SPECIAL REPORT: Scaling Up Implementation of Social Performance Management at European Microfinance Week

On European Microfinance Week 2017the first day of conference sessions at European Microfinance Week, experts in the social performance of microfinance institutions (MFIs) discussed how tools developed over the last ten years have reached a level of maturity warranting their wider rollout.

Cecile Lapenu of France-based Cerise described SPI4, the fourth iteration of a set of Social Performance Indicators intended to simplify reporting and provide a common language for different stakeholders to discuss social performance management (SPM). SPI4 incorporates the Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Principles and the Social Performance Task Force’s Universal Standards for SPM. It also includes optional modules on poverty, gender and the environment. To date, 432 SPI4 audits have been completed on institutions in 88 countries.

Jurgen Hammer of the Luxembourg-based Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation explained his organization’s use of the SPI4/ALINUS (Aligning Investors’ Due Diligence to the Universal Standards) framework to evaluate and benchmark the social performance of its partner MFIs. The foundation was meeting or exceeding the benchmark data in all categories except

SPECIAL REPORT: Rural Outreach and Innovation Action Group Highlights Apps, Soil Test Kits, Funding Agricultural Cooperatives

On European Microfinance Week 2017the first afternoon of European Microfinance Week, the European Microfinance Platform’s (e-MFP’s) Rural Outreach & Innovation Action Group presented a range of services that are reaching rural areas today.

Amsalu Alemayehu of Ethiopia’s Wasasa Microfinance explained that his organization has been financing agricultural cooperatives for about five years and how this can be an efficient method for serving a large number of people. However, the number of cooperatives Wasasa serves remains small. Mr Alemayehu explained that many of the 78,000 cooperatives in Ethiopia are member-managed and need significant capacity building to become creditworthy.

Marina Kortenbusch of Switzerland’s Business & Finance Consulting (BFC), who is also the chair of the Action Group, spoke passionately about

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: IFC Lends $7m to Opportunity Bank Serbia (OBS) to Support Rural Farmers, MSEs

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, recently lent USD 7 million to Opportunity Bank Serbia (OBS) for on-lending to farmers as well as micro- and small enterprises with the intent of helping

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EBRD, EU, European Investment Advisory Hub to Provide Technical Assistance to SMEs in Bulgaria, Romania

The UK-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the EU and the European Investment Advisory Hub recently created a program to provide

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: 11 Women Offered MFI Jobs After Completing Afghanistan Microfinance Association Apprenticeships

A group of 75 women recently completed nine-month microfinance apprenticeships in the Afghan provinces of Balkh, Herat and Kabul. Eleven of these have been offered paid positions within the microfinance institutions (MFIs) at which they trained, Afghan Rural Finance Company, the First Microfinance Bank of Afghanistan, the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) Afghanistan and Oxus Afghanistan. Three additional MFIs, Mutahid, Exchangerzone and Hand in Hand, have agreed to host women apprentices in the future.

The program was funded by

MICROFINANCE EVENT: 14th Annual Global Microfinance Forum; March 15-16, 2018; Munich, Germany

Event Name: 14th Annual Global Microfinance Forum

Event Date: March 15 – March 16, 2018

Event Location: Munich, Germany

Summary of Event: This conference will include sessions on microleasing, “green” microcredit, managing foreign exchange risk, crowdfunding, serving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), technology, leveraging guarantees

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Uzbekistan’s NBU Borrowing $70m from EBRD to On-lend to MSMEs

The National Bank for Foreign Economic Activity of Uzbekistan (NBU) recently opened credit lines totaling USD 100 million with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based development finance institution. USD 70 million of the total is earmarked to on-lend to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, with the remainder allocated to

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Second European Microfinance Summit – Future Challenges for Sustainable Development; January 25-26, 2018; Vienna, Austria

Event Name: Second European Microfinance Summit – Future Challenges for Sustainable Development

Event Date: January 25-26, 2018

Event Location: Vienna, Austria

Summary of Event: This event will compare and contrast microfinance in Eastern and Western Europe, focusing the inclusion of people in very rural areas, environmental impacts, technology and

SPECIAL REPORT: HR Challenges Within MFIs at European Microfinance Week: “Banking Is People”

MicroCapital: Do you find that microfinance institutions (MFIs) tend to underinvest in human resources (HR)?

Rüdiger Meister: Definitely! Despite the efforts of many consultants in this field, the crucial role of HR management remains under-estimated. Technical assistance interventions, which often accompany investments into MFIs, tend to focus on discrete areas rather than following a holistic and structured approach to capacity building.

There is also a problem of short-term versus long-term thinking. In the short term, the MFI will function even if there are weaknesses in HR management. But in the long term, the MFI will have to pay for mistakes in areas such as

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EBRD Loans $2.3m to Kreditimi Rural i Kosoves (KRK) to Support “Green Economy” in Kosovo

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based development finance institution created following the Cold War, recently loaned EUR 2 million (USD 2.3 million) to Kreditimi Rural i Kosoves (KRK), a microfinance institution primarily serving the agriculture sector and low-income individuals in Kosovo. As part of EBRD’s Green Economy Transition (GET) policy, the loan will support

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Green for Growth Fund (GGF) Loans $6m to Halkbank to Finance Energy-efficient Housing in Serbia

The Green for Growth Fund (GGF), which was founded by Germany’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the EU’s European Investment Bank (EIB), recently disbursed EUR 5 million (USD 5.9 million) to Halkbank AD Belgrade, a subsidiary of Turkey’s government-controlled Halk Bank Incorporated. The loan is slated to back mortgages on homes that consume

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: C-Quadrat’s Dual Return Vision Microfinance Funds Lend $31m to MFIs in Asia, Latin America

C-Quadrat Asset Management, an arm of Austrian fund manager C-Quadrat, recently informed MicroCapital that its Dual Return Vision Microfinance funds lent a total approximately equivalent to USD 31 million to unidentified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in five Asian countries, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan, as well as three Latin American countries, Ecuador, Mexico and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Taps Albania Agribusiness Support Facility (AASF) to Back $60m in Loans for Farmers, Related Firms

Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, a subsidiary of Italy-based Intesa Sanpaolo, recently partnered with the Albania Agribusiness Support Facility (AASF), a funding vehicle established by

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Akhuwat, AlHuda Center of Islamic Banking and Economics Hosting 7th Global Islamic Microfinance Forum; November 24-25, 2017; Istanbul, Turkey

Event Name: Seventh Global Islamic Microfinance Forum: “Evidence of Impact – Financial Inclusion”

Event Dates: Conference: November 24 – November 25, 2017; Post-conference workshop: November 27 – November 28, 2017

Event Location: Istanbul Lütfi K?rdar International Convention and Exhibition Center; Istanbul, Turkey

Summary of Event: The primary objective of this event is to “create awareness of Islamic microfinance for the benefit of humankind.” Islamic microfinance consists of services conducted according to Shariah law, which includes a prohibition on charging interest in favor of concepts such as the sharing of profit and loss. The event will feature approximately 40 speakers from 30 countries covering topics including: the potential of Islamic microfinance; funding challenges faced by Islamic microfinance institutions (MFIs); the “Qarz-e-Hasan” model of Islamic microfinance; and “Micro Takaful, Waqf and Zakat – Supportive elements for Islamic microfinance.” AlHuda will also host a two day post-conference workshop called “Islamic Agriculture and Rural Finance.”