MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Green for Growth Fund Nets $19m in Equity from BMZ to Boost Funding of Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy Projects via Microfinance Institutions, Banks

The Green for Growth Fund (GGF), which invests in reductions in pollution and energy usage in Eurasia and North Africa, recently accepted an investment of EUR 15 million (USD 19 million) from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is also known by its German acronym BMZ, to boost the fund’s investment in

MICROFINANCE PAPER ROUND-UP: Achieving SDGs by Supporting SMEs, Engaging Youth in Financial Services via Social Media, Effects of Financial Education on Credit Card Usage

“SMEs and SDGs: Supporting Small and Medium Enterprises to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” by Maria Teresa Zappia and Lisa Sherk, published by BlueOrchard, November 2017, 28 pages, available at http://www.blueorchard.com/smes-sdgs-supporting-small-medium-enterprises-achieve-sustainable-development-goals-insights-blueorchard-survey/

In this report, the authors explore how improving the business climate for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), may help achieve many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 17 guiding principles intended to help combat poverty, protect the environment, and encourage economic and political stability.

Ms Zappia and Ms Sherk surveyed financial institutions that lend to SMEs in the Caucasus, Central and South America, East Asia and

MICROFINANCE PAPER ROUND-UP: Index of Women Entrepreneurs; Investing in Affordable Housing; Comparing Impact, Traditional Investment Returns

“Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2017,” published by Mastercard, March 2017, 31 pages, available at https://newsroom.mastercard.com/eu/files/2017/03/Report-Mastercard-Index-of-Women-Entrepreneurs-2017-Mar-3.pdf

This tool is intended to measure the evolution of women’s participation in business around the world. The authors apply a set of 37 indicators to data from 54 economies to explore the variations in: (1) women’s advancement; (2) knowledge assets and financial access; and (3) supporting entrepreneurial conditions. One of the primary women’s-advancement indicators is the percentage of CEOs and managers that are women in a given country. Six of the top 10 performers are upper-middle-income countries, with Canada and New Zealand being the only

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Netherlands’ FMO Arranges $68m Syndicated Loan for Lebanon’s LGB Bank, with Participation from OFID, OeEB

The Netherlands Development Finance Company, a government-backed institution also known by its Dutch acronym FMO, recently arranged a syndicated loan in the amount of USD 67.5 million for the Beirut-based Lebanon and Gulf Bank (LGB Bank) to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Lebanon. The

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Sanadcom Launches to Serve SMEs in Jordan, Backed by Microfund for Women, GMS Ventures and Investments

Sanadcom for Business Finance, a lender to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Jordan, recently launched with two “anchor” investors: Microfund for Women, a Jordanian microfinance institution, and GMS Ventures and Investments, a subsidiary of Jordan’s GMS Holdings. Sanadcom has enjoyed “additional equity funding and support” from the Sanad Fund for MSME (micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises), a European investor in North Africa and the Middle East, and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fransabank Borrows $20m from Sanad for Rural SMEs, Poor Households in Lebanon

Fransabank SAL, a Beirut-based commercial bank with 124 branches in nine countries, recently received a loan of USD 20 million from the Sanad Fund for MSME (micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises), a European investor in North Africa and the Middle East. Fransabank plans to use the funds to

SPECIAL REPORT: Clients Come Clean on Sneaking Contraception, Practitioners Move from Serving Women to Empowering Households as European Microfinance Week Closes

During the closing day of European Microfinance WeekEuropean Microfinance Week 2017, Imran Matin of the US-based nonprofit Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) stressed the importance of not just whether women will use financial services, but “what account ownership will translate into in terms of achievement.” Foreshadowing a theme of the session, he added that “intra-household dynamics is very important and also particularly difficult to measure.”

Bdour Al-Hyari of Jordan’s Microfund for Women (MFW) described a long-running insurance product offered by her microfinance institution (MFI). The coverage provides cash to clients who are hospitalized or have a family member who is. While health issues were a major cause of default in the past, women who got “hospital cash” from MFW reportedly repaid their loans at a rate of

MICROFINANCE EVENT: $165k Ethical Finance Innovation Challenge and Awards Gala Dinner; November 15, 2017; Dubai, UAE

Event Name: Ethical Finance Innovation Challenge and Awards Gala Dinner

Event Date: November 15, 2017

Event Location: The Ritz Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre, United Arab Emirates

Summary of Event: This is the fifth rendition of a group of awards given by Thomson Reuters, a media firm traded on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges, and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank,

SPECIAL REPORT: MFIs in Afghanistan, Peru, Mexico Shortlisted for $118k “Microfinance for Housing” Award

The European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) recently announced the following finalists for the European Microfinance Award, which in 2017 is focused on housing: First Microfinance Bank Afghanistan, Peru’s Mibanco and Mexico’s Cooperative Tosepantomin. The award, with a cash prize of EUR 100,000 (USD 118,000), will be presented during European Microfinance Week in

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nestlé, Telenor Microfinance Bank Providing Digital Loans to Farmers in Pakistan

The Pakistani subsidiary of Switzerland-based food company Nestlé recently partnered with Telenor Microfinance Bank Limited, a Pakistani branch of Norway’s Telenor Group, to provide microloans to its dairy farmer suppliers via Telenor Microfinance’s mobile wallet service, Easypaisa. The program reportedly uses a “digital credit score card and analytics, thus considerably reducing

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: Sanad Fund for MSME Lends $20m to Lebanon’s Byblos Bank

The Sanad Fund for MSME (Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise), a provider of loans and equity to financial institutions in the Middle East and North Africa, recently announced it will loan USD 20 million to Byblos Bank, a commercial bank based in Lebanon, to on-lend to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: UN’s World Food Programme Uses Ethereum Blockchain, Retina Scans to Support 10,000 Syrian Refugees

The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) is helping Syrian refugees in Jordan’s Azraq camp buy food from supermarkets inside the camp utilizing blockchain technology from Switzerland’s Ethereum Foundation.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EBRD Lending $2m to Microfinance Institution Microfund for Women (MFW) for Entrepreneurs, Syrian Refugees in Jordan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral development institution, recently announced it will loan USD 2 million in local currency to Microfund for Women (MFW), a microfinance institution in Jordan, to support female entrepreneurs in that country.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: World Bank Providing $130m for Financial Inclusion Effort in Pakistan

The government of Pakistan recently announced the start the Pakistan Financial Inclusion and Infrastructure Project with funding totaling USD 130 million from two arms of the World Bank, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Three Pakistani organizations will carry out the project: the Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company, a new organization funded by

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Alternative Financing in Africa, Middle East; Interoperability of Digital Financial Systems; Financial Inclusion in Kerala, India

“The Africa and Middle East Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report”; by The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) and Energy4Impact; published by CCAF; February 2017; 64 pages; available at https://www.scribd.com/document/338995486/CCAF-Africa-and-Middle-East-Alternative-Finance-Report-2017#download&from_embed/

This report focuses on assessing the types and prevalence of alternative financing in Africa and the Middle East.