MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank Indonesia Revises Electronic Money Policy, Allows Banks with $2b in Core Capital to Offer “Digital Financial Services” Via Agents

Bank Indonesia (BI), the central bank of Indonesia, reportedly has amended its electronic money regulations to allow all banks with at least IDR 30 trillion (USD 2.6 billion) in core capital to offer “digital financial services” to customers including the option for third-party agents to provide access to services in rural areas on behalf of the banks. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bandhan Financial Services of India Plans Public Offering (IPO) Within Three Years

Bandhan Financial Services, an Indian microfinance institution that recently received a provisional banking license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), reportedly is planning to raise capital through an initial public offering (IPO) sometime within the next three years. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF) Loans $2m to Cambodian Angkor Mikroheranhvatho Kampuchea; Invests $546k in Equity in Palestinian Arab Center for Agricultural Development

The Luxembourg-based Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), which provides financial services to “social businesses,” recently informed MicroCapital that it has provided a three-year loan of EUR 1.5 million (USD 2.05 million) to Angkor Mikroheranhvatho Kampuchea Company Limited (AMK), a microfinance institution located in Cambodia. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC), MasterCard Foundation, Tigo to Expand Mobile Financial Services in Ghana

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-investment arm of the World Bank Group; the MasterCard Foundation, a Canadian nonprofit founded by US-based global payment processing company MasterCard that aims to promote youth learning and financial inclusion in emerging markets; and Tigo Ghana, a unit of Luxembourg-based telecommunication firm Millicom International Cellular, recently announced that they have signed an agreement worth USD 2 million to provide advisory services to support Tigo Ghana “to develop and expand mobile financial services in support of wider financial inclusion”[1] in Ghana. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL PAPER WRAP-UP: “Technical Guide: Performance and Social Indicators for Microfinance Institutions;” by Sebastian von Stauffenberg, Damian von Stauffenberg, Maritza Rodriguez, Rebecca Spradlin, Antonio Bryant; Published by MicroRate

“Technical Guide: Performance and Social Indicators for Microfinance Institutions;” by Sebastian von Stauffenberg, Damian von Stauffenberg, Maritza Rodriguez, Rebecca Spradlin and Antonio Bryant; Published by MicroRate; 2014; 64 pages; available at http://www.microrate.com/media/downloads/2014/05/MicroRate_-Technical-Guide-20142.pdf

Published by MicroRate, a US-based rating agency that evaluates risk and performance of microfinance institutions (MFIs), this guide provides an outline on how to assess the quality of an MFI. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) Loans $18m to Microfinance Institution Financiera Confianza of Peru to Support Low-Income Entrepreneurs

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-investment arm of the World Bank Group, has announced that it is loaning USD 18 million to Financiera Confianza, a Peruvian microfinance institution (MFI) that offers microloans and deposit services to low-income entrepreneurs [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kenyan Mobile Money Service Providers Finserve Africa, Zioncell, Tangaza Acquire Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Licenses, will Access Airtel’s Wireless Network

The Communications Authority of Kenya, the regulatory body for the country’s telecommunications sector, reportedly has granted mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licenses to three mobile money transfer service providers based in Kenya: Finserve Africa Limited, Zioncell Kenya Limited, and Tangaza Mobile Pay Limited. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MicroEnsure Raises $10m in Equity from International Finance Corporation, Omidyar Network, Opportunity International, Telenor Group; First-Time Investors AXA, Sanlam Emerging Markets

MicroEnsure, a UK-based, for-profit microinsurance company founded by US-based NGO Opportunity International, has announced that it has raised a total of USD 10.4 million from six investors including some of the company’s past investors: Opportunity International; the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-investment arm of the World Bank Group; Omidyar Network, a US-based social investment firm; and Telenor Group, a telecommunications company based in Norway. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Rebtel Partnership with TransferTo Adds 50 Additional Countries to International Airtime Remittance Mobile App “Sendly”

Swedish telecommunications company Rebtel has partnered with Singapore-based TransferTo, an airtime remittance company that “interconnects mobile operators’ prepaid systems”[1], to expand by 50 the number of countries in which it offers cross-border top-up services to users of its mobile application, Sendly. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Gambia Women’s Finance Association Adopts Towerplane Software to Enable Doorstep Microfinance

The Gambia Women’s Finance Association (GAWFA), a nonprofit organization in Gambia with approximately 49,000 members, reportedly has adopted software developed by Towerplane, a Spanish software company, that allows the microfinance institution to provide services outside of bank branches using mobile devices. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade Donates $13m to Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP)

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Canberra-based government agency responsible for Australia’s international relations, trade and development assistance programs, reportedly will fund a three-year program with AUD 14.15 million (USD 13.13 million) to support the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Opportunity Bank Serbia; MDO Arvand of Tajikistan; Bai Tushum, Kompanion of Kyrgyzstan Receive Smart Campaign Client Protection Certification

The Smart Campaign, a consumer-protection initiative launched in 2010 by the US-based nonprofit Accion, recently granted its “Smart Certification” to four microfinance institutions (MFIs): Opportunity Bank Serbia, which is controlled by US-based NGO Opportunity International; Microcredit Deposit-Taking Organizaition (MDO) Arvand, an MFI in Tajikistan that provides financial services to entrepreneurs; Bai Tushum Bank, a microfinance institution serving entrepreneurs in Kyrgyzstan; and Kompanion, an MFI that offers “development products and services”[1] to entrepreneurs and individuals in Kyrgyzstan. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) Signs Deals with AB Bank Rwanda, IHS Holding of Nigeria, Urwego Opportunity Bank of Rwanda to Expand Microfinance, Telecommunications

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-investment arm of the World Bank Group, reportedly has signed deals with AB Bank Rwanda (ABR), a microfinance bank (MFB) affiliated with Access Microfinance Holding of Germany; IHS Holding Limited, a mobile services infrastructure company based in Nigeria that operates in five African countries; and Urwego Opportunity Bank (UOB), a foreign-owned Rwandan MFB, in an effort to increase access to telecommunications and financial opportunities in Rwanda. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Elevar Equity, Omidyar Network, Saama Capital, WestBridge Capital Invest $27m in Equity in India’s Vistaar Finance for Lending to Micro-, Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)

Elevar Equity, which invests in “disconnected communities” from offices in India and the US; Omidyar Network, a US-based investor in “socially responsible” organizations; Saama Capital, an India-focused venture capital fund registered in Mauritius; and WestBridge Capital, an India-based investment company with offices in India, Mauritius and the United States, reportedly have collectively invested INR 1.6 billion (USD 27 million) in Bangalore-based non-banking finance company Vistaar Finance (Vistaar). Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: June 15 is Deadline for $132k European Microfinance Award: “Microfinance and the Environment”

June 15 is the deadline to apply to the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), a Luxembourg-based network of approximately 130 microfinance organizations and individuals, to win EUR 100,000 (USD 132,000) as part of the Fifth European Microfinance Award, which is themed “Microfinance and the Environment.” Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Tigo, Airtel, Zantel Link Mobile Money Systems in Tanzania

Millicom International Cellular, a Luxembourg-based telecommunications company also known as Tigo; Airtel Tanzania, a subsidiary of Indian telecommunications company Bharti Airtel; and Zantel Tanzania, a telecommunications company owned by Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates, recently announced an agreement to allow customers of the three firms’ mobile money services to send and receive money to and from users of all three systems. Continue reading