This is a guest post from my colleague Liliana Rojas-Suarez based on her presentation at last week's public discussion of the global implications of the microcredit crisis in India.
CGD Policy Blogs
CGD plans to webcast tomorrow's panel discussion of the microcredit crisis in Andhra Pradesh featuring me, Stephen Rasmussen, Elisabeth Rhyne, Swaminathan Aiyar, and Liliana Rojas-Suarez. The process will involve bits of technology that are new for us, so it will be slightly experimental. Take it as "beta." At any rate, I'll post a link to the permanent video record once I have it.
I am really looking forward to this event because of the fantastic depth of expertise we recruited for the panel.
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?
G-20 leaders gathering in Seoul this week face a full plate of issues, most prominently the effort to stave off beggar-thy-neighbors currency devaluations. This week on the Global Prosperity Wonkcast, we've distilled highlights from a private briefing I organized where five CGD experts shared their views on key issues facing the G-20, and their implications for poor people not represented at the table.
Last weekend’s communiqué from the G-20 finance ministers is a first step to bridge the divide in the ongoing currency wars. I find both hope and disappointment in the Communiqué. It is very positive that the G-20 ministers have called for the IMF to help identify countries with policies leading to large and unsustainable imbalances. This is a step in the right direction, although no specific quantitative indicators have yet been advanced.
Reports of progress last weekend notwithstanding, the so-called currency wars—the reality and threat of competitive devaluations—are likely to continue to dominate the news about the upcoming Seoul G-20 Summit.
This post is joint with Enrique Rueda-Sabater
Moving from the clearly obsolete G-7 to a broader group that reflects the reality of today’s world makes eminent sense. Doing it on the basis of a grouping improvised during the crisis-before-last (and making sure that it included the then-favorite finance ministers of the U.S. and Canadian sponsors) is squandering the opportunity to move up to a credible, transparent, global governance platform.
I heartily applaud the release of the G-20 Principles for Innovative Financial Inclusion (click and scroll down to see them). At a time of increased focus on financial sector regulation to reduce risk, it is crucial that we not lose sight of the fact that increasing access to appropriate financial services remains essential to reducing poverty and achieving sustained growth.
The G-8 and G-20 summits held in Canada last week yielded few headlines on development issues, but there was plenty of rhetoric about global interdependence and poverty reduction and a handful of promising, if mostly modest, development initiatives just below the media’s radar.
As expected, the G-20 declaration focused on when and how to unwind stimulus programs that helped to avert a global economic collapse, and on strengthening regulation of the financial sector to avoid a repeat of the 2008–09 financial crisis.