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Lawrence MacDonald was vice president for communications and policy outreach at the Center for Global Development. A development policy communications specialist and former foreign correspondent, he worked to increase the influence and impact of CGD's research and analysis by leading an integrated communications program that includes events, publications, media relations, online engagement, and government and NGO outreach. He also hosted a weekly podcast, CGD’s Global Prosperity Wonkcast, and serves frequently as chair for public events at CGD and elsewhere.
Before joining the Center in October 2004, MacDonald was a senior communications officer at the World Bank where he provided strategic communications advice to chief economists, coordinated the preparation of research publications, created the World Bank Research web site, and was founding editor of the Bank's Policy Research Report series. Before that he worked for 15 years in East and Southeast Asia as a reporter and editor for The Asian Wall Street Journal, Agence France Presse and Asiaweek Magazine, during which time he lived in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul, and Manila. His Mandarin is less fluent than it used to be but still serviceable.
Whether future historians remember last week’s G-20 Summit in Cannes will depend on what happens in the weeks and months ahead. If the eurozone problems spiral out of control, Cannes will be to the coming crash as the 1933 London Economic Conference was to the Great Depression: a lost chance to avert calamity. If Europe muddles through, the brief association of Cannes with the G-20 will be soon forgotten and the resort will again be famous for its film festival.
An event this Thursday for those of you in Washington, DC....
Update: A video record of the event is here.
The Center for Global Development presents
The Global Implications of India’s Microcredit Crisis
Thursday, December 9, 2010
2:00 – 3:30 P.M.
The largest crisis in the history of microfinance is now unfolding in India. After five years of growth so fast it has been described as “indescribable,” and after a lucrative initial public offering (IPO) by the leading firm, the government of the state of Andhra Pradesh has cracked down. Amid reports of microcredit-linked suicides, the state has urged borrowers to stop repaying, and millions have heeded the call. Bankruptcies of some of the world’s largest microcreditors are now a realistic possibility.
What is the reality of microcredit in India? Is the backlash an engineered campaign to protect a government-run (and World Bank–financed) program from private-sector competition? Or has the fast growth in credit ensnared the poor in debt? Some of each?
And what lessons does the crisis hold for actors worldwide, including microfinance institutions and investors ranging from the World Bank to Kiva users? When is microcredit—and investment in it—too much of a good thing?