IFC chief executive Lars Thunell is in Delhi this week, attending the World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit. Thunell is looking to boost the IFC's capital base by $2.4bn, much of which will be dedicated to the world's poorest countries and regions, including India.
Middle East and North Africa
David Roodman, a fellow at the Center for Global Development, set off a storm with a post on the popular microfinance organization Kiva. Many lenders on the sight probably had the impression this was a peer-to-peer lending sight, but David reveals this is not quite so. Kiva connects lenders to microfinance institutions, not individual microentrepreneurs.
Editor's Note: Kusi Hornberger is an Investment Policy & Promotion Specialist with the Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group.
Might access to credit have anything to do with support for employment protection legislation (EPL)? Felipe Balmaceda and Ronald Fischer propose a connection. Workers in firms with easy access to credit EPL. Workers in firms with shaky access to credit oppose EPL.
Internet usage has been increasing at a rapid rate over the last decade or so. For example, according to World Development Indicators (WDI, World Bank), internet subscribers equaled 13% of the total population in low and middle income countries in 2007. This is up from a mere 1.5% in 2000, implying on average an increase of over 109% per annum in the proportion of internet subscribers.
Yesterday Dave Snowden published on his blog what is currently just an intriguing snippet - the idea of a Grameen group for learning (look forward to him expanding on the concept):
The basic idea is that you get your bursary as a progressive series of payments only if you form a learning group with other people in your community and you all take responsibility for each other group members completion of whatever education programme you take.
Microfinance received a nice fillip recently when Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama. While Yunus's rockstar status has helped put the access to finance agenda center stage, I wonder if it might obscure some of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Perhaps the phrase "credit bureaus" may not cause your heart to race, but in some countries this is really where the action is at.
Last year Bill Easterly came out with some harsh criticism of the development community after the release of the Growth Commission report. The crux of Easterly's complaint: "this report represents the final collapse of the “development expert” paradigm that has governed the west’s approach to poor countries since the second world war." But the problem of the expert is not one that is limited to development institutions—it is a problem faced by all large organizations.