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Jan 2016
CBA Uganda to Offer Direct Mobile Lending
January, 31 2016
Uganda - Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) is introducing a Mobile Micro Savings and Loans product in Uganda allowing customers to borrow money via their phones ...
Philippine Banks Braced for More Mergers
January, 30 2016
Philippines - The trend is being driven in large part by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which has been actively working to create a less fragmented banking environment and foster greater financial inclusion ...
What Data Can Do to Fight Poverty
January, 29 2016
Global - IF social scientists and policy makers have learned anything about how to help the world’s poorest people, it’s not to trust our intuitions or anecdotal evidence about what kinds of antipoverty programs are effective ...
CIMB Thai Bank - Vientiane Branch and IFC Help Expand ACLEDA Bank Lao’s Financing for Smaller Businesses in Lao PDR
January, 28 2016
Lao PDR - CIMB Thai Bank - Vientiane Branch is providing $8 million equivalent Lao Kip loan to ACLEDA Bank Lao Ltd. to help boost financing for the country's micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including those in the agricultural sector. ...
Cambodia: New Japanese MFI to Assist Farmers
January, 28 2016
Cambodia - Japanese financial services firm Idemitsu Credit said it had started operations in its local subsidiary that will provide financing and instalment payment services to the agricultural sector in Battambang ...
Cambodia: Thai Bank Buys Local MFI in Mammoth Deal
January, 28 2016
Cambodia - In what may be the biggest deal in Cambodia’s financial sector history, Thailand-based Bank of Ayudhya has reached an agreement to acquire the local microfinance institution (MFI) Hattha Kaksekar, with the deal expected to be valued at upwards of $140 million ...
IFC Provides up to $50m to NBK-Egypt
January, 27 2016
Egypt - The IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, provided a loan of up to $50m to the National Bank of Kuwait-Egypt (NBK-Egypt) to boost access to finance for medium-sized businesses and promote sustainable energy financing (SEF) in Egypt ...
Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Achieves Full Independence
January, 27 2016
Global - AFI is about to begin new chapter at a time when financial inclusion has become recognized as one of the greatest global drivers of development policy ...
Nasdaq OMX Armenia Announces the Listing of the First UCO Securitized Bonds in Armenia
January, 27 2016
Armenia - The bonds were issued by a newly established special purpose vehicle, the Loan Portfolio Securitization Fund I. Managed by Capital Investments, the Fund was established in August 2015 with the purpose of securitizing the $2 million worth microfinance loans of the five participating UCOs. ...
C. Caruso, SVP of Channels & Technology, Accion: The Exciting Promise of Digital Payments in Peru
January, 26 2016
Peru - Peru’s pursuit of financial inclusion has set a standard, helping the country capture the top ranking in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Microscope for the past eight years. Accion’s Channels & Technology team, an advisory practice within Accion focused on digital financial services (DFS), recently returned from Lima, where we saw firsthand the exciting promise of digital payments in Peru ...
M. Martin, Founder, Impact Economy: Impact Investing - Four Opportunities for 2016
January, 25 2016
Global - If impact is to become the third dimension against which we screen every investment—next to risk and return—it’s just like the treadmill in the gym: It’s about running fast enough, and long enough. Fortunately, we have four opportunities to source massive amounts of fresh investments across different asset classes and geographies to make 2016 count ...
Tanzania Fails to Gain from Digital Wealth
January, 25 2016
Tanzania - One would have thought that the spread of the internet and the wide use of mobile phones would have made the 2010's Tanzanian society economically better off than that of 1990 due to the attendant benefits associated with digital technologies. Right? Not necessarily ...
B. Bossone and A. Sarr: Making Financial Inclusion a Reality for the Unbanked
January, 25 2016
Global - In the early 2000s, when we were both at the IMF, we studied how to redesign a domestic monetary system around the concept of non-credit money; that is, a system where – unlike conventional banking – money creation is separated from lending and money is provided to beneficiaries on a non-lending basis. ...
Indonesia: BNI to Offer Rp 11.5 Trillion in Micro Loans
January, 25 2016
Indonesia - State-owned lender PT Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) will make available Rp 11.5 trillion (US$72 million) in its 2016 micro credit (KUK) program, a BNI banker has said ...
Prudential Financial and LeapFrog Investments Launch a Partnership in Africa
January, 21 2016
Africa - Dr. Andrew Kuper, founder and CEO of LeapFrog Investments, said, “The global insurance industry is looking for ways to close the protection gap for millions of people in emerging markets. This partnership will help address that need, while tapping some of the world’s highest growth markets ...
Cambodia: Acleda Applauds NBC’s MoU with Myanmar
January, 21 2016
Cambodia - The country’s largest lender by branches, Acleda Bank, has welcomed the move by the National Bank of Cambodia to forge closer ties with the Central Bank of Myanmar as Acleda moves to expand its business in Myanmar’s credit-deficient market ...
IFC: Subordinated Loan to Ameriabank to Help Cash-strapped Businesses in Armenia
January, 21 2016
Armenia - Subordinated loan to Ameriabank will increase access to finance for Armenian businesses facing recent tightening of the emerging markets and the economy of the immediate region, Mr Tomasz Telma, IFC Director for Europe and Central Asia, said Thursday in Yerevan at the ceremony of signing two financial agreements by Ameriabank CJSC (one with the EBRD, and the other with the IFC) ...
A.Parker & K.Thomson, Children in Crisis: Lessons Learned - How to Set Up a Village Savings and Loan Association
January, 21 2016
DRC - After setting up a successful savings group pilot in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Children in Crisis share tips for other NGOs starting a pilot village savings and loans association(VSLA) ...
Moody's: Securitization Provides Alternative Funding Towards Financial Inclusion in India and China
January, 21 2016
Asia - Moody's Investors Service says that the development of domestic securitization markets will help India and China achieve their common goal of building inclusive financial systems that will ultimately bring affordable credit to the underprivileged segments of their societies and which are usually excluded from the conventional banking system ...
WeLab Raises 1 Bn Yuan in Push to Expand Micro Lending to China’s Rural Communities
January, 20 2016
China - Hong Kong internet finance startup WeLab, which has recently raised 1 billion yuan (HK$1.19 billion) in its series B financing, is tapping into China’s rural communities, providing micro loans to individuals who traditionally have had limited access to credit ...
Will India Go Cashless if Mobile Payments Take Off?
January, 19 2016
India - So can mobile wallets in India mirror the success that mobile payment tech has enjoyed in countries like Kenya, where more than 90% of the adult population has signed up to Vodafone's M-pesa payment platform ...
M. Soursourian, Financial Sector Analyst, CGAP: Top Five Takeaways from CGAP’s 2015 Funders Survey
January, 19 2016
Global - We recently published the results from the latest survey, which reported commitments as of December 2014 and revealed that funding for financial inclusion was stable in 2014. In this blog post, we’ll cover the top five takeaways from the latest data ...
Visa Announces Chinese Financial Education Push
January, 19 2016
China - In a move that might endear Visa to Chinese authorities, the global card network announced that it will work with local organizations in China to promote financial inclusion and education through mobile technology. ...
A $59 Trillion Tailwind Spurs Governance Changes in Asia Firms
January, 19 2016
Asia - A surge in socially responsible investments to $59 trillion globally over the past decade is nudging Asian firms to change a notoriously insular management style to one that actively addresses corporate governance concerns ...
Letshego Buys FBN Microfinance Bank to Pursue Nigerian Expansion
January, 19 2016
Nigeria - The acquisition of FBN MFB marks Letshego’s entry into West Africa, having successfully built a footprint in East and Southern Africa with 265,000 customers across nine countries ...
Myanmar: Still a Lenders’ Market
January, 19 2016
Myanmar - Neighbourhood pawnshops, and other informal lenders, are the only source of finance for most in Myanmar. The formal finance industry, crippled by decades of mismanagement by military rulers, is inaccessible to all but the wealthiest and state-run institutions don’t have the resources to effectively reach most of the largely rural population ...
India: IFMR Launches Rs250 Crore Debt Fund
January, 19 2016
India - IFMR Investment Managers Pvt Ltd, a Chennai-based asset management company, is raising a Rs.250 crore (about $38 million) debt fund to invest in businesses that target consumers at the bottom half of the pyramid, such as firms that finance affordable housing or agri-business ...
62 People Own the Same as Half the World, Reveals Oxfam Davos Report
January, 18 2016
Global - Although world leaders have increasingly talked about the need to tackle inequality, and in September agreed a global goal to reduce it, the gap between the richest and the rest has widened dramatically in the past 12 months. Oxfam’s prediction, made ahead of last year’s Davos, that the 1% would soon own more than the rest of us, actually came true in 2015 – a year earlier than expected ...
Latin America: Ending Poverty in 140 Characters
January, 18 2016
Latin America - It’s estimated that Latin America’s 15 million family farms work around 400 million hectares of land. These producers are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the region. However, this sector is among those who look to benefit most from digital technology ...
Nigeria: Commercial Banks Should Grant Loan to MfB’s - IFC
January, 18 2016
Nigeria - "If you look at MfBs that are borrowing in Nigeria today, they are borrowing from the CBN and the other lenders are international lenders. International lenders see value in some of the MfBs in the country and they invest in them. It is imperative for Nigeria institutions to be seeing the value of MfBs in Nigeria. ...
MUDRA Not to Regulate Micro Finance Institutions: Govt
January, 18 2016
India - Clarifying its stand on regulation of microfinance companies, the government has said that the Reserve Bank of India would continue to regulate MFIs registered as non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) with the central bank. MFIs will not be regulated by the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank, as proposed by the finance ministry earlier ...
Ingenico Group Deploys Terminals to Boost Financial Inclusion in Africa
January, 18 2016
Sub-saharan Africa - Ingenico Group, the global leader in seamless payment, has declared that it has reached a strategic fifty-thousand terminals landmark to serve the unbanked population and becomes the acclaimed financial inclusion-enabler in Africa, reports Footprint to Africa ...
M. Nyakwawa, DFS Consultant: Zimbabwe - Mobile Money and Microfinance: Exploring Synergies
January, 17 2016
Zimbabwe - We have seen it working in Kenya and many other African countries; maybe it’s high time mobile money and MFIs in Zimbabwe move a step up in their relationship and get married ...
India: NBFC-MFIs to Take a Hit as RBI Reins in Self-help Groups
January, 15 2016
India - Banks are asked by RBI to start sharing SHG data with credit bureaus. This move will put a check on overleveraging and borrowings by individuals from multiple sources and can possibly strain the asset quality of a few NBFC-MFIs, says a repor ...
EFSE and Finansbank Expand Their Cooperation to Provide Financing for Rural Clients and SMEs in Turkey
January, 15 2016
Turkey - The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) and Finansbank A.Ş., Turkey (Finansbank) are expanding their support for micro and small enterprises (MSEs) as well as for rural clients in Turkey through an additional EUR 15 million senior loan ...
D. Bloomgarden, A. Loza, Multilateral Investment Fund: Green Microfinance - A Tool for Sustainable Business and Climate Action
January, 15 2016
Global - Green microfinance responds to the different challenges and opportunities presented by increasing pressure on the environment. Furthermore, the multidimensional purpose of green microfinance--economic development, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability--is a way for microfinance institutions to achieve the so-called triple bottom line. ...
O. Tomilova, CGAP: 20 Years of Financial Inclusion in Europe and Central Asia
January, 14 2016
Europe and Central Asia - While working for various microfinance programs and as a consultant in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA), I have witnessed several trends in microfinance – which over years has become understood as part of inclusive finance ...
M-Pesa Finally Rolls Out in Ghana as Way Expanding the Service into West Africa Market
January, 13 2016
Ghana - Vodafone Group announced the rollout of mobile money platform M-Pesa in Ghana, the 11th market where it has launched the service so far. The launch comes after a successful pilot period, which started in August last year, with service set to operate under the ‘Vodafone Cash’ brand ...
Major UAE and Oman Banks Along with ADB Fund Sri Lanka's LOLC Finance
January, 13 2016
Sri Lanka - Major Omani and UAE banks along with Asian Development Bank (ADB) have funded a $69 million facility through a syndicate loan for Sri Lanka's LOLC Finance, Alpen Capital of Dubai, which has acted as the financial advisor to LOLC Finance, said in a statement. ...
This Impact Investor in Ethiopia Fills Financing Gap
January, 13 2016
Ethiopia - There are more and more people doing impact investing in Africa, seeking both to be of help to the people there and to take advantage of the rapidly growing economies there. Matt Davis of RENEW LLC is one of this breed of impact investors ...
Zimbabwe: RBZ Licenses Deposit Taking Microfinance Institutions
January, 12 2016
Zimbabwe - The Registrar of Microfinanciers, a division under the central bank announced in a notice published yesterday that it had licensed Getbucks Financial Services and African Century Limited ...
India: Equitas Holdings Gets Nod for IPO
January, 12 2016
India - The microfinance institution, which in September received in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for launching a small finance bank, aims to raise almost Rs.2,000 crore as foreign investors in the company are looking to sell their stake to ensure compliance with RBI’s ownership norms ...
IFC Invests in Co-op Bank to Support Entrepreneurs and Housing Finance in Kenya
January, 12 2016
Kenya - International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, announced on Monday that it will provide a $105 million (Sh1.5 billion) loan to the Co-operative Bank of Kenya (Co-op Bank) to support lending to small and medium businesses, women entrepreneurs and the housing sector ...
Uganda: How Amended Financial Law Could Revolutionise Banking
January, 11 2016
Uganda - After nearly six years in the making, it took Members of Parliament a single day to pass amendments to the 2004 Financial Institutions Act. The much-awaited reforms, expected to boost operations of banks in the country, were passed by the Parliament last Wednesday ...
What Excludes Women from Formal Finance in the Arab States?
January, 11 2016
Middle East and North Africa - What is interesting is that few countries in the region recognize this gender gap as a problem. Mostly it is seen as a form of “protection” for women – a paternalistic and patriarchal approach to development. ...
C. Schwartz, Fellow, Kiva: A Groundbreaking New Kind of Tourism Makes Rural Mexican Villages Smarter, Stronger and Richer
January, 11 2016
Mexico - I'm spending time in Mendoza's studio as part of a day trip with En Vía, a groundbreaking Oaxaca-based social impact organization that uses the money it collects in tourism fees to provide small loans to women in the surrounding areas with little access to resources ...
K. Odell, Associate Professor, Dominican University’s Brennan School of Business: Grameen Foundation Study, Measuring the Impact of Microfinance - Looking to the Future
January, 11 2016
Global - It’s time to reframe the research questions – setting aside the question of whether “microfinance” can “solve poverty” and moving on to a next generation of research which accurately reflects both the nature and the intentions of current financial inclusion practice ...
‘Sustainable Investing’ Goes Mainstream
January, 10 2016
Global - Long viewed as a niche asset class catering to wealthy individuals and institutions that wanted to avoid controversial industries such as tobacco and firearms, sustainable investing seemed to turn a corner last year ...
‘The Crises of Microcredit’, Edited by Isabelle Guérin, Marc Labie and Jean-Michel Servet
January, 08 2016
Global - “Poor people need, like everyone else, to have access to sound, safe and respectful and reliable systems in order to fulfil their financial needs,” they write. “The main challenge is to identify the conditions that can allow financial services to benefit poor and local economies, and not just financial providers and their allies. ...
C. Ashley, Editor, Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business: Sloppy Numbers about Poor Households
January, 06 2016
Global - There has been a huge effort to sell quality goods and services at a low price point, particularly harnessing information and communications technology (ICT), mobile payments and lean design to trim costs. I have not seen the same effort to understand household incomes and spending patterns ...
India Goes Postal in Bid to Give Bank Accounts to the Masses
January, 06 2016
India - The world’s largest post office network is planning to ramp up its financial services across India, triggering a race among commercial banks to set up partnerships to reach remote areas that have been unprofitable ...
India: Grameen Koota Backer CreditAccess Raises $30M from Olympus
January, 06 2016
India - Netherlands-based Asian microfinance operator CreditAccess Asia NV, has secured $30 million funding from Hong Kong-based private equity firm Olympus Capital Asia, it said on Wednesday. ...
Social Impact Bonds and Financial Inclusion
January, 05 2016
Global - Social Impact Bonds can change perspectives where social issues move from being budget issues to business cases. The proposal is very appealing for impact investors as it offers new opportunities to deploy capital for social impact, with a strong focus on accountability and credible measurement of the achieved impact ...
Philippines: BSP Liberalizes Rules on Microbanking
January, 05 2016
Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said it has expanded the “scope of allowable activities” in micro-banking offices (MBOs) to improve access to financial services. ...
Myanmar: SMEs Still Struggle to Source Financing
January, 05 2016
Myanmar - Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the backbone of Myanmar’s economy, say they are still struggling to source financing for start-ups and business expansion with insufficient funding made available by banks ...
Impact Investing: The Social Entrepreneurship Revolution
January, 04 2016
Global - The success of an investment is increasingly defined not just by risk and return but also its impact on society. Silvia Pavoni talks to the investors that demand purpose along with profit, and that are bringing about a revolution in the process ...
20 Years of Financial Inclusion in East Africa: 4 Major Shifts
January, 04 2016
East Africa - East Africa’s innovation in financial services has changed the global inclusion landscape; going forward to maintain its global leadership role, the diverse provider community must continue to innovate to create financial products that the poor really need and trust at a price they can afford ...
India: Ujjivan Files Papers for IPO
January, 04 2016
India - Bengaluru-based microfinance firm Ujjivan Financial Services Ltd has filed its draft red herring prospectus with the capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for its initial public offering (IPO). ...
Why “Inefficiency” is Needed in Energy Financing for Africa
January, 03 2016
Africa - One of the most important findings noted at the Africa launch of the World Bank's Progress Toward Sustainable Energy: Global Tracking Framework 2015 (GTF) report for the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, is that despite recent trends to increase investment in the energy sector, we still need to double the number of new connections to modern energy services per year to reach universal access to energy by 2030 ...
Electrifying India, With the Sun and Small Loans
January, 02 2016
India - Solar power accounts for just 1 percent of India’s current electricity production, mostly through large plants that contribute power to the grid, but a generation of Indian energy entrepreneurs is out to prove that a faster, cleaner and ultimately more economical route to universal electrification is through solar home systems ...

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