The government of Kenya recently passed legislation to cap the interest rates on bank loans at 4 percent per year above an undisclosed benchmark reference rate and also set the minimum deposit interest rate at 70 percent of the reference rate.
Event Name: East Africa Microfinance Summit
Event Date: November 2 – November 4, 2016
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.
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.
“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.
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
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).
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.
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 Ministry of Economy of Gabon recently froze the activities of 50 microfinance institutions that lacked approval to offer microfinance services.
Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), a Kenya-based publicly traded financial services company, and GoSwiff, a Singapore-based payment facilitation firm, recently rolled out a mobile payment solution for merchants in Rwanda.
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.
“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
SKS Microfinance, a for-profit microfinance institution (MFI) headquartered in Hyderabad, India, recently announced it will change its name to Bharat Financial Inclusion .
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.
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.