MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Vodacom Paying $2.6b to Its Majority Shareholder, Vodafone, for 35% Equity Stake in Owner of Kenya’s M-Pesa Mobile Money Service, Safaricom

Vodacom, a unit of UK-based Vodafone Group Plc that provides mobile communications services to 61 million subscribers in Africa, is paying Vodafone ZAR 34.6 billion (USD 2.6 billion) for a 34.94-percent stake in Safaricom, a Kenyan mobile network operator.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: SureBüddy, Provider of Free Funeral and Handset Insurance, Expands to Uganda

South African technology firm AxMe International Services recently expanded its SureBüddy insurance application to Uganda, allowing users in that country to view advertisements in return for no-cost insurance for their mobile phone screens.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Apply by June 5 for The MasterCard Foundation’s $150k “Clients at the Centre” Prize

The MasterCard Foundation, which is based in Canada, is accepting applications through June 5 for its 2017 “Clients at the Centre” Prize, which includes a cash award of USD 150,000.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Ant Financial, Emtek to Launch Mobile Payment Service in Indonesia

Ant Financial Services Group, a member of China’s Alibaba Group and the parent company of Alipay, and Elang Mahkota Teknologi (Emtek), an Indonesia-based media company, recently announced plans to launch a mobile payment platform in Indonesia. The new service will run on BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Ant Financial, Ayala Buy Equity Stakes in Globe’s Mynt, Operator of the Philippines’ GCash, Fuse Lending

Ant Financial Services Group (Ant Fin), a member of China’s Alibaba Group, and Ayala Corporation, a Philippine conglomerate, recently announced their purchases of minority stakes in Globe Fintech Innovations, a financial technology (fintech) affiliate of Globe Telecom that uses the trade name Mynt. Mynt operates GCash, a mobile money

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

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Senegal’s Banque Régionale de Marché to Launch “eCFA”  Digital Currency

In partnership with US-based eCurrency, Senegal’s Banque Régionale de Marché (BRM) is planning to launch a digital version of CFA francs, the currency used by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), which comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The currency is described as

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.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Mastercard, Unilever to Launch Partnership to Facilitate Growth of Micro-, Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) with Pilot Project in Kenya

Mastercard, a US-based technology and payments company; and Unilever, a UK-based supplier of consumer goods, recently announced that they will develop a partnership to provide access to digital technologies to small-scale entrepreneurs in developing countries with the aim of helping them buy supplies and sell goods more efficiently. The partnership’s first project will be to spread the use of Mastercard’s digital payment platforms via

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Tigo Rwanda Launches TigoNshoboza Mobile Microloans on Pilot Basis

Tigo Rwanda Limited, a unit of Sweden’s Millicom that offers mobile telecommunications services, recently announced it has launched its TigoNshoboza Loan Service, which allows users of the Tigo Cash service in Rwanda to access loans via their mobile wallets. TigoNshoboza is in a pilot phase, so the number

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: After Launch in Tanzania, Ecobank Mobile App Available in 33 African Countries

Ecobank Tanzania, a unit of Togo-based Ecobank Group, recently announced its launch of the Ecobank Mobile App, which allows customers to use mobile devices to perform fund transfers, top-up airtime, pay bills, check forex rates, view account statements, make retail payments, and interface with payment cards and checks.

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Impact of M-Pesa Mobile Money; Microinsurance in Sri Lanka; Women’s Financial Diaries in India, Kenya, Mexico

“The Long-run Poverty and Gender Impacts of Mobile Money”; by Tavneet Suri and William Jack; published in Science; December 8, 2016, 4 pages; available at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1288.full/

This article reviews a study that assessed the impact of the M-Pesa mobile payment service in Kenya.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: AYo Offers Free Mobile Health, Life Insurance to MTN Phone Subscribers in Uganda: “Recharge with Care” & “Send with Care”

AYo, which is a joint venture between two South African firms, insurer MMI Holdings and the MTN (Mobile Telecommunications Network) Group, recently launched its first two products, both in Uganda: (1) Recharge with Care, which provides life and/or hospitalization insurance when an MTN phone subscriber buys airtime; and (2) Send with Care, which

MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: UN Digital Financial Services Toolkits; 7th IMF Financial Access Survey; IFC, The MasterCard Foundation Mobile Money Handbook

“How to Succeed in Your Digital Journey: a Series of Toolkits for Financial Service Providers”; Published by the United Nations Capital Development Fund’s MicroLead Program; October 2016; available upon request via: https://uncdf.wufoo.com/forms/q4pnwh31pqtp7r/

This first portion of a six-part digital toolkit, which is available in English and French, was designed to benefit microfinance institutions (MFIs) and other financial services providers that aim to offer digital financial services to unbanked populations residing in remote locations.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: IFC to Advise FINCA DRC on Boosting Access to Credit, Mobile Banking in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with Funding from The MasterCard Foundation

The World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) recently agreed to provide two years of advisory services, valued at USD 1 million, to FINCA DRC, a unit of US-based FINCA Microfinance Holding Company that provides savings and credit services to 256,000 customers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The goal is to

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Jumo Sells Microenterprise, Consumer Lender afb Ghana to Letshego

Letshego Holding Limited, which is based in Botswana and offers deposit and lending services in 10 African countries, recently paid an undisclosed price to Jumo World Limited, a financial technology firm registered in Mauritius, for all of the shares of afb Ghana, which has 60,000 customers and total assets of GHS 97 million (USD 23 million) as of December 2016. Both afb and Letshego lend for

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Mobile Insurance Conference; February 23 – 24, 2017; Douala, Cameroon; Organized by IAIS, A2ii and CIMA

Event Name: Mobile Insurance Conference, presented by the Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), the Access to Insurance Initiative (A2ii) and the Inter-African Conference on Insurance Markets (CIMA)

Event Date: February 23 – 24, 2017

Event Location: Douala, Cameroon

Summary of Event: This event will address trends in mobile insurance and related technologies, as well as risks and regulations associated with the sector. It is targeted