MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FINCA Microfinance Bank of Tanzania Rolls Out HaloYako Mobile Savings Product

The Tanzanian affiliate of the US-based Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA International) recently began offering a service called HaloYako that allows people to open savings accounts via mobile phones. There is no fee to use the service or maintain the associated account. In fact, customers can earn

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Africa Banking & Finance Conference; April 10 – 11, 2018; Lagos, Nigeria

Event Name: Africa Banking & Finance Conference

Event Date: April 10 – April 11, 2018

Event Location: Lagos, Nigeria

Summary of Event: This is the seventh iteration of this event, which will focus again on financial inclusion. In addition to a trade show, the conference will include sessions on insurance, savings, payments, capacity building, measuring success, regulation, agent banking, serving women and youth, and how banks can downscale

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank of Ghana Warns Public About Illegal Microfinance Institutions

The Bank of Ghana recently accused a group of microfinance institutions of operating illegally, including Agro Development Fund Services Limited, Hebron Financial Services, MMM, Money-doubler and Oboanipa Ventures Limited. The government of Ghana is in the process of implementing a Depositors Insurance Act

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: 11th Symbiotics MIV Survey, Very Small Businesses in Ethiopia, Climate-shock Recovery Lending in Africa

“2017 Symbiotics MIV Survey,” published by the Symbiotics Group, September 2017, 55 pages, available at:
http://symbioticsgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Symbiotics-2017-MIV-Survey.pdf

This 11th annual survey of microfinance investment vehicles (MIV) offers data from 93 microfinance funds managed by “44 specialized asset management companies located in 17 countries.” The responding firms’ funds comprise 94 percent of the estimated market size of USD 13.5 billion. The MIV’s assets allocated to microfinance total USD 9.6 billion, of which 73 percent is in fixed-income funds, 16 percent in mixed funds and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Incofin Raises $6.5m from KfW for Fairtrade Access Fund, DRC-focused FPM

Belgium’s for-profit Incofin Investment Management recently received investments from German development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) in two funds that it advises, the Fairtrade Access Fund (FAF), which invests in initiatives supporting farmers in developing countries, and FPM SA (Fonds pour l’inclusion financière en République Démocratique Congo), which lends “medium-term” funds

SPECIAL REPORT: Microfinance Investment Vehicles, MFIs “Speed Date” at SAM Investor’s Fair in Ethiopia

Both the “speed dating” and “free meeting” sessions for microfinance institutions (MFIs) to sit down with investors were very popular at SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference in Addis Ababa. Representatives of dozens of organizations met each other for the first time and renewed old connections.

Duncan Frayne of Switzerland-based Symbiotics Group spoke on behalf of REGMIFA (the Regional MSME Investment Fund for Sub-Saharan Africa), for which his company serves as investment manager. He said, “The value for me is meeting up-and-coming MFIs as well as

SPECIAL REPORT: Innovations in Fintech, Human Resources Development at SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance)

At SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference in Addis Ababa, a wide variety of vendors presented their wares. Among these were several core banking system providers. Antonio Separovic of Oradian previously had set the stage for the conversation at the fintech (financial technology) session organized by Dutch development bank FMO. He argued that microfinance institutions (MFIs) shouldn’t start by thinking about whether to buy a new system, but about where the MFI wants to go and how to get there. “Fintech may be able to reduce the friction to do these things,” he said.

Cameron Goldie-Scot of Musoni agreed: “It’s about what are the challenges in your organization? Is it too expensive to handle cash in rural areas? Do you have trouble getting

SPECIAL REPORT: Public Solutions at SAM: Collateral Registries, Business Training, Higher Microinsurance Uptake Can Promote Entrepreneurship in Africa

At SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) plenary on “Public Solutions to Promote Entrepreneurship in Africa,” Kennedy Komba of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) explained that his institution’s SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprise) Working Group comprises 53 regulatory and policy-making bodies. To facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship, these agencies have created collateral registries, adjusted lender liquidity ratios, updated know-your-customer frameworks and established rules for digital financial services. Trainers in Zambia used a financial education game to reach 5,000 people, of whom 80 percent were able to improve their businesses as a result. In Ghana, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Bank of Ghana collaborated to boost local value chains in an effort to reduce costly

SPECIAL REPORT: At SAM, a “Moral Obligation” to Include More People in the Financial System, Harvesting Wins $12k FMO Fintech for Microfinance Prize for Use of Satellite Data to Boost Agricultural Lending

At the gala dinner at SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Olivier Massart, the General Manager of ADA, argued that the attendees of the event have incurred a “moral obligation” to increase financial inclusion. The 650+ attendees spent an estimated total of USD 1 million to USD 2 million on travel and registration fees. Because they elected not to spend this money directly on serving poor people, Mr Massart challenged each delegate to bring at least one additional person in to the financial system for each

SPECIAL REPORT: Reinventing Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) to Meet the Needs of SMEs at SAM: Building Staff Capacity, Sharing Default Risk with Investors, Helping Entrepreneurs Think Big

On the second day of SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Godwin Ehigiamusoe of Nigeria’s LAPO discussed the needs and expectations of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). He explained that they generally are sensitive to price and prefer not to post collateral. Loan sizing and duration are key. From a lender’s perspective, SMEs need to get their records out of their heads and onto paper (if not into digital form). The Central Bank of Nigeria has six Entrepreneurship Development Centers at which business owners can get assistance with business plans and other support.

Mr Ehigiamusoe added that LAPO became involved with SME lending as its microenterprise clients grew. Likewise the staff of LAPO was in need of capacity development to serve their clients’ evolving needs. LAPO’s Sufen loan program is designed to identify female entrepreneurs with high growth potential and

SPECIAL REPORT: ADA, Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation Sign Collaboration Agreement at SAM

After Tuesday’s sessions at the “SAMthe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Olivier Massart, the General Manager of ADA, and Eric Campos, Managing Director of the Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), signed an agreement to collaborate on their institutions’ service delivery to microfinance institutions (MFIs). Mr Massart explained that the two Luxembourgish NGOs will work “hand in hand” in areas including the measurement of social impact. ADA specializes in technical assistance, and although GCAMF also provides technical assistance, it is a major local-currency funder of MFIs. Both institutions prioritize working with MFIs that serve people in rural areas as well as women in general.

Mr Campos told MicroCapital that a primary motivation for the collaboration is to reduce the workload for MFIs, which are often called upon to submit substantial amounts of overlapping data to funders and other interested parties. He also spoke passionately about how MFIs can maintain market share as fintech

SPECIAL REPORT: At SAM, Calls for Alternatives to Collateral, Acquiring Insurance, Technical Assistance, Cheaper Loans for SMEs

During SAM Conference 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopiathe SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference today, Willie Mzumala of Malawi’s Tapika Food Products described how he has grown his business over 13 years to employ 9 people year-round plus additional seasonal staff. However, he still is offered loans at interest rates as high as 45 percent. In addition to affordable financing, he sees a need for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to get help with marketing, getting international exposure and standardizing quality.

Richard Muteti of the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations repeated Mr Mzumala’s call for help with standardization and more affordable financing. Among other barriers to SME success, he cited lack of appropriately

SPECIAL REPORT: “Financial Inclusion and Job Creation in Africa” at the SAM Conference in Addis Ababa

Today “SAMat the SAM (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance) conference, Laura Foschi of ADA addressed the question of “how to support enterprises as they make the transition from micro- to small and medium-sized.”

Rebecca Rouse of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), described how randomized controlled trials can help determine “how can we best create value, spaces and opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and SME growth.” For example, evaluating the effectiveness of a business training program is much more enlightening when

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MicroFinanza Rating Issues 5 Institutional, Social Credentials to Microfinance Institutions in Ecuador, Mexico, Palestine, Rwanda

Italy’s MicroFinanza Rating (MFR) issued two microfinance institutional ratings during September. Palestine’s Asala Company for Credit and Development was assigned a grade of BB+ with a “stable” outlook, and Inkunga Finance of Rwanda was assigned a grade of

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nigerian Government, Bank of Industry (BOI) Launch National Women Empowerment Fund (NAWEF), Charging Flat 5% Fee for Microloans Totaling $4.5m

The Nigerian government recently issued NGN 1.6 billion (USD 4.5 million) to the National Women Empowerment Fund (NAWEF), a new funding mechanism that will provide women with 6-month, collateral-free loans of between NGN 10,000 (USD 28) and NGN 100,000 (USD 278). The borrowers will pay a 5-percent administrative fee, but

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Egyptian Mobile Payment Platform Fawry Sells Equity Stake to Private Equity Firm Managed by responsAbility

An entity managed by Switzerland’s responsAbility Investments recently purchased a stake of undisclosed size and price in Fawry, a mobile payments platform in Egypt. Fawry has 20 million customers, whom it enables to pay bills and make retail purchases via mobile phones, credit cards, automatic teller machines, accounts at 23 banks, and point-of-sale machines at 65,000