JazzCash, a mobile money service of Pakistan-based cellular phone network Mobilink, and Visa, a US-based payment technology company, recently announced that JazzCash Mobile Account customers will be able to make purchases from the millions of merchants worldwide that accept Visa payment cards, including approximately 50,000 retail outlets in Pakistan.
The Agricultural Extension Support Activity (AESA) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is implemented by the Bangladesh-based nonprofit Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), is piloting an initiative to provide smallholder farmers with loans via bank cards.
Although the proportion of zero-balance bank accounts opened under India’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) program was reduced from 76 percent in January 2015 to 24 percent as of September 2016, it recently has been reported that this is not due to customer deposits.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) recently announced plans to bring all non-deposit taking microfinance institutions (MFIs) and related nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) under the non-banking finance company (NBFC) framework in an effort to improve the regulation and monitoring of their activities.
“The 2016 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project Report Advancing Equitable Financial Ecosystems;” by John D. Villasenor, Darrell M. West and Robin J. Lewis; published by the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution; August 2016; 146 pages;
The Australian government; the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Bank, a publicly traded commercial bank; and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP), a Fiji-based initiative of the United Nations that attempts to extend financial services to unbanked Pacific Islanders, recently started a program with a budget of SBD 5 million (USD 650,000) to connect rural coconut oil producers, laborers, buyers and transport operators in the Solomon Islands with digital financial services.
The Finance Minister of Uganda, Matia Kasaija, recently announced plans to recapitalize the Uganda Development Bank (UDB), a public enterprise owned by the government of Uganda, with UGX 500 billion (USD 148 million).
The Philippine government recently issued an executive order institutionalizing a Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC) to oversee implementation of the country’s National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI), which was launched in July 2015 to “raise awareness, appreciation and understanding of financial inclusion and enable coordination among various stakeholders.”
The registrar of microfinanciers of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the country’s central banking authority, recently registered four additional microfinance institutions (MFIs) – Nurture Finance, Junior Marima, Gryton Capital and Realty Microfinance – bringing the total number of registered MFIs in Zimbabwe to 164.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral institution, recently agreed to provide loan funds of up to TJS 15.7 million (USD 2 million) to Arvand, a Tajikistan-based microfinance institution (MFI), for on-lending to local micro- and small enterprises (MSEs).
“Finance for Smallholders: Opportunities for Risk Management by Linking Financial Institutions and Producer Organisations;” by J de la Rive Box et al; published by the Food & Business Knowledge Platform, Agri Pro Focus and the Platform for Inclusive Finance NPM; May 2016; 22 pages; available at: http://www.inclusivefinanceplatform.nl/documents/npm%20summary%20report%20finance%20for%20smallholders.pdf
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in the United States, recently announced that it will commit USD 80 million over three years to improve the availability and reliability of data on women and girls including: (i) how much time they spend on unpaid work; (ii) information on the efficacy of programs and other interventions; and (iii) how successful political leaders are in supporting gender equality.
Tigo Tanzania, a brand of Swedish telecom provider Millicom, recently announced it paid TZS 5.6 billion (USD 2.5 million) of its profits to Tigo Pesa users.
“Household Responses to Access to Finance Through GIZ-AFP Village Banks;” published by the Laos-Australia Development Learning Facility; February 2016; 50 pages; available at: http://ladlf.org/images/publications/030516_LADLF_GIZ_HH_Response_to_A2F_Final.pdf
Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), a Kenya-based publicly traded financial services company, and GoSwiff, a Singapore-based payment facilitation firm, recently rolled out a mobile payment solution for merchants in Rwanda.
“Cost-Benefit Analysis of Traditional Versus Flexible Microfinance in Bangladesh;” by S. Bairagi, W. Bin Shadat; published by the Copenhagen Consensus Center; May 2016; 32 pages; available at: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/bin_shadat_microfinance.pdf
Two US-based nonprofits, the microfinance-oriented Grameen Foundation and the behavioral design firm ideas42 recently launched a partnership to support financial inclusion in the Philippines by implementing a combination of behavioral science principles and digital financial services provided through mobile phones.
Ujjivan Financial Services, an Indian provider of microloans and life insurance, recently conducted its initial public offering (IPO), generating INR 3.6 billion (USD 54 million) from the sale of newly issued shares.