SPECIAL REPORT: Ann Miles on Envisioning Agriculture As a Business for Youth in Africa – 3 Weeks Ahead of the SAM Conference in Ethiopia

MicroCapital: The Mastercard Foundation is organizing a session at SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) on “Envisioning agriculture as a business for youth in Africa.” What tools do youth need to be successful in agriculture?

Ann Miles: Learning and training is critical for youth to succeed in whatever they undertake, so we offer scholarships for talented but underprivileged youth to obtain secondary and university education. Once they graduate, we assist young people in finding work in agriculture; accessing finance or training for entrepreneurship; or developing the “soft skills” necessary to succeed in any job, such as networking, communication, or demonstrating reliability and resourcefulness.

Studies consistently have shown that

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: World Vision, Développement international Desjardins (DiD), Enablis Deploying Skills Training for Employment Program (STEP) in Senegal

Three Canadian NGOs, World Vision Canada, a unit of US-based Christian NGO World Vision; Développement international Desjardins (DID), a provider of access to financial services and financial education; and Enablis Canada, a consultant to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), recently collaborated to launch

MICROFINANCE EVENT: 3rd African International Conference on Islamic Finance; October 16-17, 2017; Abuja, Nigeria

Event Name: Third African International Conference on Islamic Finance

Event Location: Transcorp Hilton Abuja; Abuja, Nigeria

Summary of Event: This conference aims to highlight the ethics and impact of Islamic finance, primarily in West Africa. The agenda topics include ethical investment; regulations; financial technology; the alignment between Islamic finance and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and Islamic capital markets, including sukuk (bond) markets. One of the major ways that Islamic lending differs from mainstream loans is the use of mechanisms such as the sharing of profit and loss in lieu of conventional interest payments.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Ghana Association of Microfinance Companies (GAMC) Lobbies Central Bank to Reduce Capital Requirement for Rural MFIs

The Ghana Association of Microfinance Companies (GAMC) , an “umbrella” organization with 708 members, recently opened talks with the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the nation’s central bank, arguing for the loosening of regulations for

SPECIAL REPORT: Saleh Usman Gashua of AFRACA on Creating Value for SMEs at SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance)

MicroCapital: What is your perspective on the theme of SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) this year, “Creating Value for SMEs: A New Frontier for Inclusive Finance”?

Saleh Usman Gashua: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa are facing numerous challenges, especially in accessing finance. SMEs, particularly those in the “missing middle,” comprise a segment whose growth and development will go a long way in generating jobs for young Africans. With 11 million youth entering Africa’s labour market each year, we cannot ignore SMEs. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) and other organizations serving these enterprises therefore have a major role to play in the future of Africa. I hope this edition of SAM will generate a range of concrete solutions for this segment.

MC: Your organization, the African Rural & Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA), is one of several networks that collaborated to create SAM.

SUG: Organizing a forum of this magnitude is by no means an easy task! Given the experience of AFRACA organizing similar forums in the past, we know that a partnership approach is necessary. The coordination process so far has been seamless, with the lead institution, ADA, facilitating

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Entrepreneur Financial Centre (EFC) Tunisia Receiving Technical Assistance from International Finance Corporation (IFC), Opening New Branch in Sfax

Entrepreneurs Financial Centre (EFC) Tunisia, a for-profit microfinance institution based in Tunis, recently arranged to receive advisory services from the International Finance

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation Lends $840k to Mali’s Réseau de Micro-institutions de Croissance de Revenus (RMCR), Part for Microinsurance

The Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), a Luxembourg-based provider of financial services to microfinance institutions and social businesses, recently informed MicroCapital that it has committed to extending two loans denominated in CFA francs to Réseau de Micro-institutions de Croissance de Revenus (RMCR), a savings and credit union in Mali.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Financial Inclusion Summit East Africa; September 5, 2017; Nairobi, Kenya

Event Name: Financial Inclusion Summit East Africa 2017

Event Date: September 5, 2017

Event Location: Radisson Blu Hotel; Nairobi, Kenya

Cost: The fee to attend is USD 440.

Summary of Event: This conference offers opportunities “to discuss critical challenges, opportunities, pilot programmes and future roadmaps” associated with financial inclusion across East Africa. The event will feature approximately a dozen sessions on topics such as: the financial inclusion gender gap; how to overcome barriers to financial inclusion; financial regulation; financial technology; and the dynamics between financial inclusion and the wider financial services industry.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MicroFinanza Rating Issues 13 Institutional, Social, Client-protection Credentials to Microfinance Institutions in Albania, Morocco, Namibia, Asia, Latin America

During July and August, Italy’s MicroFinanza Rating (MFR) issued five microfinance institutional ratings. Morocco’s Attadamoune Micro-Finance was assigned the grade B+ with a stable outlook. Ecuador’s Fundación Espoir and Albania’s FED Invest both earned grades of BB with stable outlooks. Two institutions earned grades of

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP, Pula Announce Microinsurance Partnership for Farmers in Nigeria

CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based, nonprofit research center that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, and Pula, a Kenya-based, agricultural insurance intermediary that serves small-scale farmers by leveraging satellite technology, recently announced that they are partnering to deliver “satellite-based agricultural insurance” to farmers in Nigeria.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: ZAMFI Blames Zimbabwe’s Liquidity Challenges for Microfinance Portfolio-at-risk (PAR) Ratio Surpassing 12%

The Zimbabwe Association of Microfinance Institutions (ZAMFI), a 100-member advocacy group, recently announced its members’ aggregate portfolio-at-risk (PAR) ratio rose from 8.3 percent in December 2016 to 12 percent in March 2017, citing both “corporates and individuals fail[ing] to honour their debt obligations due to the liquidity crisis.”

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Benin’s Government Hikes Microcredit Program Budget to $5m

The government of Benin recently increased the budget of its “Microcredit for Very Poor People” program to XOF 3 billion (USD 5.2 million) from XOF 1.2 billion (USD 2.2 million). The program serves people “ineligible for classical bank financing”

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fairtrade Access Fund Issues $3m Trade-finance Loan to Cote d’Ivoire’s Enterprise Cooperative Kimbe (Ecookim), Supporting 12k Cocoa Farmers

German development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) recently notified MicroCapital that the Fairtrade Access Fund (FAF), which invests in initiatives supporting farmers in developing countries, has issued a trade finance loan of USD 3 million to Enterprise Cooperative Kimbe (Ecookim), a union of 23 cooperatives in Cote d’Ivoire. 

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Advans Cote d’Ivoire, Aga Khan’s PAMF-Mali Borrowing $3.8m from Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation

The Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), a Luxembourg-based provider of financial services to microfinance institutions and other social businesses, recently informed MicroCapital that it has committed to extending the following local-currency loans in phases over three years: the equivalent of USD 2.9 million to Advans Cote d’Ivoire and the equivalent of USD 890,000 to Premiere Agence de MicroFinance (PAMF) Mali.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: BIMAS of Kenya, AMZ of Zambia, PAIDEK of DR Congo Borrow $2m from Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation

The Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), a Luxembourg-based provider of financial services to social businesses, recently informed MicroCapital that it has committed to extending the following local-currency loans in phases over three years: the equivalent of USD 838,000 to Business Initiatives and Management Assistance Services (BIMAS) of Kenya, the equivalent of USD 582,000 to Agora Microfinance Zambia (AMZ), and the equivalent of USD 582,000 to Promotion et Appui aux Initiatives de Développement Economique du Kivu (PAIDEK) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Musoni Kenya Disburses Microloans to Fund D.light Solar Home Systems

D.light, a US-based provider of solar energy products, recently partnered with Musoni Kenya, a provider of mobile financial services, to finance solar electric systems for low-income Kenyans who live in communities with no electricity service.