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Feb 2016
A. Fields, Contributor, Forbes: Lots of Impact Investing Activity in South Africa, but Also Many Hurdles to Tackle
February, 29 2016
Southern Africa - In Southern Africa, the big action in impact investing is in South Africa. But even in that country, there are a great many challenges. Those are some of the findings of The Landscape for Impact Investing in Southern Africa, a new report from the Global Impact Investing Network and Open Capital Advisors ...
R. Scofield and A. Simon, FINCA: Promises and Pitfalls of Financial Inclusion
February, 29 2016
Global - No one at this point really knows the limits of the financial inclusion revolution, and we must make sure it doesn’t turn into a rough and tumble gold rush that ultimately hurts consumers and financial institutions alike ...
India: Ujjivan Financial Gets Sebi Clearance for IPO
February, 29 2016
India - The company, which had filed its draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with Sebi on December 31 for launching the IPO, obtained clearance from the regulator on February 25 according to the latest update ...
Jordan: '$100m Kuwait Fund Loan Will Be Used to Finance SMEs'
February, 29 2016
Jordan - The loan comes after the government's success in the management of the first World Bank loan of $70 million and the first AFESD loan of $50 million, which both benefited more than 11,000 projects and led to generating 2,600 jobs by the end of 2015 ...
S. Omar, mPower Social Enterprises Ltd: Bangaldesh - Digitisation for the Poorest
February, 29 2016
Bangladesh - If the case for digitisation is so strong, why aren’t we jumping to it? Let us explore some of the barriers to the wide-scale creation of digital financial services for the poorest ...
IDB, US and Kiva Launch Latin America's Women Entrepreneurship Fund
February, 29 2016
Latin America - Seeking to empower women as entrepreneurs, breadwinners, and leaders, the Fund is aimed at harnessing the untapped economic potential of women entrepreneurs and addressing the barriers they face in accessing finance ...
Does Socially Responsible Investing Make Financial Sense?
February, 28 2016
Global - Socially responsible investing has come a long way from the days when it mostly meant not buying the shares of companies in controversial industries such as tobacco, firearms, alcohol or gambling ...
India: ESAF Microfin Plans to Raise R100 Crore via Rights Issue
February, 27 2016
India - Chairman and managing director K Paul Thomas told FE that the capital will be raised in the next two weeks. All existing investors, including SIDBI Venture Capital, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), are expected to subscribe to the rights issue ...
More Phones, Few Banks and Years of Instability Are Transforming Somalia to a Cashless Society
February, 26 2016
Somalia - While Kenya is now well-known as a global leader in mobile money technology and implementation, Somalia is often overlooked in the same discussion even though the same technology is having a more profound impact on the populace ...
W. Leslie, Regional Supervisor, Multilateral Investment Fund: Jumpstarting Sustainable Microfinance in the Bahamas
February, 26 2016
The Bahamas - The Bahamas is perhaps the Caribbean country where microfinance is most challenging, because of its small population of 350,000, scattered among 28 of the country's more than 700 islands, which cover 5,300 square miles. ...
EBRD Loan in Local Currency to First MicroCredit in the Kyrgyz Republic
February, 26 2016
Kyrgyzstan - Borrowing in local currency, rather than in dollars, will help small businesses and farmers who do not have income in hard currency avoid foreign exchange risk ...
J. Anderson, Financial Sector Specialist, CGAP: Five Fresh Facts from the Smallholder Diaries
February, 25 2016
Global - How are smallholder families managing their money? What challenges do they face? And what financial solutions can help? Getting answers to these questions called for a year of data collection and thousands of conversations with farming families in three distinct markets. ...
Solving Payments Interoperability for Universal Financial Access
February, 25 2016
Global - Getting payment products to “understand” each other, or to be “interoperable,” is a big challenge to solve if we want to expand overall digital services and financially include the 2 billion people worldwide who are currently excluded from the formal financial system. ...
N.Ahmed: Is More Funding the Answer to Pakistan's Struggling Microfinance Sector?
February, 25 2016
Pakistan - There is a growing desire within Pakistan to expand its microfinance sector and innovate. Since the 1990s, however, the country’s attempts to blend commercial and development models (pdf) to tackle poverty, the gender gap and unemployment have struggled against a backdrop of financial and political instability ...
India: NBFCs Condition Remains Subdued Amid Stringent Norms from RBI
February, 25 2016
India - NBFCs have largely been able to hold their own against headwinds such as high inflation, tight liquidity and more stringent norms from the Reserve Bank of India. In the decade ending 2015, NBFCs' share of credit went up from 10 per cent to 13 per cent and this growth is likely to accelerate further over the next decade ...
V. McIntyre, Harvard Kennedy School: The Hard Facts on ‘Soft Data’ - Determining Risk for Loan Applicants without Credit Scores Is More Than a Numbers Game
February, 24 2016
Global - As it turns out, judging based on a single number can shortchange lenders as well as borrowers. Research is showing that a more comprehensive picture based on “soft information” as well as numbers can serve as a firmer basis for judging risk of default. ...
Africa's Cities Can Be Tough; But There Are Ways to Make Them Happy Places for All
February, 24 2016
Africa - The growing gap between the rich and the poor has become a pressing global challenge. Earlier this year an Oxfam report shared stark statistics on how runaway inequality has created a world where the richest 1% own more than the rest of us. A solution to rebalancing this lies in Africa’s cities ...
D. S. Kern, Chief Investment Strategist, TFC Financial Management: 5 Trends Driving the Future of Sustainable Investing
February, 24 2016
Global - We expect sustainable investing to enter the mainstream in coming years, making tomorrow’s approaches very different than the approaches that thrived in recent years. Here are five trends to watch ...
TriLinc Global Impact Fund Makes Impact Investments in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa
February, 24 2016
Global - TriLinc Global Impact Fund has approved $9.5 million in term loan and trade finance facilities to companies in Argentina, Ecuador, and South Africa ...
Egypt: EFG Hermes Acquires 76.7% Stake in Tanmeyah Microfinance in EGP 345m Transaction from Qalaa Holding
February, 24 2016
Egypt - The statement said the EGP 345m transaction will see EFG Hermes acquire a 70% stake owned by Qalaa Holdings’ Finance Unlimited subsidiary; in addition to acquiring a portion of the shares held by Tanmeyah’s management, representing an additional 6.7% of the company ...
India: PEs Hand-hold Transition of MFIs to Small Finance Banks
February, 24 2016
India - Private equity (PE) investors have put in substantial amounts in microfinance institutions (MFIs) and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) over the years. ...
ADB, LOMC Sign $25 Million Loan to Boost Credit Access, Support Sri Lankan Micro Business
February, 24 2016
Sri Lanka - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and LOMC, one of Sri Lanka's leading non-bank microfinance institutions, today signed a $25 million loan agreement to boost access to credit for individuals and micro enterprises. ...
Myanmar: IFC to Invest $10m as Convertible Debt to Fuel Farm-to-MFI Player Myanma Awba’s Expansion
February, 24 2016
Myanmar - International Finance Corporation, the private lending arm of the World Bank, is proposing to extend a financing facility of $10-million, with a provision of converting the loan into equity, to Myanma Awba Group, an agriculture-based business in Myanmar ...
J. Zhang, Chairman, China Smartpay Group: Regulators Should Leave China P2P Sector Alone
February, 23 2016
China - It is conceivable that tough regulation of P2P lending will lead many operators back to dark street corners and back alleys again. By global standards, China has surprisingly little to no regulation of e-commerce, P2P lending or wealth management. That is a good thing rather than a bad thing ...
K. Subramanian and P. Tantri, Indian School of Business: Tax Agri Income for the Benefit of Small Farmers
February, 23 2016
India - There could be a concern that the imposition of tax could lead to credit flowing only to big farmers as they have higher income to show. We believe otherwise ...
GSMA Report Shows Registered Mobile Money Accounts Increased by 31 Per Cent to 411 Million in 2015
February, 23 2016
Global - Mobile money is changing the landscape of financial inclusion. With 271 services in 93 countries, mobile money is now available in 85 per cent of markets where less than 20 per cent of the population have an account at a formal financial institution. ...
The "Bank of Bill Gates" Enters a New Era
February, 23 2016
Global - Bill Gates doesn’t like to dither. Just seven years after his philanthropic Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-founded an organisation committed to the financial inclusion of the world’s 2.5bn unbanked people, it now stands on its own, independent of any government and self-reliant for core funding ...
G.Benmayor, Hurriyet Daily News: How Are Microcredits Doing in Turkey?
February, 23 2016
Turkey - Prof. Yunus’ opinions are extremely important at a time when income inequality in the world and the gap between the rich and the poor is being questioned more than ever ...
Tanzania: Keeping Money at Home Still Common
February, 23 2016
Tanzania - Despite increased number of financial institutions, their penetrations in rural area has remained low with most people continuing to hide their money in boxes and mattresses ...
Standard Chartered Bank: Digital Africa
February, 22 2016
Africa - While Africa has some unique characteristics that enhance the value proposition for mobile money solutions, some of the successes that have already been achieved, and those that are underway, form a blueprint for other regions. ...
India: PM's Inclusion Dream Unrealised
February, 20 2016
India - The speed of adding accounts, as IndiaSpend reported earlier, was outpacing the delivery of benefits, and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan, in 2014, cautioned banks against focussing on numbers alone ...
India: Ujjivan Financial Services Raises Rs 300 Crore in Pre-IPO Placement
February, 20 2016
India - The firm has raised Rs312.4 crore from almost 33 domestic investors including mutual funds, insurance firms, family offices and HNIs ...
J. Murdoch, Executive Director, Financial Access Initiative: Sharing Solutions to Poverty
February, 18 2016
Global - Efforts to battle poverty in the United States can learn a lot from the developing world, and vice versa. Thankfully some of the barriers between these traditionally isolated domains are falling ...
The Smart Campaign: My Turn to Speak - Voices of Microfinance Clients in Benin, Pakistan, Peru, and Georgia
February, 18 2016
Global - Today the Smart Campaign is proud to present the results from the Client Voices project, a four-country research investigation that directly asked clients about their experiences with financial providers and their thoughts on what constitutes good and bad treatment ...
For Conservation Finance Investors, Returns Trump Impact
February, 17 2016
Global - AXA Investment Managers and Credit Suisse are among the big players backing projects that seek to profit from protecting the environment. ...
Asia: Clarity Matters in Inclusive Business
February, 17 2016
Asia - While inclusive business is becoming increasingly popular, there is still a lot of confusion about what it is, how it addresses the poor, and how it works ...
Peruvian Banks and Telcos Launch National Mobile Money Network
February, 17 2016
Peru - Five years in the making, Peru has launched a national mobile money network, with the aim of drawing five million of the country's unbanked into the formal banking system ...
Bangladesh: Digital Transaction under Big Expansion Plan
February, 17 2016
Bangladesh - In a massive step, the government is going to expand digitalisation of financial transaction across the country and take it beyond the banking system. With the initiative implemented, the people who are now excluded in the current system can also enjoy making electronic payment or transaction while buying a service or a product. ...
Indonesia: Rate Caps Counterproductive
February, 17 2016
Indonesia - Imposing Interest rate ceilings would undermine the ability of these lending institutions to cover their costs. Many would be driven out of business and even those surviving will struggle. The poor, who are the recipients of microfinance, would be the losers. ...
What Impact Investors Can Learn from the Microfinance Industry
February, 17 2016
Global - Substitute the word “impact” for “social performance,” and current debates in the investment community sound exactly like the ones the microfinance industry had 10 years ago. The investor community can learn from microfinance’s successful efforts to set standards for non-financial returns—the “other bottom line.” ...
Cambodia: IFC Provides US$50 Million Financing Package to Amret Microfinance
February, 17 2016
Cambodia - The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a US$50 million financing package to Amret Co., a leading microfinance institution, to help the company increase lending to smaller businesses, especially those in the agriculture sector and rural areas, said a press release made public this afternoon ...
Uganda Is a Land of Entrepreneurs, But How Many Startups Survive?
February, 16 2016
Uganda - Despite being ranked the world’s most entrepreneurial country, few Ugandan businesses hit the big time. How can they leap from surviving to thriving ...
F. Martin, Analyst, MIX: Rapid Growth = Equitable Access? Is Ivory Coast’s Financial Sector Expanding Enough to Reach Full Inclusion?
February, 16 2016
Ivory Coast - How is the microfinance sector faring in the clean-up process that the government started a few years ago? And how is the rapid expansion of mobile money impacting the overall financial access picture? MIX is launching an updated version of our initial Ivory Coast workbook release from 2013, which explores some of these key questions ...
Cambodia: IFC Helps ACLEDA Bank Plc. Increase Lending to Small Businesses and Women-owned SMEs in Cambodia
February, 16 2016
Cambodia - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a syndicated loan of $50 million to ACLEDA Bank Plc. to boost lending to small and medium enterprises, of which at least half will support women-owned enterprises. ...
Poverty Falls in Sri Lanka but Serious Challenges Ahead, Says World Bank
February, 16 2016
Sri Lanka - The Sri Lanka Poverty Assessment has found that the fall in poverty stems mostly from increasing labor incomes as the economy has shifted from less productive agriculture towards the industry and service sectors, more urbanization, and rising domestic demand ...
A. Thomas, Associate Partner, Dalberg: Remittances Disrupted – Three Ways to Make the International Remittance Revolution Stick
February, 15 2016
Global - Due to a lack of innovation and competition, the remittance market has long been known primarily for its high fees. Over the last few years, startup activity and the accompanying media buzz have jumpstarted some promising alternatives; however, we are still waiting for a true disruption to benefit the lives of the poor ...
Philippines: Agency Banking - Bringing Financial Services to Rural Areas
February, 15 2016
Philippines - Technology can now turn everyone into a bank. Not a banker, but an actual bank. That is the promise of agency banking. Also known as branchless banking, it is the latest in a long line of tech-enabled innovations that have been sweeping through developing countries. ...
Nigeria: Equator Capital Acquires 657,000 Shares in Fortis MFB
February, 15 2016
Nigeria - Equator capital partners, an investing firm has acquired 657,000 share equity in Fortis Microfinance Bank (MFB). This was disclosed on Thursday during the completion Board Meeting of the bank held in Abuja ...
Bangladesh: Solar Cells Help Purify Water in Developing Countries
February, 15 2016
Bangladesh - Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have developed a water purification plant that provides clean water far beyond the reach of the electrical grid -- thanks to solar cells. With the help of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus, these small and portable solar cell stations have now been placed across rural Bangladesh ...
Microensure to Become Africa’s Largest Insurance Business with AXA Investment
February, 14 2016
Africa - One of the world’s leading insurance companies, AXA has increased its stake at Microensure, a mobile micro-insurance service provider by 46 percent to develop offerings encompassing Life & Savings, Health, Property & Casualty insurance as well as Assistance to tomorrow’s emerging middle class ...
India's Regulator to Do More on Inclusion and Innovation
February, 12 2016
India - Following a year of well-documented progress toward financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India took more steps in December 2015 that appear innovation-friendly ...
S. Zausner, Partner, Office:FMA: A Good Deal for Social Good
February, 12 2016
Global - How impact investors, commercial investors, and social enterprises can take advantage of Series B financing and create greater impact ...
Georgia: TBC, ADB Sign Two Loan Agreements for $100m
February, 12 2016
Georgia - TBC Bank signs USD 50 million Subordinated Loan, USD 50 million Senior Loan, and a USD 500,000 technical assistance agreements with the Asian Development Bank ...
Zimbabwe: RBZ Approves Adoption of Agent Banking
February, 11 2016
Zimbabwe - The Reserve Bank has approved the adoption of agent banking by financial institutions as part of efforts to increase access to financial services, governor Dr John Mangudya said ...
A. Bauer, Principal Economist, ADB: Asia - Unlock Solutions for the Poor with Inclusive Business Innovations
February, 11 2016
Asia - Innovation is the key for the success of inclusive business companies, because the margin per unit is typically low given customers are the poor ...
EBRD, Bank Audi Ink $30 Million Deal to Boost SMEs in Egypt
February, 11 2016
Egypt - Although SMEs represent the majority of active private enterprises in Egypt and contribute 75 percent of total employment, access to finance remains a key concern and resolving this issue has become a top priority for the authorities ...
Rise of Middle Class Undermined in East Europe & Central Asia
February, 11 2016
Eastern Europe & Central Asia - “In many ways, the story in this region is different from what is happening in other parts of the world. The share of people living on $10 and $50 dollars per day has actually increased in most of these countries”,(as against a poverty line of less than 1.25 dollar a day), said Cihan Sultanoğlu, the Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States ...
To Speed Financial Inclusion in Latin America… Think Smartphones
February, 11 2016
Latin America - Considering the rapid projected growth of smartphone penetration, mobile money services may become obsolete before they even become mainstream ...
WorldRemit Raises $45M to Tackle $600B Market
February, 10 2016
Global - Remittances start-up WorldRemit has raised $45 million in debt to help it tap the business of using mobile wallets to send money across emerging markets ...
In Kyrgyz Republic, Smaller Businesses Seek Islamic Finance: IFC Study
February, 10 2016
Kyrgyzstan - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has released a study that finds there is overwhelming demand for Islamic finance among smaller business in the Kyrgyz Republic ...
India: Small Banks May Face HR, Technology Issues
February, 09 2016
India - India’s banking landscape is set to see the entry of a new species: the small finance bank. ...
Micro-Insurance Can Help Improve Insurance Penetration in Rwanda
February, 09 2016
Rwanda - Simply put, micro-insurance means developing and extending insurance services to low-income segment of the population or those excluded from the mainstream commercial or health and social insurance brackets ...
India: Ujjivan Financial in Talks to Raise Rs400-450 Crore Ahead of IPO
February, 06 2016
India - Ujjivan, in which foreigners owned a stake of 88.69% as of 31 March, has to ensure that overseas shareholding in the company drops to 49%, one of the conditions it has to meet to become a small finance bank. ...
Malawi: New Business Registration Systems to Boost SMEs
February, 05 2016
Malawi - Government yesterday launched a modern online collateral registry system, a move that has done away with fixed assets as the only collateral for loans. This means that small scale traders who are mostly women will now access loans using property such as livestock, machinery, and vehicles ...
C. Sow, President, Global Health Council: Life without Health Insurance - Why We Need to Protect the Most Vulnerable
February, 05 2016
Global - Achieving universal health coverage in developing countries has been a dream for years. Christine Sow explores where progress is happening. ...
IFC Helps Strengthen Financial Infrastructure in Azerbaijan to Improve Access to Finance for Small Businesses
February, 04 2016
Azerbaijan - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is launching the third phase of an advisory project to help strengthen Azerbaijan's financial infrastructure and improve access to finance for businesses, especially small enterprises, assisting them to remain stable amid the recent local currency devaluation, and continue to grow and create jobs ...
India: Moving a Billion People into Digital Finance
February, 04 2016
India - Digital finance has great potential to improve life for consumers and merchants in India. But the lack of familiarity has impeded digital money’s growth in the country. This lack of awareness exists despite India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s national mission for financial inclusion ...
Egyptian Government and Visa Sign Agreement to Help Bring Electronic Payments to Government Subsidies
February, 04 2016
Egypt - “This MOU signing represents not only an important milestone in our ongoing cooperation with the Egyptian government, but is also a major step forward in our efforts to bring more Egyptians into the formal financial system, with all the associated benefits that brings,” said Stephen Kehoe, senior vice president, Visa Inc ...
India: Social/Impact Venture Firms Invest US$95mn over 53 Deals in 2015
February, 03 2016
India - Social/ Impact Venture Firms invested about US$95mn over 53 deals in India during the twelve months ended December 2015, according to data from Venture Intelligence, India’s longest serving research service focused on private company financials, transactions and valuations ...
New CEO-led Consortium to Drive Sustainability in India’s Housing Sector
February, 03 2016
India - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is convening a voluntary, collaborative effort with leading Indian housing sector companies to form an industry-led Sustainable Housing Leadership Consortium to drive sustainability in India's housing market with a particular focus on the affordable housing sector. ...
IFC Provides $90 Million to Banco Itau Paraguay to Expand Access to Finance for Small and Medium Enterprises
February, 03 2016
Paraguay - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a seven-year $90 million loan to Banco Itau Paraguay S.A., one of the leading banks in Paraguay, to increase access to finance for small and medium enterprises, helping to support the development of a sector that plays a critical role in the Paraguayan economy. ...
OPIC Enters into $250 Million Partnership with Bayport
February, 02 2016
Global - The long-term loan will support the group's financial inclusion and growth agenda across its operations ...
U. Sheth, Founder, SoPact: Building Efficient Social Sector Initiatives through New Generation Impact Measurement
February, 02 2016
Global - More and more, the success of new philanthropic models depends on the rise of collective impact initiatives and demonstrating impact evidence. “SSIR’s Metrics 3.0: A New Vision for Shared Metrics” presents a strong argument for a collaborative approach at the organization and the ecosystem levels, as the best way to achieve value generation in the social sector ...
R. Mazer, Financial Sector Specialist, CGAP: Competition & Mobile Financial Services - Move Past "Test & Learn"
February, 02 2016
Global - A country’s approach to policymaking in mobile financial services can have a big impact on the competitive landscape. A flexible, "test and learn" approach has helped foster innovation, but may begin to have adverse consequences for competition and consumer protection ...
Leaping into the Future: Nigeria's Rural Microfinance Community Gets Connected Using Stellar and Oradian
February, 02 2016
Nigeria - Kim said the aim is to create a kind of open, low-cost version of Western Union, or something like a SWIFT network that these MFIs or local farmers' co-ops can connect to and then transfer money between different branches or entities ...
Competition Could Lift South African Growth and Boost Poverty Alleviation
February, 02 2016
South Africa - In times of weak growth and limited fiscal resources government policies that promote greater domestic competition and improve the regulatory environment could lift growth and support poverty alleviation, says the South Africa Economic Update released by the World Bank today ...
IFC Survey Reveals Key Constraints to Doing Business in Kyrgyzstan
February, 02 2016
Kyrgyzstan - While it is fairly easy to enter the Kyrgyz market and register a company, operating a business and doing it effectively is much less so. A transparent and predictable legal environment is critical to encouraging investment, and the Kyrgyz government should continue to simplify and streamline regulations, specifically in the areas of permits and licensing, the report says ...
EIF and ProCredit Group Signed an Agreement to Boost Access to Finance for Innovative Companies
February, 01 2016
Europe - The European Investment Fund (EIF) and ProCredit group have signed an agreement to boost access to finance for innovative companies, both SMEs as well as small-sized enterprises with average capitalization, within the programme InnovFin - EU funding for Innovators, an initiative supported by the European Commission ...
C. Dunford: Why Microfinance Should Embrace – Not Resist – A New Brand
February, 01 2016
Global - But these rebranding efforts have aimed to create separation from microcredit and its classic theory of change rather than rebranding microcredit itself. This is problematic for two reasons ...

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