The Kenyan mobile phone--based system, M-PESA, is a financial service for the poor: it is a remarkable new way to transfer money.
CGD Policy Blogs
I spoke last month at the annual Inter-American Forum on Microfinance (Foromic), which is sponsored by an arm of the Inter-American Development Bank called the Multilateral Investment Fund. (The MIF invests in the private sector while its parent lends to governments.) The conference took place outside San José, Costa Rica, in a resort off the highway to the airport.
CGD just posted the latest edition of the Commitment to Development Index, which ranks wealthy nations on how much their policies are helping poorer nations. I'm especially proud of the presentation this year. Julia Clark and I channeled our inner famous-formerly-fruitarian-recently-departed-CEO in refining it. See our post at Views from the Center.
After the crisis broke in Andhra Pradesh, many observers regretted that India's microfinance industry was legally confined to making loans. Many poor people would rather save than borrow because, when done right, savings is safer. In the Huffington Post, Elisabeth Rhyne went further. The inability to take savings not only deprived poor people of a valuable option; it contributed to the crisis on the credit side:
Microfinance Opportunities has released what must be the first financial diary--based study of mobile money users, specifically M-PESA clients in Kenya. From the abstract: