The Grameen Crédit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), a Luxembourg-based provider of financial services to microfinance institutions (MFIs) and other social businesses, recently informed MicroCapital that it has issued the following three loans: (1) EUR 630,000 (USD 732,000) over a two-year period to Oxus DRC, a for-profit MFI based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that was launched in 2013 by the France-based Oxus Group; (2) EUR 271,000 (USD 314,000) over a three-year period to Hekima, a nonprofit specialising in providing group loans to “economically active” poor people in eastern DRC; and (3) EUR 198,000 (USD 230,000) over a three-year period to Agence Communautaire pour le Financement de la Micro Entreprise (ACFIME), a microfinance institution serving low-income populations in Burkina Faso .
The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based microfinance investment vehicle (MIV), recently announced that it is loaning EUR 10 million (USD 11.6 million) to UniCredit Bank Serbia, a subsidiary of Italy-based financial services company UniCredit Group, for on-lending for housing purchases and home improvement projects.
The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based microfinance investment vehicle (MIV), recently extended loans to Garanti Leasing (GL), a leasing subsidiary of Turkey’s Garanti Bank (GB), and Banca Intesa Beograd (BIB), a commercial bank in Serbia that is part of Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo.
The Grameen Crédit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), a Luxembourg-based provider of financial services to microfinance institutions (MFIs) and other social businesses, recently informed MicroCapital that it has issued the following three loans in local currency equivalent to: (1) EUR 482,000 (USD 555,000) over a two-year period to Juhudi Kilimo, a for-profit provider of microloans and microinsurance in Kenya; (2) EUR 293,000 (USD 339,000) over a three-year period to Uganda Microcredit Foundation (UMF), a microfinance institution offering financial services to “economically active” Ugandans; and (3) EUR 257,000 (USD 297,000) over a three-year period to Encot, a provider of microloans to rural enterprises in Uganda .
Muthoot Finance, an Indian non-banking finance company (NBFC) that offers money transfers and loans using gold items as collateral, recently partnered with Fidelity National Information Services (FIS), a US-based banking and payment technology provider, to introduce Muthoot-branded automated teller machines (ATMs) in rural areas of India.
Swaziland’s Ministry of Finance reportedly will launch a program to protect Swazi consumers from over-indebtedness by making consumer credit information available to all credit providers in the country, including development finance institutions, microlenders, savings cooperatives and retailers . Another aim of the effort is to lower the cost of credit to support a government effort to increase financial inclusion in the country from 50 percent in 2011 to 75 percent by 2022 . The principal secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Bheki Bhembe, reportedly said that “The project aims to strengthen credit information flow in Swaziland. By so doing, the project aims to increase access to affordable credit among the under-served market segments.”
The Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), a development finance institution owned by the UK government, has announced that it has made an equity investment of USD 11 million in Utkarsh, a northern Indian microfinance institution (MFI) .
Triodos Investment Management, a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Triodos Bank, recently disbursed loans of unspecified sizes to Enda Inter-Arabe, a Tunisian financial services provider that is part of Senegal-based non-governmental organization Enda Third-World, and Entrepreneurs Financial Centre (EFC) Uganda, a microfinance institution that provides financial services to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
By Jeremy Leach, Sandisiwe Ncube and Anand Menon; published by the Microinsurance Network; 2014; 49 pages; available at http://www.microinsurancenetwork.org/sites/default/files/MICRO_NetworkInvestor_PaperWEB.pdf
Microinsurance, a risk mitigation and management tool for people with low incomes, has grown from 78 million lives covered in 2005 to approximately 263 million lives in 2013, with a potential market estimated at 3 billion to 4 billion policies generating USD 30 billion to USD 50 billion in annual premium revenue. Total demand for microinsurance is growing approximately 10 percent per year, which the authors argue points to increasing investment opportunities and a promising business case for investors.
The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the US-based Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), recently announced that it has partnered with Asociación Dominicana para el Desarrollo de la Mujer (ADOPEM), a microfinance institution (MFI) in the Dominican Republic, and Nestlé Dominican Republic, a unit of the Switzerland-based multinational food and beverage company, to develop a project that will give low-income women in the country an opportunity to operate micro-franchises to distribute Nestlé products in their communities .
The Triodos Sustainable Trade Fund, which provides trade finance loans to co-operatives and private companies operating in “sustainable” agricultural value chains, recently opened a credit line for Urmatt Limited, a Thai company producing and processing certified organic rice, and ICAM Chocolate Uganda Limited, a subsidiary of the Italian firm Industria Cioccolato e Affini Morbegno (ICAM) that sources organically grown green cocoa beans directly from local farmers in Uganda. The funding, which is capped at USD 2 million , is intended to enable these two companies to pay “fair” prices to farmers and improve their cash flow management .
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral financial institution headquartered in England, recently extended loans to Finansbank, a commercial bank in Turkey that is a subsidiary of the National Bank of Greece Group, and Bank CenterCredit (BCC), a Kazakhstan-based joint stock company.
The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Association (EFSA), a governmental body that supervises and regulates the financial sector in the country, recently issued a resolution regulating the activities undertaken by microfinance companies.
Absolute Portfolio Management (APM), an arm of Austria-based asset management group C-Quadrat, recently informed MicroCapital that it disbursed credits totaling the approximate equivalent of USD 8.5 million from its two Vision Microfinance funds, the Dual Return Fund-Vision Microfinance and the Dual Return Fund-Vision Microfinance Local Currency, to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru.
“Financial Liberalization and Rural Banking in India;” published by the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata; 2014; 29 pages; available at http://www.networkideas.org/feathm/dec2004/Conference_Papers/Financial_Liberalisation_Rural_Banking_India_VKR.pdf
This paper examines the effects of the recent trend of financial liberalization in India, including its impact on banking policy and the structure of rural economies in the country.
Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), a Dutch public-private partnership that aims to promote growth in developing economies, recently disbursed a USD 70 million five-year syndicated loan to BRAC, an NGO that was formerly known as the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee and serves eleven countries as of 2015.
The Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA), a Bangladeshi government body that oversees the operations of nongovernmental organization (NGO) microfinance institutions (MFIs), reportedly is planning the launch of a Lead Microfinance Institution System to coordinate government-funded poverty reduction programmes at the ground level.  The model replicates the Lead Bank System present in the country, where a lead bank oversees the arrangement of loan syndications. One goal of this new system is to reduce possible overlaps among international and domestic poverty-reduction programmes that are active in the country. MRA Director Sazzad Hossain also offered the following example of what a lead MFI would do: “Suppose, 200 people are eligible for credits in an upazila, but under the existing system 150 people are getting the credit facilities. The lead MFI will find out why the rest are not under MFI credit programme.”
MasterCard, a US-based global payments and technology company, recently announced that it is launching the MasterCard Labs for Financial Inclusion, which is intended to generate new ideas and financial tools to promote financial inclusion in East Africa via a three-year grant in the amount of USD 11 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a US-based nonprofit that supports innovations in health, education and other fields.