MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: JazzCash Mobile Money Users in Pakistan to Gain Access to Merchants Accepting Visa Cards

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.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Australian Government, ANZ Bank, PFIP to Connect Solomon Islands’ Coconut Farmers to Mobile Banking

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.

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Innovations in Building Financial Capability; BBVA Microfinance Foundation Social Performance Report; Growth, Evolving Trends in Financial Inclusion in India

“A Change in Behavior: Innovations in Financial Capability”; published by the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion; April 2016; 47 pages; available at http://www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org/fi2020/roadmap-to-inclusion/innovations-in-financial-capability

This document describes research aimed at identifying effective interventions for building the financial capability of microfinance customers, specifically as administered by three groups: financial service providers, governments and social service providers.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Loaning up to $2m to Arvand of Tajikistan for On-lending to Micro- and Small Enterprises (MSEs)

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).

MICROFINANCE PAPER ROUND-UP: Managing Risks for Smallholders in Africa, Financing Shortfall for Women-owned Enterprises in Indonesia, Perspectives of Banks in Emerging Countries on Financial Inclusion

“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

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Invest $80m in Acquiring Data on Progress, Barriers to Success of Women, Girls

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.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Green for Growth Fund to Loan $2.2m to Microfinance Institution Alter Modus of Montenegro for Energy Efficiency for Housing, Business

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).

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Tigo Tanzania Distributes $2.5m in Profit to Customers, Agents of Digital Payment Platform Tigo Pesa

Tigo Tanzania, a brand of Swedish telecom provider Millicom, recently announced it paid TZS 5.6 billion (USD 2.5 million) of its profits to Tigo Pesa users.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Controversy Brews as For-Profit Fintech Provider MyBucks Buys 6 African Microfinance Organizations from Nonprofit Opportunity International

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.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bâtisseur de Richesse (BR SARL) Among 50 Microfinance Institutions Closed in Gabon, David Mapakou Arrested For Alleged Savings Fraud

The Ministry of Economy of Gabon recently froze the activities of 50 microfinance institutions that lacked  approval to offer microfinance services.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FMO, ABN Amro, Privium Open FMO Privium Impact Fund to Invest in Job Creation, Environmental Efforts in Emerging Markets

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.

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Flexible Microloan Repayment Schedules in Bangladesh; Merchant Acceptance of Digital Payments in Developing Countries; Global Standard-setting Bodies and Financial Inclusion

“Cost-Benefit Analysis of Traditional Versus Flexible Microfinance in Bangladesh;” by S. Bairagi, W. Bin Shadat; published by the Copenhagen Consensus Center; May 2016;  32 pages; available at: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/bin_shadat_microfinance.pdf

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s SKS Microfinance Changes Name to Bharat Financial Inclusion, in Apparent Continuing Reaction to 2010 Microfinance Crisis in Andhra Pradesh

SKS Microfinance, a for-profit microfinance institution (MFI) headquartered in Hyderabad, India, recently announced it will change its name to Bharat Financial Inclusion [1].

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Foundation, Ideas42 Seek to Influence Mobile Money Behavior in the Philippines

Two US-based nonprofits, the microfinance-oriented Grameen Foundation and the behavioral design firm ideas42 recently launched a partnership to support financial inclusion in the Philippines by implementing a combination of behavioral science principles and digital financial services provided through mobile phones.