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Latest on access to finance

The latest AccessFinance newsletter is out, highlighting a new WB-DFID measurement initiative, the latest research on remittances and an 'unorthodox' project in Albania and Moldova. It also includes links to the most recent research and newsletters, as well as upcoming events.

Also see the latest from the IMF on banking reforms to increase credit access in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa Diaspora Investment Week

A few weeks ago the 2005 Africa Diaspora Investment Week came to a successful conclusion. The conference brochure and presentations are now available online. Presentations discuss SME development, the role of media and information technologies, the potential of tourism and the importance of financial markets and remittance corridors.

No school fees, but what about efficiency?

The President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, has taken the brave step of dropping fees for primary school, thereby making access to primary education easier for many children in the country. But what about the education sector's ability to cope with a sudden increase in demand for education? Are there enough teachers? Is there enough money? And, as the student to teacher ratio will inevitably increase, what happens to the quality of education these children will receive?

The future of money transfers

Kenyan blogger Bankelele writes about the cash remittance business in Kenya:

Past: Surprisingly, Western Union and Moneygram, which have been recording growing volumes and signing up new banks (like KCB) every month, already represent the past in money remittance. The reason for this is the cost of the transfer... about 15% of amount transferred...

The wisdom of Google

Saw the New Yorker's James Surowiecki yesterday, speaking about his book, The Wisdom of Crowds. He praised the effectiveness of 'prediction markets'. For example, Hewlett Packard (internally) sold assets that paid off depending on how big next quarter's printer sales turned out to be.