SPECIAL REPORT: Save the Date: African Microfinance Week (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance), June 29 – July 3, 2015, Dakar, Senegal

Event Name: African Microfinance Week (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) 2015

Event Dates: June 29 – July 3, 2015

Location: King Fahd Palace Conference Center, Dakar, Senegal

Event Summary: The second annual African Microfinance Week will center around “accelerating innovative rural finance in Africa,” providing practitioners with a venue for exchanging ideas and reflecting on the trajectory of the industry. The event is designed to improve “the synergies” between the Benin-based African Microfinance Network (AFMIN), an association of 21 national microfinance networks; the African Microfinance Transparency Forum (AMT), a group that aims to strengthen the performance of African microfinance institutions (MFIs); the African Rural & Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA), a Kenya-based group of 105 central banks, retail financial service providers and microfinance networks; and the Microfinance African Institutions Network (MAIN), a Cote d’Ivoire-based NGO with 71 members. The program is sponsored by the governments of Senegal and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with support from the US-based Citi Foundation; the Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank; the United Nations Capital Development Fund; and Microfact, a nonprofit, web-based platform that provides toolkits for building the capacity of MFIs. The week will include plenary sessions, trainings, an investors’ fair and the general assemblies of AFMIN and MAIN. The primary languages of the event will be French and English.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional (BTPN) of Indonesia Borrows $300m from Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), International Finance Corporation (IFC) for Microenterprise Lending

The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), a Tokyo-based subsidiary of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, recently provided a loan of USD 300 million to Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional (BTPN), a commercial bank in Indonesia.

SPECIAL REPORT: Save the Date: European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) to Host European Microfinance Week, November 18-20, 2015, Luxembourg

Event Name: European Microfinance Week 2015

Event Dates: November 18-20, 2015

Location: Luxembourg

Event Summary: The European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), a Luxembourg-based network of approximately 130 members, is hosting its annual European Microfinance Week. One day will consist of meetings of e-MFP’s eight action groups: “investors in tier 2/3 microfinance institutions (MFIs),” “making microfinance investment responsible,” “microfinance and the environment,” “remittances,” “research in microfinance,” “rural outreach and innovation,” “university meets microfinance,” and “youth financial inclusion.” The other two days will consist of traditional conference sessions as well as the presentation of the sixth annual European Microfinance Award. Further details regarding the event are expected to be released before the end of April.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microsoft, MasterCard to Provide Payment, Technology Support for Micro-Business Owners in Mexico

Microsoft Corporation, a US-based technology firm, and MasterCard, a US-based financial services corporation with operations in 210 countries, have announced a partnership through which they will seek to enhance information technology, communication and payments for small-scale merchants in Mexico.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Government of Egypt, MasterCard to Link National ID Card to Mobile Money Services, Extending Financial Services to “54m” Egyptians

MasterCard, a US-based payments company, and the Egyptian government have collaborated to link identification cards to the previously existing mobile money platform in the country.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: 12th “University Meets Microfinance” Workshop, Enhancing Food Security and Resilience to Climate Change: What Role for Microfinance, June 11-12, 2015, Bergamo, Italy

Event Name: 12th “University Meets Microfinance” Workshop, Enhancing Food Security and Resilience to Climate Change: What Role for Microfinance

Event Date: June 11-12, 2015

Event Location: University of Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy

Summary of Event: This conference will bring together academics, practitioners and students working on a variety of topics related to financial inclusion. Discussions will center around climate change, food security and microfinance, including case studies of financial services being used to mitigate the impact of climate change on smallholder farmers and ensure food security for these individuals and their families.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microfinance Institutions African Century Leasing (ACL) of Zimbabwe, Reefy of Egypt Acquire Banking Licenses; ACL to Accept Deposits

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe recently granted a banking license to African Century Leasing (ACL), making it the first microfinance institution in the country that may accept deposits.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Base of Pyramid Asia (BOPA) Buys 33% Equity Stake in Alliance for Microfinance in Myanmar (AMFIM)

For an undisclosed price, Base of Pyramid Asia (BOPA), a Singapore-based equity investor in small microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Asia, recently purchased a 33-percent stake in the Alliance for Microfinance in Myanmar (AMFIM), a deposit-taking MFI that was launched in Myanmar in 2014.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Grants $1.5m to Développement international Desjardins (DID) for Microfinance Operations in Central, West Africa

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), an agency of the United Nations, has chosen to prolong the mandate originally given in 2013 to Développement international Desjardins (DID), a nonprofit member of the Canada-based Desjardins Group, with a grant of USD 561,000 for microcredit in Cameroon.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s West Bengal State Offers MSMEs $8k via Unsecured “Micro Business Credit Cards,” Funded by $32m from State Bank of India

The government of the Indian state of West Bengal recently secured INR 2 billion (USD 32 million) from the government-owned State Bank of India to fund “Micro Business Credit Cards” for micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Goodwell West Africa Acquires 30% Stake in Microfinance Institution Women’s World Banking Ghana (WWBG)

Goodwell West Africa, one of four funds of the Netherlands’ Goodwell Investments, recently acquired a 30-percent share of Women’s World Banking Ghana (WWBG).

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) to Host “Sustainable Investing: Risk, Value, Impact!” Conference, May 4-6, 2015, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Event Name: Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) 2015 Conference, “Sustainable Investing: Risk, Value, Impact!”

Event Date: May 4-6, 2015

Event Location: The Westin Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Summary of Event: This conference will focus on trends and emerging issues in sustainable and responsible investing. Topics of discussion will include shareholder advocacy, serving Latino and immigrant communities, addressing the need for low carbon energy sources, “place-based” investing, water investment risks and opportunities, and corporate governance structures.

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Maize Insurance in Burkina Faso, Risks to Microfinance in Pakistan, Claims Analysis in Health Microinsurance

“Loan Protection for Maize Farmers in Burkina Faso;” by Barbara Magnoni and Danielle Sobol; published by The MicroInsurance Centre; 2014; 13 pages; available at http://www.microinsurancecentre.org/resources/documents/milk-brief-35-doing-the-math-loan-protection-for-maize-farmers-in-burkina-faso/download.html

This paper presents the findings of a study focusing on the impact of droughts, specifically the costs to maize farmers in Burkina Faso.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: USAID-Funded Lebanon Investment in Microfinance (LIM) Program Establishes Microfinance Association

Lebanon’s Ministry of Interior and Municipalities officially has approved the establishment of a microfinance association, whose membership will consist of the following Lebanese microfinance institutions (MFIs): Association for the Development of Rural Capacities, Association d’Entraide Professionnelle, Al Majmoua, Entrepreneurial Development Foundation, Emkan, Ibdaai Lebanon, Makhzoumi Foundation and Vitas.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Advans SA Purchases 8.4% of Shares of Cambodian MFI Amret, Becomes Majority Shareholder; FMO Increases Stake to 19.9%

Advans SA, a Luxembourg-based venture capital company, has become the majority shareholder of Amret, a Cambodian microfinance institution (MFI), upon approval by The National Bank of Cambodia of its purchase of 8.4 percent of the shares of Amret.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Belcash, Moss ICT Ramp Up Mobile Money Services HelloCash, M-Birr in Ethiopia

Ethiopian banks and microfinance institutions increasingly are adopting mobile money services to allow their customers to send or receive money using mobile phones and other devices linked to their financial account.