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Update, April 14: Today's front-page NYT print-edition headline reads, "Many Borrowers of Microloans Now Find the Price is Too High." Gone is the reference to bank profits. Whether the correlation of that change with the appearance of this post indicates causation, I have no idea. (Hat tip to the Financial Access Initiative.)
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.
Muhammad Yunus has been forced by a Bangladesh court to step down as the head of the Grameen Bank, leaving the world to wonder what will become of the institution that helped inspire the microfinance revolution. On this week’s Wonkcast, we consider the rise and uncertain future of microcredit, not so long ago the darling of development experts and activists alike, and discuss whether or not the arc of Yunus’s remarkable life serves as an apt metaphor for the microfinance movement.
My guest is CGD senior fellow David Roodman, who has been tracking the Yunus trial since it began as part of his Microfinance Open Book Blog. The book in public on the blog, Due Diligence: An Impertinent Inquiry into Microfinance, is nearing completion and will be published before the end of the year.