Is Green Microfinance back?

Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), thanks to their large distribution networks, their long-term engagement with the poor, and their efficiency have been seen as a significant part of the solution to stimulate behavioral changes and help finance models and devices that are more environmental friendly, on a large scale, at the bottom of the pyramid. In fact, low income segments of population through the transition to “green” practices and devices can also contribute effectively to the protection of …

Does guarantying SME loans work?

How to make banks lend to SMEs? This is a reiterating question for anyone working on private sector development in emerging markets. From the Harvard’s Entrepreneurship Finance Lab to the World Bank, it seems to be a consensus that supporting SMEs  helps create more jobs and stimulate innovation, in economies starving for growth and social rest. On the other hands, their small size, their risk profile and, often, the absence of appropriate documentation, make SMEs …

Great governments need a crisis to emerge

“How do governments get great?” an insightful article by the Center for International Development (Harvard University). You can download it here. It briefly looks at what make governments achieve great and sustainable results. A crucial public policy question,especially when I look at the current mess in my home country. The article lays out 4 dimensions to the question: What kinds of interventions or changes help governments achieve greatness? Who leads these interventions or changes, and how? When do the …

What is BoP anyway?

BoP stands for Bottom of the Pyramid, and is very often used in combination with “Business”. We talk about “Business at the Bottom of the Pyramid”, i.e how to reach the low-income/poor people by adapting product features, business models and distribution channels. It became quite trendy with the release of the book ” Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid”  that shows how this segment has vast untapped buying power, and represents an enormous potential for …

How is the financial inclusion going in the Maghreb?

I might be missing lot of reports and articles, and I am not really aware of the financial inclusion development in North Africa. Maybe nothing big is  happening after all? Morocco has been subject to over-indebtedness and big repayment issues with micro-finance spinning out of control in 2007 – 2008, so investors are very cautious if not looking away.  It stays however one of the champions of the Arab World (with Jordan) Tunisia? ENDA is …

Is financial inclusion facilitating tax evasion?

Although my discussions with small entrepreneurs in rural areas in India clearly showed to me that financing alternatives are really scarce, and that we do have impact by supporting financial intermediaries that focus on SMEs, a recent exchange with a Microfinance Fund Manager highlighted a relevant attention point to some adverse effects. “We might in fact be encouraging tax evasion” he claimed. “How so?” I asked. “Some people are unbanked by choice to avoid taxes, and …

Is crowdinvesting deceiving the masses?

The concept is good. Leveraging the power of internet to raise funds, collect people’s ideas and gather comments and feedback from around the world, how amazing it is! The concept is so appealing, hundreds of crowd-funding sites have been set up, each focusing on a specific sector or country. I believe it is particularly powerful when the project owner itself upload his idea and look up for direct support and donations from thousands of people. …