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

MICROFINANCE EVENT: 2017 Social Enterprise Conference; Columbia University, New York, USA; October 6, 2017

Event Name: Social Enterprise Conference – Leaders Taking a Stand: Social Impact in Turbulent Times

Event Date: October 6, 2017

Event Location: Columbia University, Lerner Hall, New York, New York, USA

Summary of Event: This event will explore how to enact social impact across

SPECIAL REPORT: “Lessons from Micro-leasing” at European Microfinance Week

MicroCapital: How does micro-leasing compare with microlending?

Manuel Hörl: Microcredits do not fit the needs of every situation. Often, the borrower cannot meet the collateral or other requirements for receiving a loan. Micro-leasing can allow a farmer, for example, to pre-finance the purchase of a productive asset, such as a cow. The farmer receives basic training in handling the asset, and risk is mitigated by

MICROFINANCE EVENT: High Water Women’s 2017 Investing for Impact Symposium; November 30, 2017; New York, USA

Event Name: High Water Women’s 2017 Investing for Impact Symposium

Event Date: November 30, 2017

Event Location: New York, New York, USA

Summary of Event: This conference is intended to connect impact investors with the goal of engaging women in the financial sector. The definition of impact investing used by the High Water Women Foundation (HWW) includes removing barriers to entering the financial sector, building up infrastructure in rural areas, breaking down social injustice and minimizing climate change. The session topics will include removing obstacles to change, women in impact investing, urban development, rural development, the environment and climate, housing, agriculture, diversity and challenges to measuring impact.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Metrics from the Ground Up; NEW DATES: February 27 – 28, 2018; Nairobi, Kenya

Event Name: Metrics from the Ground Up

Event Date: NEW DATES -> February 27 – February 28, 2018

Event Location: Radisson Blu Nairobi; Nairobi, Kenya

Summary of Event: The ninth iteration of this conference will center on “aligning impact” by addressing variations in the definitions of impact, which depend on “context, country, and culture of origin.” The organizers hope to generate collaboration on defining “the African impact agenda.” The previous “Metrics” events were held in the US city of Washington DC.

SPECIAL REPORT: Registration Open for European Microfinance Week; November 29 – December 1, 2017; Luxembourg

Event Name: European Microfinance Week

Event Date: November 29 – December 1, 2017

Event Location: Luxembourg

Summary of Event: On November 29, the European Microfinance Platform’s (e-MFP’s) ten Action Groups will meet to build on months of work by holding in-depth discussions and training on their focus topics, such as inclusive green finance, digital innovations, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) finance and rural finance.

On November 30 and December 1, more than 80 organisations will be represented in over 30 sessions covering front line topics such as low-cost technology for financial services providers, responsible exits, reaching scale in inclusive green finance, rural youth

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.

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.”

MICROFINANCE EVENT: The Microfinance Centre’s (MFC’s) Alternative Finance Forum; October 5, 2017; Warsaw, Poland

Event Name: Alternative Finance Forum

Event Location: Copernicus Conference Centre; Warsaw, Poland

Summary of Event: This forum aims to “introduce new forms of financial services” while covering topics including equity-based crowdfunding, social impact bonds, online lenders to small businesses and peer-to-peer lending platforms. The event has support from the European Union and its European Investment Bank Institute.

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.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Munich Re Foundation, Microinsurance Network, APESEG to Host 13th International Microinsurance Conference, November 7-9, 2017, Lima, Peru

Event Name: 13th International Microinsurance Conference: Inclusive Insurance for the Mass Market

Event Date: November 7 – November 9, 2017

Event Location: Swissotel; Lima, Peru

Cost: The maximum fee to attend the conference is USD 1,390, with a range of discounts available, including tiered reductions for those registering by September 1 and October 31. There is no fee for representatives of regulatory and supervisory authorities.

Summary of Event: This conference aims to engage stakeholders on “accelerating growth and economic viability in microinsurance.” It will feature roughly 80 speakers covering topics including: microinsurance across Latin America and the Caribbean; the role of microinsurance in economic development; digital technologies for microinsurance; and the relationships among data, analytics and the future of microinsurance.