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”.
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.
The Groupe Special Mobile Association (GSMA), a membership organization of 800 telecoms operating under the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard, recently announced that all of the mobile operators present in Madagascar- Airtel Money, mVola and Orange Money- will make their services interoperable across the country.
Verdant Capital, a corporate finance firm serving Africa, recently informed MicroCapital that it has arranged a revolving credit facility in the amount of USD 3 million for the Pan African Building Society (PABS), a deposit-taking, non-banking financial institution operating in Zambia.
At the recent 12th annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a program of the US-based nonprofit Clinton Foundation, various organizations made 25 new commitments worth USD 70 million as part of the “Girls, Women and the Global Goals” project, which is intended to “advance women’s economic participation, address violence against girls and women, and promote women’s leadership in the public and private sectors”,
“Achieving The Sustainable Development Goals: The Role of Impact Investing;” published by The Global Impact Investing Network; September 12, 2016; 9 pages; available at https://thegiin.org/knowledge/publication/sdgs-impinv
This report profiles impact investors that have leveraged the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the following purposes: (1) as a framework to communicate their social impact goals; (2) to develop new or realign existing investment strategies and; (3) to attract capital from private investors that are new to impact investing.
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.”
“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
Successive interest rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) since 2015 have led to decreasing cost of funds for microfinance institutions (MFI) and a reduction in lending rates to end customers.
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.
The sale of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda over the first half of 2016 by US-based NGO Opportunity International to Luxembourg-based financial technology company MyBucks has raised concerns both that these MFIs’ clients could be negatively impacted and that these transactions signal that the sector’s overall direction has shifted toward profit-making.
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.
Uber, a US-based car hailing service, and Sidian Bank, a Kenya-based commercial bank, recently announced they will support Uber drivers in the purchase or lease of new vehicles.