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Apr 2015
Microinsurance: Disrupt, Fail, Repeat?
April, 30 2015
Global - Microinsurance, a darling of the charitable-industrial complex, has run into tough times of late. After more than ten years of high-octane activity, and despite an influx of donor dollars and the stated dedication of insurance titans to work at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP), very few initiatives have been able to achieve scale, sustainably, or impact ...
Financial Inclusion on the Final Frontier: After Years of Isolation, Myanmar Must Build Inclusive Finance from the Ground Up
April, 30 2015
Myanmar - Called "the final frontier" by The Economist, Myanmar has been cut off from the rest of the world for the last 50 years. Following a military coup in 1962 and years of subsequent isolation, the country watched as decades of prosperity and global development passed it by ...
Pradeep S. Mehta, CUTS International: India - Jan Dhan, Easier Said Than Done
April, 30 2015
India - Open-loop systems promoting interoperability result in long-term benefits for the stakeholders involved (when compared with closed-loop systems, hindering the same), but achieving interoperability is easier said than done ...
India, Impact Story: Grameen Koota India
April, 29 2015
India - By using the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI), microfinance institutions (MFIs) like Grameen Koota are empowering Meher, Salimabi, and other poor women in India to become financially independent and break from poverty ...
Microcredit Summit Campaign Joins World Bank's Financial Inclusion Efforts
April, 28 2015
Global - The Microcredit Summit Campaign has made a commitment to support the World Bank Group's goal to reach universal financial access by 2020 (UFA2020), joining a global coalition of partners that include multilateral agencies, banks, credit unions, card networks, microfinance institutions and telecommunications companies. ...
South Africa: The Contradictions in Unsecured Lending
April, 28 2015
South Africa - Unsecured lending is a controversial topic in South Africa. It sits in a very uncomfortable place where there is clearly both demand and need for it, but at the same time it has caused some serious social problems ...
Accion, FMO and Triodos Investment Management Form Consortium to Strengthen Financial Inclusion in Myanmar
April, 28 2015
Myanmar - Financial inclusion pioneer Accion, the Dutch development bank FMO, and Triodos Investment Management today announced their plans to invest in and expand Dawn Microfinance, one of the earliest microfinance institutions (MFIs) established in the Republic of Myanmar. ...
IFC Signs a Cooperation Agreement with the Government of Guinea-Bissau to promote SMEs
April, 28 2015
Guinea-Bissau - The signing event marks the official launch of the program in the Republic of Guinea and seeks to promote and establish a leasing industry that meets the needs of SMEs and smaller businesses to better equip them to contribute to the post-conflict reconstruction of the country in a meaningful way ...
IFC Invests in Cambodia’s PRASAC Microfinance Institution Ltd. to Expand Lending for Micro and Smaller Businesses
April, 28 2015
Cambodia - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has provided a loan of up to $10 million to PRASAC Microfinance Institution Ltd., Cambodia’s largest organization of its kind, to increase lending to micro, small and medium enterprises in the rural and agricultural sectors ...
Jean Case, Contributer, Forbes: A New Inning for Impact Investing
April, 27 2015
Global - For years, a nascent movement led by passionate pioneers out to change the world has been slowly but surely taking shape. Quietly, these early fearless leaders have been championing the idea that businesses can be a tool for social good, beyond the jobs that they create ...
Inside Burma's Pawn Shop Culture: 'We Wouldn’t Accept Filthy Kitchen Utensils, or Used Underwear'
April, 27 2015
Myanmar - The memory of savings being wiped out by General Ne Win’s financial policies means the poorest in Burma turn to pawn shops to manage their money. ...
Sri Lanka: Debt for Development
April, 25 2015
Sri Lanka - In an environment where donors have enthusiastically jumped on the bandwagon and microcredit institutions have mushroomed after the 2004 tsunami and the end of the civil war in 2009, the forum provided a much needed space to discuss the effects of access to finance on development. ...
The Triumphs and Tribulations of Impact Investing
April, 24 2015
England - Both the triumphs and the growing pains of "impact investing" were on display in Oxford, England last week. Impact investing goes beyond the passive tactic of limiting investments to, say, companies that are green or that don't produce guns ...
'Do-good' Companies Can Do Well for Investors, Wharton Researchers Say
April, 24 2015
Global - Impact investing is a nice idea — and for many critics that’s precisely the problem. The relatively young industry, which focuses on social or environmental returns in addition to financial ones, has until now lacked performance data. So how can you tell if investors are truly "doing well by doing good," as the saying goes ...
Mobile Money Without Borders
April, 23 2015
West Africa - The GSMA recently released a case study that highlights early results from a promising new model for cross-border remittances. In this blog post, Claire Scharwatt and Chris Williamson share some insights into this new model, which they believe is transforming the remittance landscape in West Africa ...
India: RBI Overhauls Priority Sector Lending Targets
April, 23 2015
India - Broadbasing the priority sector, RBI added three more categories into the fold—medium enterprises, social infrastructure and renewable energy—in addition to the existing ones, which include agriculture, micro and small enterprises, export credit, education, and certain categories of housing ...
How the World Bank Should Help the Planet's Poorest: Pay Them
April, 21 2015
Global - The potential of universal financial access presents a substantial challenge to governments and donor agencies alike: Can you demonstrate that your complex subsidy schemes and your armies of consultants, procurement experts, and engineers really deliver a bigger impact than simply giving money to citizens ...
IFC, Mastercard in U.S.$250 Million Risk Sharing Pact to Drive Financial Inclusion
April, 21 2015
Global - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and MasterCard have signed an agreement to establish a risk-sharing facility, which is expected to provide millions of people in emerging markets access to electronic payments, a crucial next step in their ongoing collaboration to increase universal financial access by 2020 ...
Vaidyanathan R., Professor, Indian Institute of Management: India - Integrating Financial Markets through MUDRA
April, 20 2015
India - The initiative has attracted quite a bit of criticism and skepticism, but these do not understand the scope and possible structure and even the context in which the Mudra Bank became a necessity. That context is the extreme difficulty that small and micro enterprises face in accessing credit ...
IFC Provides $40 Million to Banco Internacional in Ecuador
April, 17 2015
Ecuador - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing $40 million to Banco Internacional in Ecuador to expand lending to local small and medium enterprises with a portion of the financing exclusively earmarked for enterprises owned or operated by women. ...
India: Microfinance Sector Poised to Grow Robustly in Five Years
April, 17 2015
India - The MFI market is likely to consolidate as high barriers to entry and infusion of capital provide big players a leg up ...
Picking Winners in the Great Remittance Disruption
April, 16 2015
Global - Remittances are big business. This year, customers will send $454 billion to developing countries through formal channels alone. Developing countries’ income from remittances is three times bigger than the global aid budget. If you exclude China, remittance flows even outweigh foreign direct investment ...
Stephen Ufford, Founder and CEO of Trulioo: Why Financial Inclusion May Well Depend on Cyber ID Data
April, 16 2015
Global - Until recently, there have been few options to help provide the world’s 2.5 billion unbanked with access to basic financial services. But that has changed dramatically in recent years, with mobile phone use skyrocketing in emerging markets to the point that India will become the world’s second-largest smartphone market by 2016, surpassing the United States and exceeded only by China. ...
MasterCard to Collaborate with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion
April, 16 2015
Global - Today, MasterCard and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) signed a strategic partnership agreement that will enable a close collaboration within AFI’s Public-Private Dialogue Platform (PPD) ...
Grameen Foundation CEO Alex Counts: 'By Making it Available to People, You Are Almost by Definition Doing Good'
April, 16 2015
Global - In the global development world, microfinance’s evolution has been a study in extremes. It has careened from hero to villain status over the years, inspiring a Nobel Peace Prize, being blamed for debtor suicides – and more recently settling into a more realistic persona: that of a helpful but not transformative anti-poverty tool ...
Bamboo Finance Announces the First Close of Financial Inclusion Fund II
April, 16 2015
Global - Bamboo Finance, a private equity firm specializing in investing in business models that benefit low-income communities in growth markets, today announced the first close of $31 million in its second financial inclusion focused fund with investments from Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA-CREF) and AXA-IM. ...
Poorest People Open More Bank Accounts, World Bank Study
April, 15 2015
Global - The Global Findex survey, produced by the World Bank, found that 62 percent of people worldwide now use financial institutions or mobile money services, up from 51 percent in 2011, a 700 million increase from three years ago ...
The Slow Global Spread of Savings Accounts
April, 15 2015
Global - Last year, researchers travelled around the globe to talk about personal finance with a hundred and fifty thousand people, representing a range of socioeconomic classes, and living both in cities and in remote, rural parts of more than a hundred and forty countries ...
Gender Gap Persists for Bank-account Holders
April, 15 2015
Global - A persistent gap between the portion of men and women who have bank accounts is confounding experts despite huge leaps in access to banking services and the financial system globally ...
Mobile Phones Are Revolutionizing Personal Finance in Sub-Saharan Africa
April, 15 2015
Sub-Saharan Africa - Twelve percent of all adults in sub-Saharan Africa use their phones for non-bank financial transactions, by far the highest rate of any region in the world, according to a report released Wednesday by the World Bank ...
Insurers Must Adapt to 'Informal' African Market
April, 14 2015
Africa - Insurance companies are struggling to gain a foothold in Africa, where populations tend to favour community insurance schemes called tontines. These are often informal agreements between trusted friends and family members ...
What Are the Impacts of Microfinance, Really?
April, 14 2015
Global - While certain initial expectations of microfinance have not been fulfilled, many agree that the institution has had enough successes that it should remain in place but with reforms ...
China: New Benchmark for 2015 - 110 Million USD Financed for 9Fbank to Boost Mobile Finance
April, 14 2015
China - 9Fbank is one of a few Internet finance companies that have survived the financial crisis. It acquired Angel Investment of RMB 10 million in 2006 and an investment of 3 million USD from a company listed on the Main Board of HKEx in 2009, to develop small and micro finance businesses ...
$73bn More Needed Every Year for Social Development Goals, Says ODI
April, 13 2015
Global - If development strategies remain the same, the gap between rich and poor countries will widen, leaving an estimated 550 million people living on less than $1.25 a day, according to the ODI ...
Liberia: Microfinance Chairman Promises More Capacity Building
April, 12 2015
Liberia - The newly elected chairman of the Network of Microfinance in Liberia (NEMIL), Rev. Steve N. Gaye, has promised to focus on capacity building of member institutions, including seeking national and international support for the network ...
India: Positive Microfinance Trend
April, 12 2015
India - The gross loan portfolio of microfinance institutions (MFIs), registered with the Reserve Bank of India as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), can cross Rs 1 lakh crore by March 31, 2018 ...
Sendy, Chief Executive, KreditGoGo: Indonesia - Financial Inclusion and the Middleman
April, 12 2015
Indonesia - Existing models of financial inclusion, meaning the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to disadvantaged and low-income segments of society, typically include three components: access to savings accounts, access to transaction and payment networks, and access to microfinancing products ...
India: Eight Months on, Two Charts Show the Reality of the Prime Minister's Financial Inclusion Scheme
April, 10 2015
India - Two of every three bank accounts opened under Jan Dhan Yojana have zero balance. Not a single insurance claim was settled during the last year ...
India: Coming of Age - Institutional Investors See Investment Merit in NBFCs, MFIs
April, 10 2015
India - Institutional investors in the debt market are gradually gaining confidence about looking beyond traditional government and highly-rated corporate debt to bonds and other debt instruments issued by non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs). NBFCs and MFIs are also helping create this new market, either by issuing debentures or pooling their debt assets. ...
Only 2.6m Nigerians Operate MFB Accounts – Investigation
April, 09 2015
Nigeria - Despite the huge numbers of Microfinance Banks, MFBs, operating in the country and regulatory authorities’ efforts to use them as channels for financial inclusion, investigations have confirmed that only 2.6 million of the adult population had MFB accounts ...
Gloria Grandolini, World Bank Group: From Fragile to Functional - Building Payment Systems in Developing Countries
April, 08 2015
Global - With around 1.5 billion people living in countries affected by ongoing conflict, building functioning payment systems is vital to reducing poverty and strengthening shared prosperity. ...
Kenya: Why M-Shwari Works
April, 08 2015
Kenya - With the rapid uptake of M-Shwari, Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) is the envy of the digital financial services industry ...
What Investors Think About Socially Responsible Investing
April, 08 2015
Global - Younger wealthy investors have a greater interest in socially responsible investments than older investors ...
Joshua Goldstein, CFI: Is Loan-Officer-Centricity a Key to Customer-Centricity? What Does Starbucks Teach Us?
April, 08 2015
Global - “Customer-centric” is defined by businessdictionary.com “as creating a positive customer experience at the point of sale and post-sale.” Gerhard Coetzee, Senior Financial Sector Specialist at CGAP, and his team are exploring how customer-centricity can be best customized and then operationalized for low-income people, in particular the unbanked and clients of financial institutions (FIs), with a strong emphasis on “customer empowerment. ...
India: New Bank to Fund Micro Units, More Relief for Farmers
April, 08 2015
India - On the new banking scheme, Modi said he was delivering on a promise made. "After 'banking the un-banked' with the Jan Dhan Yojana, it's time to 'fund the unfunded'," he told the event to launch what is formally called the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency - Mudra ...
World Bank President Outlines Strategy to End Poverty, Welcomes New Development Partners
April, 07 2015
Global - World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim today announced a broad strategy to end extreme poverty by 2030, and he welcomed emerging players such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank, established by the BRICS countries, as potentially strong allies in the economic development of poor countries and emerging markets ...
India: RBI Eases Lending Norms for Microfinance Companies
April, 07 2015
India - In its monetary policy announcement, the central bank stated that it has raised the total indebtedness of a borrower to Rs1 lakh. ...
Jordan Gildersleeve, Associate, MaRS Centre for Impact Investing: Segmenting Important for Impact Investors Too
April, 04 2015
Global - Perhaps the most logical approach to segmenting impact investors is to place them along a spectrum – ranging from those who prioritize impact, like foundations, to those who prioritize financial returns, like hedge funds ...
Arthur Pinheiro Machado, CEO, Americas Trading Group: Are Social Programs Real Instruments for Inclusion in Brazil?
April, 04 2015
Brazil - Before the recent presidential elections in Brazil, an intense discussion emerged: is the family grant program (Bolsa Família) an effective instrument for social inclusion and reduction of inequality or is it a mere instrument to win votes from citizens in the lower class? ...
Malaysia: Finally a Capital Leg up
April, 04 2015
Malaysia - Irrespective of whether the intention is to stay small or to expand, opportunities are now being presented to the willing. These came with two recent announcements ...
Smart Campaign Announces Enhancements to Client Protection Certification Program
April, 02 2015
Global - The changes will enable the program to better meet the growing global demand for certification among microfinance institutions, while ensuring that certified institutions demonstrate high standards and the program maintains strong governance and quality control ...
Afghanistan: Modern Credit Infrastructure Allows for Quicker Loans
April, 02 2015
Afghanistan - Recent credit infrastructure modernization in the banking sector have made transactions easier to process, and have facilitated access to loans for small businesses ...
Singapore, Indonesia Lead Growth in Sustainable Investing in Asia
April, 02 2015
South Asia - Asia may be lagging Europe and United States in sustainable investing, but the market is healthy and growing rapidly, with Singapore and Indonesia leading the growth. ...
India: Modi Asks Reserve Bank to Prepare 20-year Financial Inclusion Roadmap
April, 02 2015
India - Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked the Reserve Bank of India to prepare a 20-year roadmap for deepening financial inclusion in the country. ...
IFC Helps Expand Financing for Rural Enterprises and Agribusinesses in Cambodia
April, 02 2015
Cambodia - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, together with the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), is providing a syndicated loan of up to $110 million to ACLEDA Bank Plc. to promote financing to rural and micro businesses, especially those in the agricultural sector. ...
Jessie Wild Sneller, Fellow and Business Designer, IDEO.org: 6 Insights Driving Digital Design for Smallholders in Zimbabwe
April, 01 2015
Zimbabwe - Designing human-centered solutions for smallholder farmers begins with inspiration. Over the past few weeks, IDEO.org designers have traveled across Zimbabwe, seeking inspiration for our design process through conversations, observations, and immersive activities with a diverse array of actors in rural communities ...
Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances through Bitcoin
April, 01 2015
Kenya - In Africa, Bitcoin’s future is looking up. A number of start-up companies in Kenya have been attracting investment in the hopes that Bitcoin could be a new answer to an old problem: the high cost of sending remittances ...
East Africa: Mobile Money Transfer Across EA Coming Soon
April, 01 2015
Africa - Citizens of the East African Community will by the end of this year be able to transfer money via mobile phones across borders if full implementation of the One Area Network Agreement (OANA) succeeds ...

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