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

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fusion Microfinance of India Raises $12m in Equity from Creation Investments, Oikocredit, Gawa Capital

Fusion Microfinance, a lender to groups of women in India, recently raised INR 800 million (USD 12.4 million) in unspecified portions from US-based Creation Investments, Netherlands-based Oikocredit and Spain-based Gawa Capital Partners. All three of the investors were already shareholders in the microlender. Fusion plans to use the cash to invest in

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MFIs in Bolivia, Vietnam Borrow $11.5m from C-Quadrat Dual Return Vision Microfinance Fund

Two microfinance institutions (MFIs) – one in Bolivia and one in Vietnam – recently borrowed a total of USD 11.5 million from the Dual Return Vision Microfinance fund, an offering of C-Quadrat Asset Management, which is a unit of Austrian fund manager C-Quadrat. The identities of the MFIs and the amount each borrowed remain confidential. C-Quadrat Asset Management did tell MicroCapital that

MICROFINANCE EVENT: InsurTech: Rising to the Regulatory Challenge; March 20, 2018; Colombo, Sri Lanka

Summary of Event: The goal of this twelfth consultative forum of its kind is to explore how regulators can adjust to working with the hundreds of start-up firms leveraging technology to enter the insurance market. In particular, sessions will address how “to strike a balance between facilitating innovation, increasing the inclusiveness of the insurance sector, and maintaining the conditions for a fair, safe and stable insurance sector…”. Topics will include digitizing applications, premium collection, payouts and other processes as well as

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

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: As China Tightens Online Lending Market, Ant Financial Pauses $37b in Annual Sales of Asset-backed Securities; Nexgo, Zhejiang Busen Garments Cancel Plans to Offer Loans

Amid criticism of China’s online lending industry as having “sometimes high interest rates and underhand lending practices,” the nation’s government has taken steps to slow the sector. It has urged local regulators to cease granting approvals to new microloan firms, citing the risk of over-indebtedness. It reportedly has also stopped approving the sales of asset-backed securities by Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group (Ant Financial), which is controlled by Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma. Anonymous sources indicate that such sales could continue for

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s Odisha State Encouraging Banks, Microfinance Institutions to Open 656 “Banking Outlets” in Unserved Rural Areas

By March 2019, the eastern Indian state of Odisha is encouraging financial institutions to open “banking outlets” in 656 gram panchayats (villages) that are at least

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation Lends $3.6m in Local Currency to Microfinance Institutions in Indonesia

The Luxembourg-based Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation (GCAF) recently informed MicroCapital that it has disbursed three-year loans denominated in local-currency to two microfinance institutions in Indonesia. Koperasi Mitra Dhuafa (Komida), a cooperative providing savings, loans and training services to women, borrowed the equivalent of

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: responsAbility Agriculture I Fund Takes Equity Stake in Indian Value-chain Lender Samunnati

Switzerland-based responsAbility Investments recently disbursed the first investment from its private equity fund responsAbility Agriculture I, acquiring a “significant” minority stake in Samunnati, a non-banking financial company in India that provides loans and advisory services to players in agricultural value chains. Although the price and size of the stake remain confidential, responsAbility Agriculture I generally places investments of

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Global Parametrics, 6 VisionFund Microfinance Institutions Prepare for Climate Disasters Under African and Asian Resilience in Disaster Insurance Scheme (ARDIS)

Global Parametrics, a for-profit risk manager funded by UK-based and German development institutions, and the UK-based NGO VisionFund International recently established the African and Asian Resilience in Disaster Insurance Scheme (ARDIS), to protect six VisionFund microfinance institutions (MFIs). In case of drought or extreme storm, the MFIs can access up to USD 10 million to manage delays in client repayments and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: 11 Microfinance Institutions in Cambodia Lose Licenses for Noncompliance

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), the central bank of the country, recently revoked the licenses of 11 microfinance institutions (MFIs) for failing to maintain compliance with a “diverse” range of rules. The MFIs, which are classified as “rural credit operators,” reportedly comprise a

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Gret Spins Off Microfinance Activities in Myanmar, Creating Thitsar Ooyin

French NGO Gret recently consolidated its two microfinance institutions in Myanmar under a single entity called Thitsar Ooyin, which can be translated as “garden of loyalty.” Gret Microfinance Programme Manager Guillaume Lepoutre said, “The creation of a dedicated entity…provides access to new financial…resources.”

Thitsar Ooyin offers group and individual loans from eight branches in Chin State and the Dry Zone. It has 80 employees and primarily finances

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Sri Lanka’s SANASA Installing 35 Weather Stations, Expanding Index Insurance for Rice Farmers to Pepper, Cinnamon Growers

SANASA Insurance Company Limited, a member of Sri Lanka’s cooperative SANASA group, recently installed the first of 35 weather stations funded by a donation from Desjardins Financial Security, an insurer within the Canadian cooperative Desjardins Group. The stations expand an existing network supporting SANASA Insurance’s provision of index insurance to rice farmers, whereby the farmers are paid when weather conditions are not conducive to healthy crops rather than based on individual insurance claims. The new stations are intended to improve the provision of insurance for rice farmers as well as allowing SANASA Insurance to expand to serving pepper and

MICROFINANCE EVENT: 2018 Customer Centricity Learning Event; February 19 – 22, 2018; Mamallapuram, India

Event Name: 2018 Customer Centricity Learning Event

Event Date: February 19 – 22, 2018

Application deadline: January 19, 2018

Event Location: Mamallapuram, India

Summary of Event: This event is intended to improve the ways financial services providers work with low-income customers. The conference includes training exercises and networking events designed to improve social

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Analytics Private Limited (APL) to Use IBM Technology to Help FINCA Pakistan Understand Customers Better, Improve Digital Financial Services

FINCA Pakistan, an affiliate of the US-based Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA International), recently hired Analytics Private Limited (APL), a Pakistani technology company, to help it deepen

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: “Microinsurance Master” Program Offers 10 Weeks of Immersion, Coaching on Scaling Up Insurance Services for Poor People

A new program called Microinsurance Master is offering two weeks of training at Pioneer Microinsurance, a Philippines-based firm with 18 million customers, followed by eight weeks of remote coaching intended to help participants “focus on client-centric solutions that reduce the vulnerability of low-income people and

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s Aavishkaar Bharat Fund Attracts $95m for Impact Investing from Investors Including CDC, SIDBI, Munjal Family Office (Hero Corporation), TIAA

Indian fund advisor Aavishkaar recently completed the first close of the Aavishkaar Bharat Fund, with commitments of INR 6.2 billion (USD 95 million), of which it has INR 5.9 billion (USD 92 million) in hand. The fund will support businesses in India that further Aavishkaar’s mission to “enhance livelihoods and reduce vulnerabilities for the low-income population” in “a range of sectors, namely agriculture, dairy, education, energy, handicrafts, health, water and sanitation, technology for development, microfinance and financial inclusion.” Aavishkaar will seek to do this while generating a