MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Australia Donates $6m to Laos-Focused “Making Access to Finance More Inclusive for Poor People” Programme of the United Nations

The government of Australia has committed a donation of USD 6.15 million to support the United Nations Development Cooperation Forum (UNDCF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in their joint programme titled “Making Access to Finance More Inclusive for Poor People” (MAFIPP), which is implemented by the Bank of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (BLPDR), the central bank of Laos, with the aim of improving poor rural household access to a variety of financial services. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Azerbaijan Microfinance Association Considers Credit Bureau for Microlenders

Teymur Heybatov, a representative of the Azerbaijan-Central Asia Financial Markets Infrastructure (ACAFI) advisory services project of the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), reportedly has announced that a meeting will be held with the leadership of the Azerbaijan Microfinance Association (AMA) to discuss establishing a credit bureau for microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Azerbaijan. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Crédit Agricole Microfinance Foundation Loans $800k to Soro Yiriwaso of Mali, Viator of Azerbaijan

The Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), a Luxembourg-based nonprofit that provides financial services to microfinance institutions, recently notified MicroCapital that it has disbursed a one-year loan of USD 396,000 to Mali-based microfinance institution (MFI) Soro Yiriwaso, its third loan to Soro Yiriwaso to date. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kenya-based Gulf African Bank, African Guarantee Fund Partner to Lend $1.2m to Small, Medium-Sized Businesses

The African Guarantee Fund (AGF), a Kenya-based organization backed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) that aims to increase financial access in Africa by underwriting commercial bank lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), reportedly has agreed to guarantee an unspecified portion of KES 100 million (USD 1.2 million) to be loaned by Gulf African Bank (GAB), a Kenya-based bank offering Shari’ah-compliant products and services, to SMEs in Kenya. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Star Microinsurance Company of Ghana Pays Insurance Claims to Kantamanto Fire Victims through MicroEnsure, Advans Ghana

Ghana-based Star Microinsurance Company Limited reportedly has paid some of the victims of the Kantamanto and Agbogbloshie markets fire outbreak in the Ghanian city of Accra a total insurance claim of GHS 115,000 (USD 57,629) through its partners MicroEnsure Ghana, an insurance intermediary and subsidiary of US-based nonprofit Opportunity International, and Advans Ghana Savings and Loans, a non-bank financial institution that focuses on micro enterprise. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Ahon sa Hirap Incorporated, Philippine Social Security System to Expand Coverage to 25,000 Women Entrepreneurs

The Social Security System (SSS), the Philippines’ state-owned pension fund for private sector employees, reportedly has announced a new agreement with Philippines-based microfinance institution (MFI) Ahon Sa Hirap Incorporated (ASHI) to expand SSS coverage to 25,000 female ASHI borrowers. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A) Announces the Launching of the Stakeholder Engagement Web Portal

Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A), a partnership based in Tunisia between 13 development institutions launched in 2007 that focuses on promoting financial sector development in all of Africa, has launched the Stakeholder Engagement Web Portal, a web-based doorway to all the organization’s stakeholder’s activities across continent. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nine Indian Impact Investment Companies Forming “Indian Impact Investor Council”

Nine companies that specialize in impact investment reportedly will be establishing the “Indian Impact Investor Council” (IIIC) to establish guidelines helping investment companies in India regulate their efforts to meet social goals. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Agricultural Mobile Applications in Kenya Increase Market Information for Farmers

Kenyan farmers are using mobile agriculture applications to improve market information such as M-Farm, iCow, Kilimo Salama, M-Pesa and M-Shwari. These agri-technological innovations aim to offer either increased transparency or the extension of financial services to farmers. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: State Bank of Pakistan’s Credit Guarantee Scheme for Small, Rural Businesses Extends Loan Repayment Term to 5 Years

The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP’s) Credit Guarantee Scheme for Small and Rural Businesses (CGS), which aims to increase financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas via retail banks, reportedly will extend client loan terms from three years to five years in an effort to increase economic opportunities by facilitating the purchase of tractors and other agricultural tools. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: PKF Chartered Accountants Advises Royal Bank Zimbabwe to Downscale to Microfinance Institution

PKF Chartered Accountants, the Zimbabwean member of UK-based businesses services firm PKF International, reportedly has advised Royal Bank Zimbabwe Limited, a defunct bank, to convert its commercial banking license to a microfinance institution (MFI) license, which carries lower capital requirements set by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the country’s central banking institution. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF) Disburses Tranches of $1.8m in Loans to African Microfinance Institutions GRAINE of Burkina Faso, CAURIE of Senegal

The Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), a Luxembourg-based nonprofit that provides financial services to microfinance institutions (MFI), recently notified MicroCapital that it disbursed the second of three tranches of a loan totaling XOF 244 million (USD 487,600) to the MFI Groupe d’Accompagnement à l’Investissement et à l’Epargne (GRAINE), which serves 40,000 women in Burkina Faso, primarily in remote areas. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Savings Groups in Rural Mali, Three Market Archetypes Advancing Financial Inclusion, Long-term Trends in India’s Rural Credit Market

“Final Impact Evaluation of the Savings for Change Program in Mali;” by Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at The University of Arizona and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA); published by Oxfam America and Freedom from Hunger; April 2013; 215 pages; available at http://www.oxfamamerica.org/issues/community-finance/files/final-impact-evaluation-saving-for-change

This report presents the results from a study conducted by The University of Arizona and Innovations for Poverty (IPA) between 2009 and 2012 intended to explore the impact of savings groups in 500 villages in rural Mali, where 82 percent of surveyed households live on approximately USD 1.25 per day and the “typical village is more than 14 miles from a paved road.” Continue reading