Tag: microfinance

Microfinance has been a nightmare for the Global South. Sri Lanka shows that there is an alternative

Ahilan Kadirgamar and Niyanthini Kadirgamar write how women’s groups and the co-operative movement are leading the way out of the debt trap promoted by microfinance strategies. Ahilan is a member of the Collective for Economic Democratisation. Niyanthini is a PhD Student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and was previously engaged with people affected by […]

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The case for Microfinance: responses to Milford Bateman from Malcolm Harper and Thankom Arun (and your chance to vote)

Yesterday Milford Bateman tried to pop the microfinance bubble. Today Malcolm Harper and Thankom Arun urge us not to throw out the baby with the bathwater (please excuse mixed bubblebath metaphors). After reading this, I urge you to vote in the highly unscientific opinion poll to the right – time to see where the blog-reading public […]

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Has the microfinance bubble really burst? Guest blog by Milford Bateman

Microfinance used to be untouchable – the developmental equivalent of motherhood, apple pie or Mother Teresa. Now it is increasingly coming under fire. Today guest blogger Milford Bateman lays out the case for the prosecution. Responses by Malcolm Harper and Thankom Arun to follow. Or you could just listen to this Guardian podcast with Ha-Joon Chang, […]

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New books on development: bad microfinance; climate change and war; what works; inside the World Bank; mobile activism

One of the perks of writing a blog is that I can scrounge review copies of development-related books. I’m sure they’re all fascinating and I really want to read them but alas, they don’t come with extra hours in the day attached. So I now have a growing pile by my desk that is in […]

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Between microfinance and big bank lending there is…. a Missing Middle

Credit is the lifeblood of farming – you need cash to plant seeds, buy fertiliser and stay alive long long enough to reap and sell your harvest and pay off your loan. But you can’t always get it when you need it. A new Oxfam research paper identifies one of the main market failures resulting […]

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Portfolios of the Poor – a great new book

Portfolios of the Poor gave me the same feeling of excitement as the World Bank’s epic ‘Voices of the Poor’ study. Both of them are the fruit of intense scrutiny of the real lives of poor people that uncovers insights and destroys stereotypes. Poor people are most definitely not financial illiterates, but often sophisticated managers […]

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The great Microfinance debate: Comments on the Comments, some loose ends and some new info

Back from Bangladesh and still processing both the real life and blog discussions on microfinance institutions (MFIs), following last week’s post and the good debate in the comments. A few final (probably…) observations: Microcredit v Microfinance: point taken. A lot of the doubts and criticisms apply to microcredit (loans), not to the wider range of […]

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Microfinance again – the views of some Bangladeshi farmers

I spent some time yesterday with a group of 20 Bangladeshi small farmers (13 men, 7 women) linked to a sustainable agriculture NGO, Unnayan Dhara (sorry, they don’t yet have a website). Among other things (climate change, access to markets etc) I asked them about microfinance, given my post on Wednesday and the subsequent discussion […]

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The backlash against microfinance

The intellectual battlefield of development is littered with magic bullets. New ideas or technologies such as the internet or mobile phones are picked up, promoted as panaceas that will end poverty and transform societies, and then rapidly cut down to size by scrutiny and research. That process seems to be well under way on microfinance. […]

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Poverty scorecards – a cheap way to identify who's poor?

Finding out which people in any given community live below the poverty line is actually quite hard. Why do it? To target services like microfinance  (let’s not get into the targetting v universal provision argument here); comparing poverty rates in different regions and countries, and tracking changes over time. But both income and consumption poverty […]

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