MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Guatemala’s Fundación Génesis Empresarial, Pakistan’s Kashf Foundation, Opportunity Bank of Uganda Named as Finalists for Education Edition of $112k European Microfinance Award

The European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), a network of European microfinance stakeholders working in developing countries, recently announced that three finalists for the 7th European Microfinance Award have been selected from 30 applicants: (1) Fundación Génesis Empresarial of Guatemala; (2) Kashf Foundation of Pakistan; and (3) Opportunity Bank of Uganda.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) to Host European Microfinance Week, November 16-18, 2016, Luxembourg

Event Name: European Microfinance Week 2016

Event Date: November 16 – November 18, 2016

Event Location: Neimënster, 28 Rue Münster, L-2160 Luxembourg

SPECIAL REPORT: Rural Outreach and Innovation Action Group of the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP)

Marina Kortenbusch, who serves as the Head of the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP’s) Rural Outreach and Innovation (ROI) Action Group, is the Managing Partner of Switzerland’s Business and Finance Consulting. Josien Sluijs is an e-MFP board member and Director of the Netherlands’ Platform for Inclusive Finance, which is also a member of the ROI Action Group.

MicroCapital: Why is it important to serve rural markets?

Marina Kortenbusch: In most emerging economies, the rural sector employs a large share of the working population. Developing rural markets is an effective way to boost prosperity by increasing the incomes of individuals whilst also contributing to food security, reducing environmental impact and increasing exports.

MC: What are some key differences between rural and urban markets?

SPECIAL REPORT: 7th European Microfinance Award: $112k for Education Funding

Christoph Pausch serves as Executive Secretary of the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP). The European Microfinance Award is jointly organised by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs – Directorate for Development Cooperation, e-MFP and the Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg, with the support of the European Investment Bank. For more details, please visit http://www.european-microfinance-award.com.

MicroCapital: Why is education access the topic of this year’s Award?

Christoph Pausch: Education is the strongest predictor of economic
well-being, and it can also have a major impact on health, women’s empowerment and even population growth. Unfortunately,

SPECIAL REPORT: June 1 is Deadline for $114k European Microfinance Award: “Microfinance and Access to Education”

June 1 is the deadline to apply for the seventh European Microfinance Award, which is themed “Microfinance and Access to Education” and includes the opportunity to win EUR 100,000 (approximately USD 114,000).

SPECIAL REPORT: Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Offers $114k Prize for Use of Microfinance to Increase Access to Education, Applications due June 1, 2016

The seventh European Microfinance Award, titled “Microfinance and Access to Education”, includes a cash prize totalling EUR 100,000 (approximately USD 114,000) to be presented by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs – Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs on November 17, 2016, during European Microfinance Week.

SPECIAL REPORT: Good News, “Painful” News About Digital Finance at the Final Day of European Microfinance Week

European Microfinance WeekIn moderating Friday’s panel on “Integrating digital financial services” at European Microfinance Week, Philippe Breul of PHB Development opened with several examples of success: (1) Microfinance institution (MFI) Musoni Kenya reducing loan turnaround time from 72 to 6 hours; (2) Indian MFI Ujjivan boosting loan officers’ caseloads by 134 percent; and (3) Opportunity Bank Serbia, which operates in an area of better mobile connectivity than the other two MFIs, providing immediate credit decisions in response to 80 percent of loan applications. Mr Breul stated that the time period required to save enough on costs to offset the expense of the tablets and other elements of digital systems can be as low as

SPECIAL REPORT: Serving Youth: Back-to-School Savings Promotions, Lower Loan Portfolio-at-Risk (PAR) Ratios

European Microfinance WeekOn Friday, during the final day of European Microfinance Week, Ata Cisse of the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) explained how that organization’s YouthStart program, which was launched in 2010 in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation of Canada, facilitated microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Africa collecting deposits equivalent to USD 16 million through 2014 from 600,000 youth, roughly evenly divided between young men and women.

SPECIAL REPORT: How Microinsurance Affected Mongolian Herders Rebuilding After Drought

European Microfinance WeekAt European Microfinance Week yesterday, Veronika Bertram-Hümmer of Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Berlin (the German Institute for Economic Research) and Leibniz Universitat Hannover presented research on how insured and uninsured herders in Mongolia recovered from the 2009-2010 drought that killed 22 percent of the livestock in the country. Insured households received an average payout of USD 312. None used the money to buy livestock, instead opting

SPECIAL REPORT: Crédit Rural de Guinée Wins $110k European Microfinance Award for Response to Ebola

Crédit Rural de Guinée (CRG) has been announced as the winner of the 6th European Microfinance Award, focusing this year on Microfinance in Post-disaster, Post-conflict Areas & Fragile States, for its innovative response to the Ebola outbreak in Guinea. The Award was presented during European Microfinance Week by Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, during a ceremony on 19th November held at the European Investment Bank headquarters in Luxembourg.

SPECIAL REPORT: On Financial Stability, Inclusion, Exclusion and “Big Mistakes”

During a session on financial stability at European Microfinance Week yesterday, Piotr Korynski of the Microfinance Centre said regarding financial services that “it is not always a good idea to include everybody.” After showing data from a range of countries showing a positive correlation between the share of adults with formal financial accounts and gross domestic product, Mr Korynski asked,

SPECIAL REPORT: Mariel Mensink Presents Agri-Finance Lending Scorecard to Rural Outreach and Innovation Action Group at e-MFP’s European Microfinance Week

Mariel Mensink of ICCO Terrafina Microfinance, an affiliate of the Dutch Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO), spoke yesterday during the opening day of the European Microfinance Platform’s (e-MFP’s) European Microfinance Week, presenting the agri-finance scorecard, a tool that loan officers can use to assess the repayment capacity of potential microborrowers.

SPECIAL REPORT: e-MFP’s Microfinance & Environment Action Group Focuses on Quantitative Measures

As part of the first day of the European Microfinance Platform’s (e-MFP’s) European Microfinance Week, e-MFP’s Microfinance & Environment Action Group met today to elaborate its plan for the next two years. Marion Allet of the Paris-based Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa (PAMIGA) led the group in a set of exercises to explore the Action Group’s three areas of focus:

SPECIAL REPORT: Anne Contreras and Christoph Pausch of e-MFP on European Microfinance Week, Sustainable Growth, Serving Clients in Zones Affected by Boko Haram

MicroCapital: Would you please discuss this year’s focus on sustainable development?

Anne Contreras: Given the recent adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, this issue is particularly relevant. The plenary on “Sustainable Development Goals and financial inclusion” will address the topic directly. Breakout sessions will also cover related topics: How can we implement clean cooking options to decrease mortality and mitigate air pollution? How can practitioners bundle finance and training to serve farmers? What can networks do in these areas?

MICROFINANCE EVENT: European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) to Host European Microfinance Week 2015, November 18-20, 2015, Abbaye de Neumunster, Luxembourg

Event Name: European Microfinance Week 2015

Event Dates: November 18-20, 2015

Event Location: Abbaye de Neumunster, Luxembourg

SPECIAL REPORT: e-MFP Announces Finalists for $112k Sixth European Microfinance Award in Post-Disaster, Post-Conflict Areas & Fragile States: Crédit Rural de Guinée of Guinea, First Microfinance Institution of Syria, Taytay Sa Kauswagan of the Philippines

The European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), a Luxembourg-based network of approximately 120 microfinance individuals and organizations, has announced that there are three finalists for the Sixth European Microfinance Award, which is themed “Microfinance in Post-Disaster, Post-Conflict Areas & Fragile States” for 2015 [1].

SPECIAL REPORT: On “Microfinance in Crisis,” an Interview with Edvardas Bumsteinas of the European Investment Bank, Host of the European Microfinance Award Ceremony

MicroCapital: Please tell us a bit about how you to came to work in microfinance.

Edvardas Bumsteinas: My interest in microfinance began with a summer job some 20 years ago when I was a student at the London School of Economics. At the request of Lithuania’s Open Society Institute, I spent one of my summers helping to set up external financing facilities for the Lithuanian Credit Union’s network. During my meetings with staff members and clients, I was impressed with positive results that those member-owned financial institutions were having in their communities.

MC: In reading about the European Investment Bank (EIB)-funded Microfinance in Crisis project, I was struck by the language “The main thing is to make the system user-centric, not provider-centric, and to consider microfinance (and more broadly finance) as a common good.”

SPECIAL REPORT: “More Inclusive Finance for Youth: Scalable and Sustainable Delivery Models for Financial and Non-Financial Services” from e-MFP’s Youth Financial Inclusion Action Group

MicroCapital: What is the motivation for the new study “More Inclusive Finance for Youth: Scalable and Sustainable Delivery Models for Financial and Non-Financial Services,” which was published recently by e-MFP’s Youth Financial Inclusion Action Group?

Severine Deboos: Almost 73 million youth worldwide are looking for work. The UN’s International Labour Office (ILO) considers financial inclusion an important ingredient to fostering youth employment. While young people may need access to services such as savings, credit, insurance and payments, potential employers may need loans to fund apprenticeships.