MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Democratic Republic of Congo Fights Corruption by Paying 1m Civil Servants via Mobile Banking

Since Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo vowed in 2012 to replace all cash wage payments in the hopes of minimizing corruption, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has issued wage payments to 270,000 of 1 million civil servants via mobile banking. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nigeria’s Mutual Benefit Assurance Plc. Establishes Microfinance Bank In Effort to Drive Microinsurance

Mutual Benefit Assurance Plc, a Nigeria-based provider of insurance and other financial services, recently announced that it has established a microfinance bank (MFB) to promote its microinsurance offerings, which carry premiums as low as NGN 50 (USD 0.30) per three day period covering up to NGN 100,000 (USD 600) in hospital expenses and in the event of loss of life. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation Places $22m Equity Investment In Ratnakar Bank of India

The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, has made an equity investment of USD 22 million in Ratnakar Bank, a private commercial bank in India, to promote Ratnakar’s efforts to increase access to finance for women in rural areas and agricultural micro-, small and medium-sized businesses, and is reportedly part of INR 3.2 billion (USD 59.3 million) in equity raised by Ratnakar through the issuance of 30 million new shares since January 2013. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft, International Finance Corporation, African Capitalization Fund Buy 34% of UT Bank of Ghana for $23m

Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft GmbH (DEG), a German development finance institution; the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the commercial arm of the US-based World Bank Group, and the African Capitalization Fund (ACF), a US-based investment fund managed by IFC subsidiary IFC Asset Management Company, recently placed an equity investment totaling approximately GHS 46 million (USD 23.3 million) in UT Bank Limited, a publicly-traded Ghanaian bank that offers microfinance services and was formerly known as Unique Trust Financial Services. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Younger People in Kenya More Open to “Game Changer” of Buying Investment, Insurance Products by Mobile Phone

In July 2012, Old Mutual Kenya (OMK), a Nairobi-based investment subsidiary of UK-based Old Mutual Group, launched i-Invest, a platform that offers investment products that can be purchased via M-Pesa, a service of a Kenya-based mobile operator Safaricom. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MasterCard Foundation Scholarship Applications for Sustainable Microenterprise and Development Program in New Hampshire, USA, Due May 10, 2013

MasterCard Foundation, a Canadian organization founded by US-based payments firm MasterCard that aims to promote financial inclusion and education in developing countries, is offering an undisclosed number of scholarships for women microfinance practitioners to attend the Sustainable Microenterprise and Development Program (SMDP), which will address a “livelihoods approach” to microfinance, enterprise and economic development. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Inecobank Increases Lending to Micro-, Small Businesses in Rural Armenia, Securing all of $700k Offered Through International Finance Corporation as Performance-Based Grants

Inecobank, an Armenian microfinance bank, has increased its lending to micro- and small businesses in rural Armenia in concert with a set of performance-based grants from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the US-based World Bank Group. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Muthoot Fincorp of India to Offer $19m in Non-Convertible Debentures to Fund Continued Diversification from Gold Loans to Microfinance

Muthoot Fincorp Limited, an Indian non-banking finance company (NBFC), recently announced plans to sell INR 1 billion (USD 18.6 million) in non-convertible debentures (NCBs) to fund its expansion into the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and microfinance as a means of diversifying away from gold loans. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) of India Expands Allowable Microinsurance Agent Entity Types

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), the regulatory body of the insurance industry in India, recently issued a circular expanding the types of entities eligible to serve as microinsurance agents and clarifying existing regulations that bar multiple microinsurance agents from employing the same individuals. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation, Central Bank of Belize to Establish Credit-Reporting System

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the commercial arm of the US-based World Bank Group, is working with the Central Bank of Belize, the country’s financial regulatory body, to launch a credit-reporting system that will allow financial institutions to exchange credit information. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Luxembourg Fund Labeling Agency (LuxFLAG) Accepting Microfinance Label Applications Through May 7, Issues Environment Label to BNP Paribas L1 Equity World Aqua

The Luxembourg Fund Labeling Agency (LuxFLAG), a nonprofit organization that investigates whether investment vehicles actually support the microfinance and environment sectors, is accepting applications from microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs) for its annual Microfinance Label until May 7, 2013. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Utkarsh Raises $3.7m in Equity from Aavishkaar Goodwell, International Finance Corporation, Norwegian Microfinance Initiative

Utkarsh Micro Finance Private Limited (Utkarsh), an Indian microfinance institution (MFI), reportedly has received an INR 200 million (USD 3.7 million) equity investment from Norwegian Microfinance Initiative (NMI) Frontier Fund, which provides technical and financial support to “emerging” microfinance institutions under the management of the public-private partnership NMI; Aavishkaar Goodwell India Microfinance Development Company (AG), an Indo-Dutch for-profit investor in Indian MFIs; and the International Finance Corporation, the private-sector investment arm of the World Bank Group. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Microfinance Institution Tiers, Microfinance in East Africa, Weather Risk Management

“Microfinance Institution Tier Definitions;” published by MicroRate; April 2013; 2 pages; available at http://www.microrate.com/media/downloads/2013/04/MicroRate-White-paper-Microfinance-Institution-Tier-Definitions.pdf

This report proposes a “tier system that defines microfinance institution [MFI] peer groups by institutional maturity to provide a foundation for industry analysis and informed dialogue.” Continue reading