MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) to Help Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) Improve Risk Management for Small, Medium-Enterprises (SMEs) in Guyana

The Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI), a commercial bank in Guyana, recently signed an agreement with the International Financial Corporation (IFC), a member of the US-based World Bank Group, to take part in a two-year financial risk management advisory project. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Women and Mobile Financial Services in Uganda; Quantitative Poverty Scoring Methods; European Investment Bank’s Rural Impulse Fund II Symposium in Africa

“Research on Women and Usability of Mobile Financial Services in Uganda;” published by Grameen Foundation; February 2014; 40 pages; available at http://www.grameenfoundation.org/resource/use-mobile-financial-services-among-poor-women

This presentation gives an overview of the Uganda-specific results of a series of studies undertaken by the US-based nonprofit Grameen Foundation with the goal of understanding how mobile-phone usability, or lack thereof, impacts the ability of poor women to access mobile financial services in India, the Philippines and Uganda. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Applications Open for 2014 Seed Awards for Entrepreneurs in Sustainable Development Until April 8

The Seed Initiative, a Germany-based nonprofit institution that supports small-scale social and environmental enterprises in emerging economies, recently announced that it is accepting applications for the “2014 Seed Awards for Entrepreneurs in Sustainable Development,” a set of annual awards presented to entrepreneurs in developing countries that Seed deems to be the “…most promising, innovative and locally led…[and that have the] potential to contribute significantly to sustainable development…”. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Union, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Support 100 Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Egypt

The European Union and the Small Business Support program of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based financial institution, recently held an event in the Egyptian city of Alexandria to highlight their support for approximately 100 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) Donates $150k to Caribbean Information & Credit Rating Services (CariCRIS) of Trinidad and Tobago to Support Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the US-based Inter-American Development Bank, has approved a grant of USD 150,000 to the Caribbean Information & Credit Rating Services (CariCRIS) of Trinidad and Tobago to provide services including the creation of credit ratings for 60 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Caribbean. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: First Access Purchases Data for Risk-Scoring Service from Cellular Network Provider Vodacom Tanzania

US-based data analytics company First Access reportedly has signed a deal to purchase user data from cellular network provider Vodacom Tanzania, a subsidiary of UK-based telecommunications company Vodafone Group, for their risk-scoring service for financial institutions serving poor individuals. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) Applies to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for Self-Regulatory Organization Status

The Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN), a trade association composed of 47 Indian microlenders that operate as non-banking finance companies, reportedly has applied to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central banking authority, for status as a “self-regulatory organization” (SRO). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Peru-based Financiera Edyficar’s Acquisition of 61% Stake in Mibanco Receives Regulatory Approval

Peru-based microlender Financiera Edyficar (Edyficar), an operating subsidiary of Peruvian holding company Creditcorp, has received regulatory approval from the Peruvian Superintendency of Banks, Insurance and Pension Funds, the financial sector regulator in the country, for its proposed USD 179 million acquisition of a 60.7-percent stake in Mibanco, a Peruvian microfinance institution (MFI) that is a subsidiary of nonprofit holding company Grupo Accion Comunitaria del Peru (ACP). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MasterCard Foundation Donates $23m to Opportunity International for Agricultural Financing in Sub-Saharan Africa

The MasterCard Foundation, which was founded by US-based global payment processing company MasterCard and aims to promote youth learning and financial inclusion in emerging markets, has donated USD 22.7 million to Opportunity International, a US-based non-profit microfinance organization, to launch the “Africa Growth and Innovation Initiative” to deliver agricultural financial services to 7 million low-income people in the Sub-Saharan African countries Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Entrepreneurial Finance Lab Offers Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) Credit Scores for Micro-, Small Enterprises (MSEs) Based on Psychometric Tests

In an effort to promote financing to self-employed entrepreneurs and micro- and small enterprises (MSEs) in emerging economies, Entrepreneurial Finance Lab (EFL), a US-based company, is employing psychometric analyses to assess the creditworthiness of loan applicants. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) Capitalization Fund Invests $170m in Banco CorpBanca Colombia

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) Capitalization Fund, an investment fund managed by an arm of the World Bank Group’s IFC, has announced a USD 170 million subordinated bond investment in Banco CorpBanca Colombia (CBC), a subsidiary of CorpBanca, a Chile-based commercial bank that is a subsidiary of Brazil’s Itau Unibanco. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to Loan $7m to Enda Inter-Arabe for On-Lending to Micro-, Small Enterprises (MSEs) in Tunisia

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral financial institution, is lending TND 11 million (USD 7 million) to Enda Inter-Arabe, a Tunisian financial services provider and arm of Senegal-based non-governmental organization Enda Third-World. Continue reading

OPINION: No Silver Bullet: While Microfinance Alone Won’t End Poverty, It Is Making an Impact – So Let’s Re-focus It to Serve the Poor

The debate about the contributions that microfinance is making to global poverty alleviation is an interesting one. But it’s also getting a little tedious.

We are all disappointed that microfinance has not, as the popular culture has promoted it, proven to be the “silver bullet” for poverty alleviation. If, however, we challenge ourselves to really understand (and be transparent about) the strengths and limitations of microfinance, and begin to think about it as just one part of a more comprehensive package of development services, the debate (and potential for impact) becomes much more interesting. Continue reading