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Middle East and North Africa


Ryan Hahn's picture

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.

A little reality check on business and the internet in developing countries

Mohammad Amin's picture

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.

A Grameen group for education (and the end of knowledge management for development)?

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.

Presidential medals and credit bureaus

Ryan Hahn's picture

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.

The problem of the "development expert"

Ryan Hahn's picture

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.