MICROFINANCE EVENT: Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit, Hanoi, Vietnam, March 21-22, 2017

Event Name: Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit

Event Date: March 21-22, 2017; optional field visits on March 23, 2017

Event Location: JW Marriott Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam

Event Summary: Themed “Advancing Financial Inclusion in a Digital Age,” this event will include plenaries on topics such as collaboration and regulating digital financial services. Breakout sessions will address topics such as blockchain technology, gender, serving youth and reaching “the last mile.” On March 23, participants may visit with staff and clients of either Tinh Thuong Microfinance Institution or Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kenya’s FarmDrive Nets Technical Assistance Funds from CGAP to Use Satellite Imagery to Forecast Smallholder Farmers’ Revenues

FarmDrive, a for-profit Kenyan organization seeking to reduce the risk of lending to farmers, recently received an undisclosed amount of technical assistance funding from CGAP, a US-based NGO also known as the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, to allow it to use satellite data on “planting cycles, crop yields, and trends in production to help forecast future revenues, timing of income and potential Continue reading

Written by Comments Off on MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kenya’s FarmDrive Nets Technical Assistance Funds from CGAP to Use Satellite Imagery to Forecast Smallholder Farmers’ Revenues Posted in Africa, Agriculture / Rural Finance

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Symbiotics Issues $22m in Bonds for Banco Improsa, Grupo Promerica to Benefit Costa Rican, Salvadoran SMEs

Symbiotics, a Swiss firm specializing in micro-, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) investment, recently issued bonds for two Central American banks serving SMEs. This included bonds totaling USD 15.7 million for Inversiones Financieras Promerica, the Salvadoran unit of Grupo Promerica, which was founded in Nicaragua and now serves nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Symbiotics also issued its second tranche of 2016 for Costa Rica’s Banco Improsa in the amount of Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: The Impact of Finance on the Development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) in Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam

ThisBanking With the Poor Network discussion of supporting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) centered on (1) building systems to boost institutions’ confidence in lending to the sector; and (2) the non-financial needs of MSMEs.

Gerald Sun, Vice President, Head of Sales for Commercial Payments Asia/Pacific at MasterCard Worldwide, said “the banks have trouble making a risk assessment cheaply enough. They lend to big organizations based on their income. For SMEs [small and medium enterprises], they revert to looking at assets as they would for consumer lending. The bank can value a house or car, but not a ton of fertilized chicken eggs.” MasterCard is addressing this issue by Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: 16 Additional Institutions Commit to World Bank’s Goal of Achieving Universal Financial Access by 2020

The US-based multilateral World Bank Group (WBG) recently announced that 16 additional financial institutions have committed to partner to work toward “universal financial access” (UFA) by 2020, bringing the size of the group to 30 organizations. The new partners, which have committed to helping a total of 168 million people open new transaction accounts by 2020, are:

(1) the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, which operates in Africa, Asia and the Middle East;
(2) Ant Financial (Ali Baba Group) of China; Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Policy and Regulation in the Mekong: Developing Strategic Frameworks for Financial Inclusion

The Banking With the Poor Networkassembled regulators and trade group leaders offered a litany of current and soon-to-be-released strategies to create a nurturing environment for pro-client financial services. It is critically important to Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: D.light Raises $15m in Equity from Energy Access Ventures, KawiSafi, NewQuest, Omidyar to Expand Sales of Solar Products via Microloans, Develop Televisions for Emerging Markets

D.light, a privately-owned retailer of solar appliances based in the US city of San Francisco, recently raised USD 22.5 million in funding to expand its PayGo platform, which offers microloans to finance purchases of solar products. Continue reading

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