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, 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: Peer-to-peer Lender HuaXia Finance of China Launches Escrow Services with Ping An Bank

HuaXia Finance, an online peer-to-peer lender in China, recently began holding customer funds at Ping An Bank, a Chinese bank, under a “formal online banking depository management system” in order to comply with tightened requirements of the China Banking Regulatory Commission. Michael J Beda, the Director of Expat Investment at HuaXia, tells MicroCapital that his is “the first company to

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Central Bank of Myanmar Clears the Air by Issuing Mobile Financial Services License for OK Dollar

Myanmar’s Internet Wallet Limited reportedly has received a mobile financial services license from the Central Bank of Myanmar to cover the operations of its subsidiary, OK Dollar,

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) Annual Meeting; June 6 – 8, 2017, Mexico City, Mexico

Event Name: Social Performance Task Force 2017 Annual Meeting

Event Date: June 6 – June 8, 2017

Event Location: Mexico City, Mexico

Summary of Event: This meeting will include plenary speeches, working group meetings and networking sessions relating to financial inclusion regulation, social outcomes data collection, and analysis and advances in “client-centric” technology [2]. The event will begin with an introductory session on the Universal Standards for Social Performance Management (SPM) and the resources available to financial service providers for measuring and improving their social performance. This is the first time this event is taking place in Latin America since 2013.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank of Ghana Introduces Logo for Licensed Microfinance Institutions, New Monitoring Requirements

The Bank of Ghana (BoG), the financial regulator of the country, is introducing a logo that microfinance institutions (MFIs) can display to help consumers “distinguish between credible, licensed microfinance institutions and unlicensed ones.” BoG also is requiring MFIs to monitor

SPECIAL REPORT: Raising Funds for Non-bank Financial Institutions in Africa

The non-bank financial institution (NBFI) sector, often referred to as the alternative finance sector or the shadow banking sector, around the world is largely dependent on the institutional market for funding. By regulation, NBFIs in most markets are prohibited from gathering deposits or restricted from transactional banking services, which are critical to attract deposits. In most markets, banks themselves are reluctant to lend to NBFIs, given the potential long-term competitive threat. For example, Capitec of South Africa and Equity Bank of Kenya, which are now very much fully-fledged banks, have roots as NBFIs. In South Africa, the deepest and broadest market in Africa, NBFIs have been largely focused on borrowing from the domestic market.

This is not without risks given, for example, the significant reversal in domestic investor sentiment following the collapse of African Bank in August 2014. African Bank’s largest peer, Capitec, was less affected because

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microbank LOLC (Cambodia) Authorized to Offer Leasing Services

LOLC (Cambodia) Plc, a microfinance institution (MFI) that is 60-percent owned by LOLC Micro Investment of Sri Lanka, recently received approval from the National Bank of Cambodia to offer leasing services. It is reportedly the first MFI to gain such permission. Beginning in March, LOLC (Cambodia) expects to offer both businesses and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Success Microfinance Bank (Formerly Collarhedge Finance) Acquires Deposit-taking License from Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

Success Microfinance Bank, a financial institution in Zimbabwe formerly known as Collarhedge Finance, recently received a license from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe allowing it to accept deposits. Microfinance banks in the country

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nepal Sets Microloan Interest Rate Maximum of 18%

The Nepalese central bank, Nepal Rastra Bank, reportedly has capped microloan rates at 18 percent per year following complaints of microfinance institutions (MFIs) “distributing high dividends by charging borrowers, who are often poor people in rural areas, exorbitant rates…as high as 30 percent.” This follows the declaration of

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Zimbabwe Loosens Microfinance Regulations in Effort to Boost Investment; Deliver Range of Services to More Women, Youth

The government of Zimbabwe recently liberalized its Microfinance Act with provisions such as extending the validity of microfinance institution (MFI) license renewals from one to three years. Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, was quoted as saying financial institution “charges are just too high. With MFIs, it mostly has to do with the fact that investment in the sector is just too low, so companies just end up passing their costs to clients…. Zimbabwe seeks to unlock economic opportunities, especially for the women and youths by expanding access to savings,

SPECIAL REPORT: Accelerating Financial Inclusion in the Mekong through Collaboration

AtBanking With the Poor Network the 2016 Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum, MFIs and funders led this session’s discussion of collaboration. Kelly Hattel, Financial Sector Specialist for the Asian Development Bank, underscored “the importance of having national strategies for financial inclusion and having them be evidence-based. These are important…both as a donor individually and for

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit, Hanoi, Vietnam, March 21-22, 2017

Event Name: Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit

Event Date: March 21-22, 2017; optional field visits on March 23, 2017

Event Location: JW Marriott Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam

Event Summary: Themed “Advancing Financial Inclusion in a Digital Age,” this event will include plenaries on topics such as collaboration and regulating digital financial services. Breakout sessions will address topics such as blockchain technology, gender, serving youth and reaching “the last mile.” On March 23, participants may visit with staff and clients of either Tinh Thuong Microfinance Institution or

SPECIAL REPORT: Policy and Regulation in the Mekong: Developing Strategic Frameworks for Financial Inclusion

The Banking With the Poor Networkassembled regulators and trade group leaders offered a litany of current and soon-to-be-released strategies to create a nurturing environment for pro-client financial services. It is critically important to

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: How the Private Sector Can Boost Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa; the Role of Impact Investing in Achieving SDGs in Africa; Documenting Reforms to “Doing Business”

Entreprenante Afrique; by Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg; published in French by Odile Jacob; September 2016; 288 pages; available for purchase at: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=_vslDQAAQBAJ&rdid=book-_vslDQAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_buy&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_atb

Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg argue that the 5-percent average annual growth rate Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced since 2000 is being driven significantly by the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).