PUBLICATIONS

2019

Reach, Benefit and Empower women with Financial Services – Case-based learning paper

Read more

NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance, analyzed three cases on women’s access to financial services in three different countries:
1. Saving and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) in Ethiopia;
2. Services provided by TYM, an MFI in Vietnam;
3. Financial services provided to female farmers in the maize and beans value chains in Rwanda.

With this paper, we showcase the importance of appropriate financial services for women to increase female entrepreneurship in agriculture and to secure the highly necessary agricultural growth. We aim to encourage the NpM members (inclusive finance investors) and other professionals working in the financial sector to ensure that women are reached by financial services, but also to ensure that women benefit and that they are empowered.

Summary Report: Geodata for Inclusive Finance and Food

Read more

On 24 June, NpM hosted its seminar of “Geodata for Inclusive Finance & Food” in Nairobi. As a pre-day event to the SPTF and Smart Campaign’s Summit on “Inclusive Digital Future”, we heard from each of the winners of the NpM Innovator’s Challenge – Agri-wallet, Apollo Agriculture, and VanderSat – about their projects and the opportunities of geodata. Their insights gave way to an interactive Q&A session about the innovative practicality of their applications.

The second part zoomed in on the issue of data privacy when using geodata-based information. Isabelle Barrès of the Smart Campaign introduced major data privacy issues and the client protection principles. Ben Wellington of MicroFinanza Rating (MFR) then provided emerging good practices coming from case studies with FinTechs.

The seminar ended in lively group discussions reflecting on the great potential of geodata, but also the risks that the use of geodata-based information could carry.

Case Study on Solar Home Systems: upOwa

Read more

Case Study on Solar Home Systems: PEG Africa

Read more

Case Study on Solar Home Systems: M-KOPA Solar

Read more

Case Study on Agri Services: Babban Gona

Read more

Case Study on Vehicle Loans and Services: Edpyme Acceso Crediticio

Read more

Lessons Learned from Existing Geodata Projects

Read more

As part of the series of events for the Geodata for Inclusive Finance and Food (G4IFF) workstream, NpM hosted a webinar on Lessons Learned from Existing Geodata Projects. The webinar took place on April 10th and followed-up on a previous webinar and expert meeting on the potential of geodata. During this webinar speakers provided context of various geodata opportunities for financial institutions, and specific examples to delve deeper into the integration of geodata services and implications for end-users.

To share the key lessons learned, NpM prepared a brochure. It provides an overview from the perspective of Investors, Microfinance Institutions and FinTechs, and the Earth Observation sector.

We hope this information can benefit those interested in improving access to finance and food production for smallholder farmers.

Summary Report: Deep-dive in Geodata for Investors

Read more

Experts, investors, and practitioners gathered to explore the potential of geodata for inclusive finance and food security at the NpM expert meeting. Guest speakers from different sectors – financial inclusion, agriculture, and geospatial information – shared their know-how and four practitioners presented their geodata projects. This led to a lively discussion which NpM will follow up on.

Technological Innovations to Enable Farmer Finance

Read more

As part of a series of events for our Geodata for Inclusive Finance and Food (G4IFF), NpM partnered with FMO to host a webinar on Technological Innovations to enable Farmer Finance. It took place on February 19th and had four experts share their knowledge and experience on the use of technology to assess risk, reach out to, and monitor different groups of smallholders.

To continue to spark your interest in this topic, FMO and NpM have prepared a brochure featuring a variety of innovative technology companies active in this space. These companies may help you in your endeavour to serve farmers. We hope this brochure will inspire you.

2018

NpM Annual Report 2018

Read more

Caveat Venditor: Towards a Conceptual Framework for Buyer Selection in Responsible Microfinance Exits

Read more

As microfinance equity sales grow, so does the importance of selecting a suitable buyer – the obligation on the seller to exit ‘responsibly’. This research project involved consultation with various equity investors, to ascertain what is current industry practice on buyer selection processes, and the priority that investors give to different criteria in selecting a buyer. We find a consensus around a process which first excludes clearly unqualified buyers but, beyond that, gives primacy to the financial offer. A minority view places more importance on protecting the social mission of the MFI, and ensuring the new buyer provides the necessary strategic value for the MFI to grow congruent with its social mission. We have developed a conceptual framework for buyer selection that imports elements of both approaches, and can guide investors and their advisors in future exits.

Financial Services for Women: Women’s Participation in Savings and Credit Cooperatives in Ethiopia

Read more

NpM commissioned a study on women’s participation in financial cooperatives as part of a broader study on promotion of women entrepreneurship in agriculture through access to finance. Our rural finance working group observed that women often do not access financial services in agriculture and, in particular, that larger loans are needed to continue their participation in the agricultural value chain.

This paper presents the results of the case study “Women’s participation in savings and credit cooperatives in Ethiopia”. It describes the experiences of female members and leaders of two Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) in Ethiopia, Lelewut Eninesa and Wub Bahil. The SACCOs were selected out of the SACCOs that are supported by the ICCO-Terrafina Microfinance capacity building program funded by the Church of Sweden.

The study started with a desk review of recent studies on women’s participation in SACCOs, followed by a field study in the end of 2017. For the analysis, we used the ‘reach, benefit and empower’ framework. This framework points out that simply reaching women (e.g. by including them as clients, as member of a cooperative or in trainings) does not ensure that they will benefit or that they will be empowered. In general, projects should aim to go beyond merely reaching women and strive to empower them to strengthen their ability to make strategic life choices and to put those choices into action.

Financial Services for Women: Agri-finance Products for Female Farmers in Vietnam

Read more

NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance commissioned a study on suitable agri-finance products for female farmers in Vietnam as part of a broader study on the promotion of women entrepreneurship in agriculture through access to finance. The NpM rural finance working group observed that women often do not access financial services in agriculture and, in particular, that larger loans are needed to continue their participation in the agricultural value chain.

This paper presents the results of the study aimed to analyse if and how women encounter constraints to effectively access financial services in agriculture and if they benefit effectively from accompanying non-financial services. The study explored the potential strategies for women to access larger loans. Furthermore, it intends to explore the business case for financial institutions to include women in larger lending segments. The study distinguished three categories of female rural clients: (1) poor rural women, (2) female farmers on family farms and (3) female entrepreneurs of micro, small and medium enterprises. The study focusses on the second category.

Expanding Financial Inclusion of Refugees in Uganda

Read more

Lack of access to financial services can represent a major impediment to income opportunities and economic welfare of individuals, particularly for the poor and vulnerable, and those engaged in the informal economy. Affordable access to financial services can help refugees cope with negative shocks, reduce exposure to risk, and stimulate economic activity at community levels.

In order to develop more inclusive financial markets it is necessary to address the specific constraints in each context that prevent an efficient match between demand and supply of financial services, limiting access, use and quality of available services. While legal and policy barriers remain, the biggest constraint to increased financial inclusion of refugees is a familiarity gap between refugees and FSPs, fuelled by ingrained stereotypes and preconceived ideas. The support system around FSPs, while growing, remains fragmented, and many FSPs continue to be constrained by a lack of (easy) access to the information, guidance and support needed to identify, assess, and potentially serve refugees as customers.

This state of play paper aims to provide a brief overview of the global potential market scope of refugees, and review the progress to improve access to finance by refugees in the past few years. Remaining barriers are briefly described, including policy clarity, relevant information, legal barriers, and funding. This list of gaps is by no means complete but it is hoped that the International Conference Finance for Refugees – Making it Work can contribute to filling the void.

Finance for Refugees: the State of Play

Read more

Lack of access to financial services can represent a major impediment to income opportunities and economic welfare of individuals, particularly for the poor and vulnerable, and those engaged in the informal economy. Affordable access to financial services can help refugees cope with negative shocks, reduce exposure to risk, and stimulate economic activity at community levels.

In order to develop more inclusive financial markets, it is necessary to address the specific constraints in each context that prevent an efficient match between demand and supply of financial services, limiting access, use and quality of available services. While legal and policy barriers remain, the biggest constraint to increased financial inclusion of refugees is a familiarity gap between refugees and FSPs, fuelled by ingrained stereotypes and preconceived ideas. The support system around FSPs, while growing, remains fragmented, and many FSPs continue to be constrained by a lack of (easy) access to the information, guidance and support needed to identify, assess, and potentially serve refugees as customers.

This state of play paper aims to provide a brief overview of the global potential market scope of refugees and review the progress to improve access to finance by refugees in the past few years. Remaining barriers are briefly described, including policy clarity, relevant information, legal barriers, and funding. This list of gaps is by no means complete but it is hoped that the International Conference Finance for Refugees – Making it Work can contribute to filling the void.

Geodata for Inclusive Finance & Food: Inventory of Technology

Read more

This inventory of technology report gives an overview of 34 geodata applications and their potential added value for inclusive finance. The report states that for a long time the application of solutions involving satellite data was considered only appropriate for large, commercial farms but thanks to advances in mobile communication, availability of free data and the Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) Facility satellite applications become feasible for smallholders in developing countries. The main areas in which geodata can support financial inclusion are:

1. Support for financial operations,
2. Improving agricultural performance,
3. Provision of historical records,
4. Risk management.

2017

NpM Multi-Annual Report 2013-2016

Read more

NpM Annual Report 2017

Read more

Geodata and ICT Solutions for Inclusive Finance and Food Security: Innovative Developments – An overview

Read more

In light of a growing demand for food, smallholder farmers are crucial in supplying the world with sufficient food. In order to achieve this much needed growth, access to affordable and appropriate finance is key for smallholder farmers. On the other side, financial institutions see agriculture lending as risky and costly and do not easily lend to smallholder farmers. A study commissioned by NpM showed that lack of understanding of agriculture at the financial institution’s level leads to overestimation of the risks and costs involved. At the same time new technologies and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are now being used to boost production. ICT information systems are able to address knowledge gaps at farmer level. New ICT solutions in banking assist to reach out to remote rural areas and new groups of smallholders. Through ICT applications in banking, costs of financial service delivery have reduced while outreach has improved. How can these developments in agriculture on the one hand, and finance on the other, be combined to improve finance for smallholders to the required levels?

2016

RAPPORT SUCCINCT: Des financements pour les petits exploitants: Mettre en relation les institutions financières et les organisations de producteurs pour une meilleure gestion des risques

Read more

La NpM a sélectionné 14 projets financés par NPN ou AgriProFocus (APF) en Éthiopie, au Mali, au Rwanda et en Ouganda pour la manière innovante dont l’accès au financement a été créé pour les petits exploitants, montrant qu’une totale collaboration est fondamentale. Dans cette étude, des projets ayant déjà fait leurs preuves ont été sélectionnés. Le projet de recherche a été élaboré avec ICCO Terrafina Microfinance (TMF), Agriterra, la plateforme européenne de la microfinance (e-MFP), le Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) et l’Université et le Centre de recherche de Wageningen (Wageningen UR). La Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP), la NpM et l’APF ont financé l’étude.

RAPPORT COMPLET: Des financements pour les petits exploitants: Mettre en relation les institutions financières et les organisations de producteurs pour une meilleure gestion des risques

Read more

La NpM a sélectionné 14 projets financés par NPN ou AgriProFocus (APF) en Éthiopie, au Mali, au Rwanda et en Ouganda pour la manière innovante dont l’accès au financement a été créé pour les petits exploitants, montrant qu’une totale collaboration est fondamentale. Dans cette étude, des projets ayant déjà fait leurs preuves ont été sélectionnés. Le projet de recherche a été élaboré avec ICCO Terrafina Microfinance (TMF), Agriterra, la plateforme européenne de la microfinance (e-MFP), le Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) et l’Université et le Centre de recherche de Wageningen (Wageningen UR). La Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP), la NpM et l’APF ont financé l’étude.

Greening Financial Inclusion

Read more

This assessment of the status of greening inclusive finance across the members of the Dutch Platform for Inclusive Finance (NpM) has been undertaken by Enclude in order to determine which next steps should follow the 2015 signing of the Letter of Intent. The Letter was presented to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, detailing the shared intentions of the NpM members to make policies and practices more green.

In a final workshop (14 September 2016) in which the draft findings of this survey were presented to the NpM members, it was agreed to ask NpM’s coordination and facilitation of the following next steps:

1. The definition of Green Inclusive Finance.
2. Risk return perspective vs. opportunities.
3. Case development: seen from triple value creation.
4. The role of technology.
5. More aligned indicators.
6. Regulations.
7. Awareness raising and needs identification.

Summary Report: Expert Meetings on Finance for Smallholders

Read more

NpM Annual Report 2016

Read more

2015

Case Studies Report: Finance for Smallholders: Opportunities for risk management by linking financial institutions and producer organisations

Read more

Summary Report: Finance for Smallholders: Opportunities for risk management by linking financial institutions and producer organisations

Read more

NpM Annual Report 2015

Read more

In 2015, NpM has paved the way for new initiatives and explored new topics.

In the broader context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted at the end of 2015, NpM actively addressed Green Inclusive Finance. In fact, this was the theme of the annual conference, this year organised together with FMO and Hivos. During conference, NpM offered on behalf of all its members a letter of intent to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stating that all members are committed to including ‘green’ in their (investment) activities. This has been an exceptional statement and follow-up steps have already been made.

The research on ‘Finance for Smallholders‘ that was published in 2015, gained a lot of attention.The research focuses on opportunities for risk management by linking financial institutions and producer organisations and is based on 15 success cases of the NpM members and AgriProFocus in Ethiopia, Mali, Rwanda and Uganda. During expert meetings in three of the African countries, NpM brought together many different stakeholders that play a role in creating access to finance for farmers.

Overall, NpM realised in 2015 an increase in all of its activities: 1) the number of sessions related to knowledge management; 2) taking part in events at which the Dutch inclusive finance sector was represented by NpM; and 3) increased communication activities by publications, articles in the press, website visitors, etcetera.

This annual report sheds light on NpM’s contribution to realise the ambitions of its members in reaching financial inclusion. NpM will continue to assist its members by identifying important topics, facilitating cooperation and sharing knowledge.

In the NpM Annual Report 2015, one can read about all activities in more detail.

Enjoy your read!

Full Report: Finance for Smallholders: Opportunities for risk management by linking financial institutions and producer organisations

Read more

Via one of NpM’s working groups, a research has been carried out titled: “Finance for Smallholders: Opportunities for risk management by linking financial institutions and producer organisations

The NpM Rural Finance working group focuses on improving its members’ activities to increase access to financial services in rural areas.

In this light, the group decided in February 2014 to research which bottlenecks exist to finance smallholders, thereby identifying opportunities for risk management through linking financial institutions and producer organisations, in the countries Ethiopia, Mali, Rwanda and Uganda. The research has been carried out in cooperation with AgriProFocus (APF) and the Wageningen University and Research centre (Wageningen UR), and is funded by the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP).

The NpM Rural Finance working group consists of the following NpM members: Cordaid, FMO, Hivos, ICCO, ICCO Terrafina Microfinance (formerly: Terrafina Microfinance), Rabobank Foundation and Oxfam Novib. ICCO Terrafina Microfinance coordinates the working group. The report has been realised in coordination with other stakeholders who are active in this field on an international level: Agriterra, the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP).

Green Inclusive Finance: Status, Trends and Opportunities!

Read more

At the NpM annual conference organised with FMO and Hivos, Green Inclusive Finance was the topic. NpM asked Enclude to carry out a short research on the current status of the green inclusive finance sector. The inclusive finance sector traditionally focuses on creating social impact in developing countries by enabling access to financial services. Besides social impact, the sector increasingly attaches value to creating environmental impact as well. At this stage, the emphasis is put on assessing how also environment-conscious aspects can become a fixed focus or even determinant in investment decisions.

A more elaborated overview is included in the short research realised by Enclude which addresses the current status, trends and opportunities in the green inclusive finance sector.

2014

A Billion to Gain? Dutch Contributions to and Trends in the Microfinance Sector

Read more

In 2012 NpM and ING presented the ‘A Billion to Gain?’ study on Dutch contributions to and trends in the microfinance sector. NpM took the initiative to update this information and made an analysis of the data resulting from the CGAP Funder Surveys 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The ING Economics Department has, in cooperation with Israel Unger (researcher involved in the last two studies of ‘A Billion to Gain?’), checked and translated the analysis into a full report. The editorial board included members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (IOB), Triple Jump, ING and NpM.

One of the interesting outcomes is that despite diminishing government support and turbulence in international financial markets, the Dutch investments grew from € 2.1 billion in 2010 to € 2.5 billion in 2013. It is expected that this trend will continue and that the Dutch microfinance sector will grow with 9% in 2014 and 10% in 2015.

To read the full report, click below. Please note that the report involves a correction (erratum) made based on some findings. There is also an infographic about this report available.

Client Protection in Microfinance: The Current State of Law and Regulation

Read more

EY, in cooperation with NpM, carried out an exploratory research on client protection. Josien Sluijs, director NpM: “The goal of the research was to identify how the guidelines that have been self-imposed by the sector, are actually facilitated by law and regulation, thereby focusing on overindebtedness, responsible pricing and transparency.”

The research, that includes cases of 12 countries worldwide, has incorporated two types of MFIs: the ones with a banking license and thus deposit taking, and those which are not taking deposit.

In addition, to complete the report, NpM created a ‘Bookmark’ including more general information on law and regulation with regard to client protection. For the ‘Bookmark’ with links to extra sources, click here.

NpM Annual Report 2014

Read more

In October 2012 MicroNed and the Netherlands Platform for Microfinance merged into NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance. 2013 was its first year as the new platform. This year set the stage for an important change: the active shift in focus from microfinance to inclusive finance.

In 2014, NpM has further explored new topics and established new forms of cooperation, both within and beyond the microfinance sector. For example, in cooperation with EY, NpM has via a joint research shed light on the important topic of client protection in microfinance.

Overall, 2014 has been a year of organising large projects, like the ‘A Billion to Gain?’ Conference with ING, during which a research on the social impact of microfinance in India and Ghana has been presented. Besides this kind of projects, NpM also actively participated in international activities taking place in the sector, for example the European Microfinance Week which is organised by the European Platform for Microfinance (e-MFP).

In the NpM Annual Report 2014, one can read about this and all other activities in more detail.

Enjoy your read!

2013

Policy Guidelines for Donor Support to Member-owned Financial Institutions in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa

Read more

The Rural Finance Working Group presents the study: “Policy guidelines for donor support to member-owned financial institutions in rural Sub-Saharan Africa

This study by the Rural Finance Working Group proposes separate policy guidelines for saving groups and financial cooperatives as both require specific expertise. The Rural Finance Working Group was formed under MicroNed and has been led by Terrafina Microfinance.

Paying Taxes to Assist the Poor? Balancing Social and Financial Interests

Read more

The report addresses tax avoidance related to inclusive finance and its relevance in the global discussion. In the report the NpM members have agreed that they “should, in principle, invest in the country where the activities take place. Second, NpM and its members hold that there is no justification for profit shifting or the deliberate structuring of companies – including the use of SPVs – with the sole purpose to avoid taxation. Nevertheless, NpM acknowledges that investors may have sound reasons for investing in developing countries through SPVs set up in jurisdictions that are particularly apt for attracting and transferring capital to microfinance entities in developing countries”.

NpM Annual Report 2013

Read more

In October 2012 MicroNed and the Netherlands Platform for Microfinance merged into NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance. 2013 was its first year as the new platform. An important change has been the active shift in focus: from microfinance to inclusive finance.

Find here the first Annual Report of NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance (2013).

Enjoy your read!

2012

A Billion to Gain? Dutch Contributions to the Microfinance Sector

Read more

Despite the crisis, the market for foreign funding in microfinance is expected to grow at 4 percent in 2012. The total market size of microfinance is estimated to be $80 billion globally. Foreign investors provide a share of $25 billion which makes them important both in terms of money and expertise.

The report provides insight into the unique contribution of Dutch funders in microfinance and came about in a partnership of ING, NpM and professor Lensink from the University of Groningen. Here are some of the main findings;

Impressive market share
The report highlights how the Dutch are unique in the sector. First, the Dutch contribution to the microfinance sector remains large, totalling $2,1 billion, giving them a market share of 8,4 percent. Among investors, the Dutch market share is an even more impressive 25 percent. Second, the members of the NpM are found to focus more on low-income countries compared to other foreign investors. Third, the NpM members invest directly in microfinance institutions more often than other foreign investors, allowing them to have more influence on their investments.

Driving seat
The report identifies five global trends. These are growth in direct lending, an expansion of services, the convergence of the formal and informal banking sector, adaptation of new technologies and an increased need for transparency. With their unique position of working closely with microfinance institutions (MFIs), the Dutch are currently in the driving seat while implementing initiatives to increase transparency and social performance. Considering these trends, the Dutch are now rethinking their future contributions to the sector by looking at opportunities for an increased focus on Africa, equity investments and SME financing.

Reinventing microfinance
Mark Cliffe, Chief Economist at ING, speaking at the event, argued that “the Dutch have a leading role in reinventing microfinance. Their expertise and leadership in transparency and responsibility sets an example for others to follow”. In the last few years microfinance has been hit both by the global financial crisis and criticisms of excessive emphasis on profits. With government budgets under pressure, he argued that “more emphasis will have to be placed on mobilising domestic savings to fulfil the industry’s goal of reaching the many hundreds of millions who remain financially excluded”.

Watch the video on the main findings of the ‘A Billion to Gain?’ report here.

2011

MicroScore Tool

Read more

It has always been a pressing question how to measure success of capacity building programmes. While success can be measured on the output level, there was no suitable measure on effect level. On behalf of MicroNed (which later became NpM), Joost de La Rive Box designed an institutional scan to measure the performance of capcity building programmes. This tool combines four performance ratios: governance, institutional, services & social performance management and financial performance management.

The development of the first version of the MicroScore Tool was financed by Hivos in the context of the evaluation of their Seed Capital programme. The tool was then further developed, finalized, tested and translated in the MicroNed Capacity Building working group in which Cordaid took the lead. After a year of development and intensive pilot testing by MicroNed members as well as Terrafina Microfinance, the tool has now been finalized.

The tool helps MFIs and cooperatives to assess its performance and to reflect on its graduation. Consultants can use MicroScore in their first contact with a MFI as a guideline for baseline assessments and further on as a tool for progress monitoring. Desk officers at microfinance organizations should be able to better assess the proposals they receive from MFIs and consultants.

The MicroScore Tool is not intended to replace ratings. The ultimate aim is to enhance the effectiveness of capacity building programmes.

The MicroScore Tool is presented in three languages: English, Spanish and French, combined in one format, and is now available for download, free of charge.

Download the MicroScore Tool here.

Microfinance Impact Study 2011

Read more

The impacts of microfinance as a tool for achieving widespread poverty reduction are more complex and variable than previously believed. That’s one of the conclusions of the debate ‘Impact of microfinance: Taking stock of evidence’ at the Annual Conference of MicroNed on 28 June 2011. The Conference report has been published.

A wide range of representatives at the conference provided differing perspectives on impact (104 people joined us). Even the relatively simple and neutral objective of the conference to “take stock of evidence” proved difficult – with academics, researchers and practitioners applying different criteria of quality and usefulness.

The impact of microcredit is highly variable and any overall judgement is unclear. The early wave of positive results has been replaced by more rigorous yet more modest evidence of outcomes. Quantifiable studies that have attempted to attribute impact of programmes have provided little evidence that microcredit alone will achieve poverty reduction.

scroll to top