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

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to Loan $77m to UniCredit Bank Serbia for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral finance institution, recently announced it will lend EUR 60 million (USD 76.9 million) to UniCredit Bank Serbia, a subsidiary of Italy-based financial services company UniCredit Group, for on-lending to private small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Serbia. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Ghana Institute for Management and Public Administration, Venture Capital Trust Fund Establish Centre for Impact Investing

Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF), an initiative of the government of Ghana to provide low-cost capital to private businesses, reportedly has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government-run business school Institute for Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), establishing a Centre for Impact Investing. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MFTransparency Reveals Truth in Lending Tables Data Platform and Pricing Transparency Index

MicroFinance Transparency (MFTransparency), a US-based nongovernmental organization that provides information on microcredit products and their prices, recently revealed the Truth in Lending Tables (TILT) Data Platform that displays the interest rates and fees charged to 40 million microfinance clients of 429 institutions across 20 countries. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Loans $80m to Turkey’s Vakiflar Bankasi (Vakifbank) for SME Energy-Efficiency Projects

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based development finance institution established in 1991, has directed the equivalent of USD 80 million in Turkish lira to Vakiflar Bankasi (Vakifbank), a state-controlled Turkish bank, to be on-lent to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Turkey to pursue small-scale renewable energy projects and other investments that reduce their greenhouse emissions. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank Indonesia Releases “Guiding Principles” for Branchless Banking Trial; Indosat, Telkomsel, PT XL Axiata to Offer Money Transfers for $0.21

Bank Indonesia, the country’s central bank, recently issued “guiding principles” for upcoming tests of a banking and payment system through existing Financial Services Intermediary Units (FSIU), registered third-party services which facilitate the provision of non-conventional banking services. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Low Repayment Rates Threaten Ghana’s Governmental Microfinance and Small Loan Centre (MASLOC)

The Microfinance and Small Loans Center (MASLOC), a Ghanaian government-funded program established in 2004 to implement microfinance programs targeted at reducing poverty and creating jobs, reportedly has indicated that low loan repayment rates are threatening to collapse the program. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: IFC to Loan $50m to BanBif of Peru to Support Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, recently announced that it would loan USD 50 million to Banco Interamericano de Finanzas (BanBif), a Peruvian commercial bank, in an effort to double the number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) served by the bank by 2017. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF) Loans $370k to Microfinance Institution Chamroeun of Cambodia

The Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), a Luxembourg-based nonprofit that provides financial services to microfinance institutions, recently notified MicroCapital that it approved a three-year, local-currency loan equivalent to approximately USD 370,000 to Chamroeun, a Cambodian microfinance institution. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Promotes Entrepreneurship Through 20-week Startup Design Course, Supports “Small Business Credit Guarantee Scheme”

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), the monetary authority of six Caribbean nations including Antigua and Barbuda, in partnership with the Antigua Barbuda Investment (ABI) Bank, a private bank founded in 1990, recently hosted a 20-week entrepreneurship course in the country of Antigua and Barbuda aimed at helping aspiring entrepreneurs to improve their presentation and business plan development skills. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Land Bank of Philippines Announces Bayadload E-Payment Service for Mandatory Government Contributions

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), a government bank specializing in serving farmers and fishermen, has announced that it will partner with Smart Hub, a subsidiary of Filipino telecom Smart Communications, to offer a new e-payment channel called “BayadLoad” to allow household workers or their employers to make mandatory government contributions using their mobile phones. Continue reading