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There is one enormous difference that makes a positive outcome in Hyderabad much less likely than it was in La Paz. In the Bolivian crisis, the protesters came from outside the government, and the government worked closely with the industry to reach a resolution. In Hyderabad, the opposition to microfinance comes from inside the government, specifically, the government of the state of Andhra Pradesh, making it much harder for the regulatory authorities (the Reserve Bank of India) to negotiate a relatively apolitical solution. In the past, the Reserve Bank of India has, like the banking authorities in Bolivia, recognized the importance of microfinance institutions in bringing financial services to low income people. But its voice is not the only powerful determinant of the way forward.
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.
Recently CGD hosted the Second Annual Birdsall House Conference on Women, which focused on beyond-aid approaches for women’s economic empowerment, with particular emphasis on private sector engagement. CGD experts have written about how international organizations and national agencies should examine and correct gender biases in the design and delivery of their strategies for financial inclusion. But while public sector interventions are crucial for promoting women’s economic empowerment, the panelists pointed out that the private sector is in many ways better equipped to provide opportunities for women to grow their businesses, investments, and incomes. Here’s our takeaway.
On Monday, Grant Shapps, the UK's Minister of State at the Department for International Development, kicked off DFID’s Energy Africa campaign at an event hosted by the Shell Foundation designed to help his team figure out how the UK government can invest its political clout and an initial £30 million ($46 million) to tackle rural energy poverty in Africa. Given solar’s limitations and these risks, how can we make sure that Energy Africa fulfils Minister Shapps’s ambitious brief?