CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based, nonprofit research center that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, and the Citi Foundation, the charitable arm of US-based financial services firm Citigroup, recently launched the “East Asia Digital Financial Inclusion Program”.
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.
Nandan Nilekani, Co-founder of Infosys Limited; Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons; Vijay Kelkar, Chairman of India’s National Institute of Public Finance and Policy; and R. Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, recently announced the launch of Avanti Finance, “a technology enabled financial inclusion vehicle.”
The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, recently announced that it will invest up to INR 1.4 billion (USD 20 million) in Grameen Financial Services Private Limited and INR 3.4 billion (USD 50 million) in Janalakshmi Financial Services (JFS), Bangalore-based microfinance institutions (MFIs).
“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
SKS Microfinance, a for-profit microfinance institution (MFI) headquartered in Hyderabad, India, recently announced it will change its name to Bharat Financial Inclusion .
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.
Equitas Holdings Limited, an Indian microfinance lender, recently opened its primary market sale.
Telenor Pakistan, a subsidiary of Norway-based telecom provider Telenor Group, recently bought additional shares of the Tameer Microfinance Bank, a Pakistan-based provider of microfinance services, increasing its stake from 51 percent to 100 percent.
Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), a state-owned bank in Indonesia, recently signed an agreement with Perbarindo, an Indonesian association of rural banks, to support the government-backed microloan program Kredit Usaha Rakyat (KUR) channeling “subsidized loans” to micro- small and medium-sized enterprises.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a development finance institution backed by the US government, recently committed to investing up to USD 200 million in equity in Leapfrog Investments, a for-profit private equity fund based in Mauritius.
Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), a Dutch development bank, recently served as lead arranger and facility agent to finalize a USD 153 million senior secured syndicated loan for Sri Lanka’s Commercial Leasing & Finance (CLC).
“Current Trends in International Funding for Financial Inclusion;” by M. Soursourian, E. Dashi and E. Dokle; published by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor); December 2015; 4 pages; available at: http://www.cgap.org/sites/default/files/Brief-Current-Trends-in-International-Funding-Dec-2015.pdf
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), the government agency charged with overseeing the country’s insurance market, recently announced that it has extended the deadline for insurance companies to withdraw non-compliant microinsurance products from their portfolios to March 31, 2016.
Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines, recently authorized micro-banking offices (MBOs) of financial institutions to extend the range of “allowable activities”  with the aim of increasing financial inclusion in the rural parts of the country.
Symbiotics, a Switzerland-based investment company that focuses on emerging markets, recently informed MicroCapital that it has completed bond transactions with a total value of USD 22 million.
“A Billion to Gain? Microfinance Clients Are Not Cut from the Same Cloth,” by G. Hieminga, R. Budjhawan, S. Eriksen, I. Unger; published by ING Bank; November 2015; 8 pages; available at: http://www.ingcb.com/insights/research/microfinance-emancipating-the-worlds-poorest
Symbiotics Group, a Swiss for-profit provider of investment and business services, recently issued the second tranche of a bond totaling USD 5.5 million to Prasac, a Cambodian microfinance institution (MFI).