Monday, 18 May 2009

"Global crisis not affecting microfinance"

Its quite astonishing to still see articles about the lacking impact of the financial meltdown on microfinance. I caught the latest one in my blog reader today.

Quite in contrast, there are clear and tangible indications that it is affecting the industry. We dont need and indepth of grassroot impact to show that it does. In the latest expample, CDC is, after government request, diverting Pounds 300mn of its Pounds 650mn investment budget for this year to the IFC-led Global Trade Liquidty Programme, which is targeted at trade facilitation worldwide (not just north-south). The result for CDC is a cut in the amount of money that can be spent on straight emerging market equity, including microfinance. Since 2004 CDC has committed US$84m to microfinance (Annual Report 2008).

Less money, obviously, means less investment in the future. If this is replicated accross development finance institutions (as I know it is) and private investors (who are de-risking portfolio) then we can expect to see much lower growth figures going forward.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

CDC & its critics

While in the UK I read a Sunday Times article about the CDC inquiry at the Public Accounts Committee. It surprised me slightly because i always thought of CDC as a world-leading DFI. Now the combined effect of the economic crisis that has already triggered a witch-hunt of top managers, and some mistakes at CDC, Actis & co., has made them the subject of aggressive accusations, even slander. The good thing about this media hype is that CDC and its fund managers will be made to act. The bad thing is that many of these critics have a much greater goal: to bring the entire field of business-driven poverty alleviation into disrepute. 

The whole business was still a little murky to me, so i set about crystallizing accusations and the truth behind them. Ended up longer than I wanted so I cant really post it here, but if you're interested you could read the draft version.

Monday, 11 May 2009


Apologies for the renewed prolonged silence. New material is coming, and  I have attached the final version of the franchising article to get going. It was never published, as intended, in the new Beyond Profit magazine to be published by the Microfinance Insights folks at Intellecap, due to a disagreement about length. If you want to find out what was, check out their website. They are offering 1-year free subscriptions to get things going.