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New blogger: Suzanne Smith

She's been behind the scenes since this blog started, and now Suzanne Smith will be posting regularly to PSD Blog. Suzanne manages the Rapid Response Unit, also known as our sponsor at the World Bank Group.

A New Zealander, Suzanne will bring her considerable writing chops to bear on a wide range of financial and private sector development topics. Welcome Suzanne!

Microfinance: bigger than Borat?

Central Asia has it all: endless steppe, 7000-meter peaks, warm and hospitable people - and an exciting and very dynamic microfinance industry. Around the world, microfinance has been growing even faster than the Chinese economy, with a compound average annual growth rate of 13%. While that may be no mean achievement, try to imagine the growth of microfinance institutions in Central Asia: it's a whopping 43% per annum! Not bad for a region that – perhaps with the exception of Kazakhstan – is not yet known for robust economic development.

New blogger: Martin Holtmann

The best development bloggers tend to be those who are out and about doing exciting things. Unfortunately, that usually leaves them little time to write. Such is the case with Martin Holtmann, CGAP's Lead Financial Specialist and PSD Blog's newest contributor. Martin is about to get even busier - he'll be comanaging the $24 million Gates Foundation grant to CGAP I wrote about 2 weeks ago.

The ultimate emerging market

Michael Jarvis's picture

The boundaries between the real and virtual worlds are fast blurring. Nowhere is this more evident than in the rapid corporate colonization of Second Life. No self-respecting CEO went to Davos without an “avatar” or online alter-ego, a sure sign that Second Life has entered the mainstream. The likes of Reuters, Nissan and Addidas are buying up virtual real-estate and setting up store fronts.

Islamic finance blog

Thanks to the magic of our blog statistics, I just noticed a fantastic blog on Islamic finance. It doesn't quite fit on our blogroll (not really PSD), but I wanted to share anyway.

Invest Halal is written by Blake Gould, Executive Director of the Institute of Halal Investing, a non-profit think-tank "devoted to the demystification of Islamic banking, finance & investing." The Institute is launching a newsletter this month - I'm sure it will be a great read.

Consumer credit coming to Nigeria?

Came across this encouraging article from Nigeria's Vanguard newspaper. Using credit cards to buy goods is still uncommon in Nigeria, but the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) seems to be making progress.

It is envisaged that the consumer credit system would commence with the development of registration procedures, registration and licensing of consumer credit operators and be completed before the end of this administration's tenure in May.