CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based, nonprofit research center that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, and the Citi Foundation, the charitable arm of US-based financial services firm Citigroup, recently launched the “East Asia Digital Financial Inclusion Program”.
JazzCash, a mobile money service of Pakistan-based cellular phone network Mobilink, and Visa, a US-based payment technology company, recently announced that JazzCash Mobile Account customers will be able to make purchases from the millions of merchants worldwide that accept Visa payment cards, including approximately 50,000 retail outlets in Pakistan.
Incofin Investment Management, a Belgium-based investment management firm focusing on microfinance institutions (MFIs) in developing countries, recently announced sales of some of its equity in Banco para el Fomento a las Iniciativas Económicas (Banco FIE), a Bolivian bank focusing on the financially excluded, to the bank’s incumbent shareholders.
The Sanad Fund for MSME (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises), a provider of loans and equity to financial institutions in the Middle East and North Africa, recently announced that it will lend an additional USD 10 million to AlexBank, an Egypt-based financial services institution, to on-lend to MSMEs in Egypt .
Root Capital, a US-based nonprofit investment fund, and The MasterCard Foundation, a Canadian organization founded by the US-based payments firm MasterCard Worldwide, recently announced a partnership aimed at raising incomes for 300,000 smallholder farmers in West Africa.
The Australian government; the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Bank, a publicly traded commercial bank; and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP), a Fiji-based initiative of the United Nations that attempts to extend financial services to unbanked Pacific Islanders, recently started a program with a budget of SBD 5 million (USD 650,000) to connect rural coconut oil producers, laborers, buyers and transport operators in the Solomon Islands with digital financial services.
Nandan Nilekani, Co-founder of Infosys Limited; Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons; Vijay Kelkar, Chairman of India’s National Institute of Public Finance and Policy; and R. Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, recently announced the launch of Avanti Finance, “a technology enabled financial inclusion vehicle.”
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral institution, recently agreed to provide loan funds of up to TJS 15.7 million (USD 2 million) to Arvand, a Tajikistan-based microfinance institution (MFI), for on-lending to local micro- and small enterprises (MSEs).
“Finance for Smallholders: Opportunities for Risk Management by Linking Financial Institutions and Producer Organisations;” by J de la Rive Box et al; published by the Food & Business Knowledge Platform, Agri Pro Focus and the Platform for Inclusive Finance NPM; May 2016; 22 pages; available at: http://www.inclusivefinanceplatform.nl/documents/npm%20summary%20report%20finance%20for%20smallholders.pdf
Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), a Dutch development bank, recently announced that it has closed a USD 100 million syndicated A/B loan for Banco Continental SAECA, a commercial bank operating in Paraguay.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in the United States, recently announced that it will commit USD 80 million over three years to improve the availability and reliability of data on women and girls including: (i) how much time they spend on unpaid work; (ii) information on the efficacy of programs and other interventions; and (iii) how successful political leaders are in supporting gender equality.
The Green for Growth Fund (GGF), a Luxembourg-based investment vehicle that supports energy-efficiency (EE) initiatives in Southeast Europe, recently announced that it will invest EUR 2 million (USD 2.2 million) in debt in Alter Modus, a Montenegro-based microfinance institution (MFI).
The Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) Bank, an Indian for-profit private company providing banking and other financial services, recently acquired Grama Vidiyal Micro Finance, a microfinance institution (MFI) headquartered in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, increasing its rural and semi-urban customer base by 1.2 million.
Suryoday Micro Finance Private Limited , a non-banking finance company providing microfinance services in India, recently raised INR 1 billion (USD 15 million) from investors including the Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) Bank; ASK Pravi; the Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Standard Life Insurance; Arpwood Investment Advisors; Kiran Vyapar, the investment arm of LN Bangur Group; Polaris Banyan Holding and Dr. Aravind Srinivasan .
The sale of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda over the first half of 2016 by US-based NGO Opportunity International to Luxembourg-based financial technology company MyBucks has raised concerns both that these MFIs’ clients could be negatively impacted and that these transactions signal that the sector’s overall direction has shifted toward profit-making.
The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, recently announced that it will invest up to INR 1.4 billion (USD 20 million) in Grameen Financial Services Private Limited and INR 3.4 billion (USD 50 million) in Janalakshmi Financial Services (JFS), Bangalore-based microfinance institutions (MFIs).
Three Dutch institutions, development bank Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), Algemene Bank Nederland (ABN) Amro, and fund manager Privium, recently announced the opening of the FMO Privium Impact Fund.
Uber, a US-based car hailing service, and Sidian Bank, a Kenya-based commercial bank, recently announced they will support Uber drivers in the purchase or lease of new vehicles.