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Tag: Microfinance

Competition, Saturation, Interest Rates, and Microfinance

Competition, Saturation, Interest Rates, and Microfinance

CGAP, the World Bank’s microfinance arm, turns 15 this year, having been formed ten years prior to Muhammad Yunus winning the Nobel Peace Prize.  In commemoration, Alexis LaTortue, the CEO of CGAP, wrote a summary of the state of the industry and the key transformations that have occurred over the last decade and a half.  There is a lot of to unpack for a 500-word article, but I want address one point in particular that I found interesting: More institutions…

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The Movers vs. The Shakers: The Microfinance Debate

The Movers vs. The Shakers: The Microfinance Debate

In the noisy echo chamber of the development community, there are a lot of arguments for (emphatically) and for (tentatively) microfinance as a tool of poverty.  The debate surrounds a series of experimental studies questioning the impact of microfinance in achieving its stated goals – specifically, empowerment of women and poverty alleviation.  The participants are the critics and the practitioners.  The practitioners tend to dismiss the critics as having blind faith in statistics and either ignoring or being ignorant to…

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The Right Conditions for Microfinance

The Right Conditions for Microfinance

Across the world, there are a lot of poor people.  In the developing world, 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 USD per day.  While this catch-all gives an idea of who is struggling to get by, the impoverished are stratified in terms of desperation.  Some live in extreme poverty, racked by hunger and disease with little hope of “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.”  Combating this type of poverty requires humanitarian and development aid.  But those higher on…

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Microfinance and Job Creation

Microfinance and Job Creation

“So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade — we have got to see trade as opportunity, not as, uh, competitive, um, scary thing, but one in five jobs created in the trade sector today. We’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All of those things under the umbrella of job creation.” – Sarah Palin The international economic development community is constantly…

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Microenterprise to SME: A Thought Exercise Pt. II

Microenterprise to SME: A Thought Exercise Pt. II

This is the third post of a three–part series on small- and medium enterprises.  It is the second of a two-part post. The other day I discussed six actions or programs a microfinance institution (MFI) can take to help clients convert their business from a micro-enterprise to a small- to medium enterprise (SME).  Today, I will cover the final six.

Microenterprise to SME: A Thought Exercise pt. I

Microenterprise to SME: A Thought Exercise pt. I

This is the third post of a three–part series on small- and medium enterprises.  It is a two-part post. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z66wVo7uNw] A month ago, I attended a conference in Manila sponsored by the Microfinance Council of the Philippine Islands.  I wrote briefly about the level of cooperation among the participants, but have yet to share what I learned.  The conference – titled “Operationalizing Social Performance Monitoring (SPM)” – brought together a dozen microfinance institutions (MFIs) and lenders from across the country…

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The Tradeoffs of Serving the Poorest

The Tradeoffs of Serving the Poorest

This past weekend I went with four coworkers and a lecturer at Ateneo University Business School to a province called Aklan.  I woke up at 5:00 AM Friday morning in order to catch the ferry to Iloilo at 8:00.  We drove five and a half hours north to Kalibo, where we stayed in Sampiguita Resort, “where it’s Christmas everyday.”  It is the vision of Sam Butcher, the American founder and creative genius behind the Precious Moments dolls – a collectible…

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What I Do: Borrower Interviews

What I Do: Borrower Interviews

As a Kiva Fellow, I go to the field to interview borrowers about the status of their loan and talk about the business, the family, and their dreams for the future.  Usually I do a short write-up to update the Kiva lenders, but sometimes I go overboard and write an essay.  This is not representative of most journal entries, but I found her to be such an interesting client that I wanted to share it.  I titled this journal update…

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Green Products and the Triple Bottom Line

Green Products and the Triple Bottom Line

The core philosophy of microfinance is the double bottom line.  It refers to the goals of the organization, which are a) to be profitable, and b) to be socially impactful.  But there is another philosophy known as the triple bottom line, which adds ecological impact.  Sometimes referred to as “people, planet, profit,” TBL promotes an environmentally-friendly approach to development.  To that end, there are a host of products that serve each of the three goals.  In this post, I will…

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Branch Rollout in Cebu

Branch Rollout in Cebu

This weekend I went to Cebu, an island east of Negros, for the Kiva rollout in the NWTF branches.  I traveled as part of a five-person team, including Massah, the photography consultant, Raymond, the research manager, Jubert, the IT manager, and Presy, the Kiva coordinator.  Pocholo, a friend of Raymond’s, needed a lift to Cebu and caught a ride with us.  The six of us loaded the infamous red van and left at 7 AM on Thursday morning.  The road…

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