’s for-profit Incofin Investment Management recently received investments from German development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) in two funds that it advises, the Fairtrade Access Fund (FAF), which invests in initiatives supporting farmers in developing countries, and FPM SA (Fonds pour l’inclusion financière en République Démocratique Congo), which lends “medium-term” funds

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Oikocredit Sells Equity Stake in Microfinance Institution Financiera Confianza of Peru to Fundacion BBVA MicroFinanzas

Oikocredit, a cooperative based in the Netherlands, recently sold its stake in Financiera Confianza, a Peruvian microfinance institution (MFI), to Fundacion BBVA MicroFinanzas, which was launched by Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) in 1998. The size and price of the stake, which Oikocredit assembled in multiple purchases

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: World Bank Group, Committee on Payments & Market Infrastructures (CPMI), UN’s International Telecommunication Union Launch “Financial Inclusion Global Initiative” to Study Digital Finance

The World Bank Group, the Switzerland-based Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) and the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recently introduced

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Green for Growth Fund (GGF) Loans $6m to Halkbank to Finance Energy-efficient Housing in Serbia

The Green for Growth Fund (GGF), which was founded by Germany’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the EU’s European Investment Bank (EIB), recently disbursed EUR 5 million (USD 5.9 million) to Halkbank AD Belgrade, a subsidiary of Turkey’s government-controlled Halk Bank Incorporated. The loan is slated to back mortgages on homes that consume

SPECIAL REPORT: Microfinance Investment Vehicles, MFIs “Speed Date” at SAM Investor’s Fair in Ethiopia

Both the “speed dating” and “free meeting” sessions for microfinance institutions (MFIs) to sit down with investors were very popular at SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference in Addis Ababa. Representatives of dozens of organizations met each other for the first time and renewed old connections.

Duncan Frayne of Switzerland-based Symbiotics Group spoke on behalf of REGMIFA (the Regional MSME Investment Fund for Sub-Saharan Africa), for which his company serves as investment manager. He said, “The value for me is meeting up-and-coming MFIs as well as

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nestlé, Telenor Microfinance Bank Providing Digital Loans to Farmers in Pakistan

The Pakistani subsidiary of Switzerland-based food company Nestlé recently partnered with Telenor Microfinance Bank Limited, a Pakistani branch of Norway’s Telenor Group, to provide microloans to its dairy farmer suppliers via Telenor Microfinance’s mobile wallet service, Easypaisa. The program reportedly uses a “digital credit score card and analytics, thus considerably reducing

SPECIAL REPORT: Innovations in Fintech, Human Resources Development at SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance)

At SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference in Addis Ababa, a wide variety of vendors presented their wares. Among these were several core banking system providers. Antonio Separovic of Oradian previously had set the stage for the conversation at the fintech (financial technology) session organized by Dutch development bank FMO. He argued that microfinance institutions (MFIs) shouldn’t start by thinking about whether to buy a new system, but about where the MFI wants to go and how to get there. “Fintech may be able to reduce the friction to do these things,” he said.

Cameron Goldie-Scot of Musoni agreed: “It’s about what are the challenges in your organization? Is it too expensive to handle cash in rural areas? Do you have trouble getting

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Social Impact Hub Introduces Library of Potential Impact Investments in Australia

The Impact Investing Hub, a student-led project connecting investors to potential impact investments, recently created a Current Deals Library to provide greater access to information on opportunities that are meant to pay off financially as well as

SPECIAL REPORT: Public Solutions at SAM: Collateral Registries, Business Training, Higher Microinsurance Uptake Can Promote Entrepreneurship in Africa

At SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) plenary on “Public Solutions to Promote Entrepreneurship in Africa,” Kennedy Komba of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) explained that his institution’s SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprise) Working Group comprises 53 regulatory and policy-making bodies. To facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship, these agencies have created collateral registries, adjusted lender liquidity ratios, updated know-your-customer frameworks and established rules for digital financial services. Trainers in Zambia used a financial education game to reach 5,000 people, of whom 80 percent were able to improve their businesses as a result. In Ghana, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Bank of Ghana collaborated to boost local value chains in an effort to reduce costly

SPECIAL REPORT: At SAM, a “Moral Obligation” to Include More People in the Financial System, Harvesting Wins $12k FMO Fintech for Microfinance Prize for Use of Satellite Data to Boost Agricultural Lending

At the gala dinner at SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Olivier Massart, the General Manager of ADA, argued that the attendees of the event have incurred a “moral obligation” to increase financial inclusion. The 650+ attendees spent an estimated total of USD 1 million to USD 2 million on travel and registration fees. Because they elected not to spend this money directly on serving poor people, Mr Massart challenged each delegate to bring at least one additional person in to the financial system for each

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Mundo Finance Launches in Jamaica with 50% Equity Participation from National Commercial Bank

Linden ‘Mark’ Mahfood and Robert Taylor recently launched Mundo Finance Limited, a Jamaican firm offering “short-term business loans, trade financing and personal loans” as well as financing for “solar installations in partnership with” Alternative Power Sources. Mundo CEO David Lee reports that his company’s interest

SPECIAL REPORT: Reinventing Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) to Meet the Needs of SMEs at SAM: Building Staff Capacity, Sharing Default Risk with Investors, Helping Entrepreneurs Think Big

On the second day of SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Godwin Ehigiamusoe of Nigeria’s LAPO discussed the needs and expectations of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). He explained that they generally are sensitive to price and prefer not to post collateral. Loan sizing and duration are key. From a lender’s perspective, SMEs need to get their records out of their heads and onto paper (if not into digital form). The Central Bank of Nigeria has six Entrepreneurship Development Centers at which business owners can get assistance with business plans and other support.

Mr Ehigiamusoe added that LAPO became involved with SME lending as its microenterprise clients grew. Likewise the staff of LAPO was in need of capacity development to serve their clients’ evolving needs. LAPO’s Sufen loan program is designed to identify female entrepreneurs with high growth potential and

SPECIAL REPORT: ADA, Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation Sign Collaboration Agreement at SAM

After Tuesday’s sessions at the “SAMthe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Olivier Massart, the General Manager of ADA, and Eric Campos, Managing Director of the Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), signed an agreement to collaborate on their institutions’ service delivery to microfinance institutions (MFIs). Mr Massart explained that the two Luxembourgish NGOs will work “hand in hand” in areas including the measurement of social impact. ADA specializes in technical assistance, and although GCAMF also provides technical assistance, it is a major local-currency funder of MFIs. Both institutions prioritize working with MFIs that serve people in rural areas as well as women in general.

Mr Campos told MicroCapital that a primary motivation for the collaboration is to reduce the workload for MFIs, which are often called upon to submit substantial amounts of overlapping data to funders and other interested parties. He also spoke passionately about how MFIs can maintain market share as fintech

SPECIAL REPORT: At SAM, Calls for Alternatives to Collateral, Acquiring Insurance, Technical Assistance, Cheaper Loans for SMEs

During SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference today, Willie Mzumala of Malawi’s Tapika Food Products described how he has grown his business over 13 years to employ 9 people year-round plus additional seasonal staff. However, he still is offered loans at interest rates as high as 45 percent. In addition to affordable financing, he sees a need for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to get help with marketing, getting international exposure and standardizing quality.

Richard Muteti of the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations repeated Mr Mzumala’s call for help with standardization and more affordable financing. Among other barriers to SME success, he cited lack of appropriately

SPECIAL REPORT: “Financial Inclusion and Job Creation in Africa” at the SAM Conference in Addis Ababa

Today “SAMat the SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Laura Foschi of ADA addressed the question of “how to support enterprises as they make the transition from micro- to small and medium-sized.”

Rebecca Rouse of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), described how randomized controlled trials can help determine “how can we best create value, spaces and opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and SME growth.” For example, evaluating the effectiveness of a business training program is much more enlightening when