MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fefisol Buys Equity Stake in Microfinance Institution Musoni of Kenya for $1m

Kenyan microlender Musoni recently took on its sixth shareholder, selling a stake of unspecified size for KES 100 million (USD 1 million) to Fonds Européen de Financement Solidaire (Fefisol), a fund managed by Alterfin, which is a Belgian investor in microfinance and

MICROFINANCE EVENT: ICT4D (Information and Communications Technology for Development); May 8 – 10, 2018; Lusaka, Zambia

Summary of Event: This event will address how technology can help meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Sessions will be themed around areas including Digital Financial Inclusion, Agriculture & Environment, and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: African Banks Join FMO’s FinForward, Gain Access to 4wrd System for Testing Customer Data with 145 Fintechs

The FinForward program of the Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), a development bank controlled by the Dutch government, has enrolled nine African financial institutions that are looking to improve their back-office systems or digitize the client-facing operations. The program offers the banks, which operate in 36 countries, access to 4wrd, “a testing environment where the banks and fintechs [financial technology firms] can test and integrate new financial technology solutions in a safe and secure manner.” The environment serves as a single connection point for financial institutions and mobile-money providers to access the services of 145

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation Lends $2.2m in Local Currency to Advans, Premiere Agence de MicroFinance (PAMF) of Cote d’Ivoire

The Grameen Credit Agricole (GCA) Foundation, whose head office is in Luxembourg, recently informed MicroCapital that it is extending the following local-currency loans: the equivalent of USD 1.24 million to Advans Cote d’Ivoire, a unit of Luxembourg’s Advans SA, and the equivalent of USD 950,000 to Premiere Agence de MicroFinance (PAMF) Cote d’Ivoire, an affiliate of Switzerland’s Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance.

Founded in 2012, Advans Cote d’Ivoire has a gross loan portfolio of EUR 74 million (USD 92 million), client deposits of EUR 46 million (USD 57 million), and 79,000 clients served via 12 branches as of June 2017. Advans SA, which is active in 10 countries

MICROFINANCE PAPER ROUND-UP: Measurement: from Financial Access to Economic Empowerment; Savings Groups’ Impact; MFIs’ Role with Startups

“Advancing Financial Inclusion Metrics: Shifting from Access to Economic Empowerment,” by Matthew Blake and Drew Propson, published by the World Economic Forum, January 2018, 24 pages, available at

The authors of this report address how to improve the measurement of financial inclusion and ultimately how to bridge financial inclusion with financial health. They identify the following mechanisms as critical to successful financial inclusion: (1) payments; (2) savings; (3) credit; and (4) regulation and policy. Regarding the connection of financial inclusion to financial health, the authors consider three case studies: (1) Insight2Impact, a data-analysis company seeking to measure financial inclusion based on the needs of consumers rather than on the products they are offered; (2) the nonprofit Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), which measures “long-term” consumer outcomes in the US; and (3) the application of CFSI’s model to other countries by

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: United Bank for Africa (UBA) Rolls Out “Intelligent Personality,” Leo, to Support Online Banking Customers via Facebook Messenger

United Bank for Africa (UBA), which serves 22 countries from its headquarters in Nigeria, recently unveiled Leo, “an artificial intelligence personality meant to address any type of banking concerns” via the Facebook Messenger app from US-based technology firm Facebook. UBA customers that also have a Facebook account may use the “chat banking” service to perform range of actions that includes opening accounts, checking account balances, transferring funds, buying mobile airtime, confirming transactions, applying for loans and freezing

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Green for Growth Fund Nets $19m in Equity from BMZ to Boost Funding of Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy Projects via Microfinance Institutions, Banks

The Green for Growth Fund (GGF), which invests in reductions in pollution and energy usage in Eurasia and North Africa, recently accepted an investment of EUR 15 million (USD 19 million) from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is also known by its German acronym BMZ, to boost the fund’s investment in

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Smallholder Finance Product Explorer from MIX, One Acre Fund Highlights Microfinance Institutions’ Agricultural Loan Offerings

Two US-based NGOs, MIX, a data provider also known as the Microfinance Information Exchange, and the One Acre Fund, which seeks to develop “market-based strategies to fight rural poverty,” recently rolled out public access to a set of data on financial services for small-scale farmers called the Smallholder Finance Product Explorer. The service, which is part of the MIX Market database, is slated to grow from its current level, which includes

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: IFC Buys $9m in Local-currency Bonds from CRRH-UEMOA to Support Housing Finance in West Africa

The World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation has purchased the equivalent of USD 9 million in bonds issued by the mortgage refinancier Caisse Regionale de Refinancement Hypothecaire de l’UEMOA (Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine). The goal of the investment is to catalyze USD 500 million in

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Pride Uganda, Harvesting, CGAP Partner to Develop Alternative Credit Scoring Model to Boost Microfinance, Crop Yields for Small-scale Coffee Farmers

With support from US-based nonprofit CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), US-based social enterprise Harvesting Incorporated is partnering with Pride Microfinance, which is owned by the government of Uganda, to devise a new model for lending to small-scale coffee farmers in Uganda. Greta Bull, the CEO of CGAP, states that “limited access to timely credit products for agricultural inputs [is detrimental to farmers’] crop yields and productivity.” This project will combine traditional data sources with “alternative” ones, such as

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Mondato Summit Africa; April 17 – 18, 2018; Johannesburg, South Africa

Summary of Event: The goal of the fifth iteration of this event is to help executives in the digital finance and commerce sectors share information and solve problems. Provisional agenda items include data analytics, case studies, reaching young people, measuring financial inclusion, cryptocurrencies, investment

MICROFINANCE PAPER ROUND-UP: Achieving SDGs by Supporting SMEs, Engaging Youth in Financial Services via Social Media, Effects of Financial Education on Credit Card Usage

“SMEs and SDGs: Supporting Small and Medium Enterprises to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” by Maria Teresa Zappia and Lisa Sherk, published by BlueOrchard, November 2017, 28 pages, available at http://www.blueorchard.com/smes-sdgs-supporting-small-medium-enterprises-achieve-sustainable-development-goals-insights-blueorchard-survey/

In this report, the authors explore how improving the business climate for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), may help achieve many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 17 guiding principles intended to help combat poverty, protect the environment, and encourage economic and political stability.

Ms Zappia and Ms Sherk surveyed financial institutions that lend to SMEs in the Caucasus, Central and South America, East Asia and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation Lends $1.2m to DR Congo’s Hekima; Burkina Faso’s SOFIPE, ACFIME

The Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation (GCAF), whose head office is in Luxembourg, recently informed MicroCapital that it has disbursed three-year loans to three microfinance institutions in Africa.

Hekima of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) borrowed USD 530,000 from GCAF. As of 2015, Hekima reports to the US-based nonprofit Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) total assets of USD 3.6 million, loans of USD 2.3 million outstanding to 10,000 borrowers, and deposits of 890,000 held for 12,000 clients. The MFI’s mission includes “contributing to the economic, social and spiritual lives” of DRC’s people.

The Société de Financement de la Petite Entreprise (SOFIPE) of Burkina Faso borrowed the local-currency equivalent of

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Tanzania’s Second National Financial Inclusion Framework Calls for Radio Broadcasts, ID Cards, Credit Bureaux, Mobile Banking to Grow Economy to Middle Income

The government of Tanzania recently launched its second five-year National Financial Inclusion Framework with the aim of helping boost the country to middle-income status by 2025 by shifting focus from access to financial services to the usage of those services, especially by youth and women. By 2022, benchmarks include increasing the usage of formal financial services from 65 percent to 75 percent of the population and the usage of insurance from 15 percent to

MICROFINANCE PAPER ROUND-UP: Index of Women Entrepreneurs; Investing in Affordable Housing; Comparing Impact, Traditional Investment Returns

“Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2017,” published by Mastercard, March 2017, 31 pages, available at https://newsroom.mastercard.com/eu/files/2017/03/Report-Mastercard-Index-of-Women-Entrepreneurs-2017-Mar-3.pdf

This tool is intended to measure the evolution of women’s participation in business around the world. The authors apply a set of 37 indicators to data from 54 economies to explore the variations in: (1) women’s advancement; (2) knowledge assets and financial access; and (3) supporting entrepreneurial conditions. One of the primary women’s-advancement indicators is the percentage of CEOs and managers that are women in a given country. Six of the top 10 performers are upper-middle-income countries, with Canada and New Zealand being the only

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Untu Capital of Zimbabwe Selling $1m in Bonds in Increments of $50 via Mobile Money to Support Microfinance, SME Lending

Untu Capital, a microlender in Zimbabwe, is looking to raise up to USD 1 million to support its lending to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises by selling “U-Gain” bonds in increments of USD 50. Individuals may buy the bonds on Zimbabwe’s Financial Securities Exchange (FINSEC) via EcoCash, the mobile money service of South Africa’s Econet Group. Although the bonds have a term of one year

MICROFINANCE EVENT: International Conference on Responsible Inclusive Finance; March 21 – 22, 2018; Kigali, Rwanda

Summary of Event: As related to delivering “responsible” financial services, this conference will cover client protection, enabling environments, client perspectives and digital payments, including serving the

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Global Parametrics, 6 VisionFund Microfinance Institutions Prepare for Climate Disasters Under African and Asian Resilience in Disaster Insurance Scheme (ARDIS)

Global Parametrics, a for-profit risk manager funded by UK-based and German development institutions, and the UK-based NGO VisionFund International recently established the African and Asian Resilience in Disaster Insurance Scheme (ARDIS), to protect six VisionFund microfinance institutions (MFIs). In case of drought or extreme storm, the MFIs can access up to USD 10 million to manage delays in client repayments and