MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microfinance Centre (MFC) To Launch “Borrow Wisely” Campaign in Effort to Increase Financial Literacy in Europe, Central Asia

The Microfinance Centre (MFC), a Poland-based network of 103 microfinance providers in 27 countries, will launch a “Borrow Wisely” campaign during October 2014 with the goal of increasing the financial literacy of 80,000 low-income borrowers in nine countries in Europe and Central Asia. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) to Move Headquarters From Thailand to Malaysia in 2015

The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), a network of financial policymakers from developing and emerging economies, announced at its recent annual 2014 Global Policy Forum in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, that in collaboration with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Malaysia’s central bank, AFI will shift its headquarters from Bangkok, Thailand, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in January 2015. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Warid Telecom, Bank Alfalah, Monet Launch Mobile Money Service “Mobile Paisa” in Pakistan

Warid Telecom, a United Arab Emirates-based provider of cellular phone service in three countries, and Bank Alfalah Limited (BAFL), a Pakistani financial institution, in collaboration with Monet Private Limited, a Pakistan-based electronic payment company, has launched Mobile Paisa, a mobile money service in Pakistan. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Green for Growth Fund, Southeast Europe (GGF) Lends $2m to Microinvest of Moldova for On-Lending to Micro-, Small Enterprises (MSEs)

The Green for Growth Fund, Southeast Europe (GGF), a Germany-based fund that invests in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, has disbursed a senior loan of EUR 2 million (USD  2.6 million) to Microinvest, a microfinance institution (MFI) in Moldova that was founded by Soros Foundation – Moldova, an affiliate of the US-based Open Society Foundations. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Sodexo, Bluedrop Learning, Global Impact Announce Commitments to Middle East, Women-Owned Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) at 10th Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

The tenth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of US-based nonprofit Clinton Foundation, is being held in the US city of New York from September 21-24, and has entertained new commitments as well as progress reports on earlier commitments to address global challenges [1][2]: Continue reading

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “The Road to Inclusion: A Look at the Financially Excluded and Underserved;” Published by MasterCard

“The Road to Inclusion: A Look at the Financially Excluded and Underserved;” Published by MasterCard; May 2014; 18 pages; available at http://newsroom.mastercard.com/asia-pacific/documents/the-road-to-inclusion-a-look-at-the-financially-excluded-and-underserved

This report, published by US-based financial services corporation MasterCard, seeks to shed light on how people manage with limited financial services in Egypt, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines and Vietnam. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Clinton Global Initiative Members Emphasize Empowering Women and Girls for Fifth Consecutive Year

In the US city of New York today, at the tenth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, an effort by the US-based Clinton Foundation to connect public and private organizations to address problems such as poverty and climate change, a major focus was placed on empowering women and girls for the fifth consecutive year. Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, argued that it is critical to reach out to those with whom you generally disagree in order to seek common ground from which progress is possible. Regarding issues facing women and girls, Minister Ploumen argued that “leveling the playing field” for females involves more than economics, but extends into areas such as inheritance law, safety in transportation, and the passage and enforcement of laws against domestic violence. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank of Ghana (BoG) Closes Down Illegal Microfinance Institutions, Increases Capital Requirements

The Bank of Ghana (BoG), the country’s central bank, reportedly is cancelling the licenses of and shutting down microfinance institutions (MFIs) that are engaging in practices such as: (1) charging interest rates in excess of government-mandated limits; (2) transferring operating licenses among organizations; or (3) changing their publicly recognized business name repeatedly in order to mitigate any effects of the firm’s poor reputation among current and former customers. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Digital Financial Services Risk Assessment for Microfinance Institutions, Microinsurance Awareness in Ghana, G2P for Financial Inclusion: A Job Half Done

“Digital Financial Services Risk Assessment For Microfinance Institutions – A Pocket Guide;” by Tom Shaw, Marcella Willis, Daryl Skoog, Sonia Arenaza, Sudha Garg, Susan Salerno, Eve Hamilton and Shailee Adnolfi; published by The Digital Financial Services Working Group; September 2014; 15 pages; available at https://lextonblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/dfs_risk_guide_sept_2014_final.pdf

The authors of this “pocket guide”[1] argue for the importance of “Digital Financial Services (DFS)”[1] to reach low-income individuals who do not have access to traditional banking solutions. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) Acquires Minority Stake in Brazilian Insurer Austral Participações for $36m to Support Sectors such as Agriculture

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-investment arm of the US-based World Bank Group, recently announced that it has invested BRL 80 million (USD 36 million) to acquire a minority stake in the Brazilian firm Austral Participações, whose holdings include Austral Seguradora, an insurance company focusing on the oil, engineering and surety markets; and Austral Resseguradora (Austral Re), a reinsurance company. Continue reading

 MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Commits $5m to Belarusian Minsk Transit Bank (MTB) for Onlending to Micro-, Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs)

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral financial institution that finances companies in countries that are transitioning to open market economies, recently agreed to commit a local-currency,  senior loan worth up to USD 5 million to Minsk Transit Bank (MTB), a government-backed bank in Belarus.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Dutch Development Bank Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappijvoor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO) Loans $20m to Armenia’s Ameriabank

The Dutch development bank Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappijvoor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO) recently agreed to loan USD 20 million to Ameriabank Closed Joint Stock Company (CJSC) (Ameriabank), a commercial bank in Armenia. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Borrowing in Cambodia from Microfinance, Commercial Banks Forecast to Increase by 147% to $14b by 2020

The latest outlook published by the Credit Bureau of Cambodia (CBC), a provider of credit information to organizations and consumers in Cambodia, forecasts that the total number of customers of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and commercial banks will increase from 1.9 million to 3.3 million individuals by 2020 and that these customers will borrow a total of USD 14 billion by that time, up from USD 5.7 billion [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FirstRand Bank Downscaling into Microfinance in Suburban Mumbai, India

Under a pilot project named “Easy Banking,” FirstRand Bank, a commercial bank based in South Africa, is providing financial services to shops and other small businesses in areas of suburban Mumbai, such as Bandra and Lokhandwala, based on the rationale that competition is too fierce in areas with higher population densities. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Lanka Orix Leasing Company (LOLC) of Sri Lanka Pays $20m to Acquire 60% Stake in Thaneakea Phum (Cambodia) from Developing World Markets, TPC Employee Association

Thaneakea Phum (Cambodia) (TPC), a Cambodia-based microfinance institution (MFI), recently informed MicroCapital that Developing World Markets Asset Management (DWM), a US-based investment fund manager, has sold 55-percent equity stake in TPC to LOLC Micro Investments Limited (LOMI), a subsidiary of Sri-Lankan financial services group Lanka Orix Leasing Company (LOLC) [1]. Continue reading