The World Bank has raised some 52 billion dollars, a record amount, for its fund for development in the world’s poorest countries, though some are expressing concerns over the terms under which some of this money is being offered by donor governments.
Microfinance is essentially social, but its expansion and evolution towards diversified financial services for those who are excluded from the conventional system has compelled it to develop new codes and practices to reinforce the message that its goal is people - particularly the poor.
Jassiben, a self-employed potter from Nana Shahpur village in western India, loves summer despite the heat waves and frequent power cuts, because summer days always mean great business.
The culture of entrepreneurship is weak among women in Mexico, despite the positive influence that it has on women’s development, in a world where women continue to face greater obstacles than men when it comes to setting up and running a business.
"We were used to losing, so a group of us said to ourselves: let's lose something here," said Carmen Caravallo, describing the start of a "bankomunal", a self-managed microfinance fund based on investment, in her rural community in eastern Venezuela.
After decades of grinding poverty under successive military dictatorships, Myanmar’s rice farmers have a chance at a better future through rural reforms ushered in by the country’s quasi-civilian government. Microfinance is at the root of it.
Laboni Vhoumik’s lingerie manufacturing unit in the Gopai village of Noakhali district, about 180 km outside the capital, is a forceful argument in favour of the Grameen Bank microcredit model that fosters female entrepreneurship and also relies on it.
For several decades, microcredit presented itself as a magical and benign financial tool for the poorest people in the world, who were otherwise completely excluded from conventional commercial banking services, to secure easy access to loans in order to set up their own businesses and live a dignified life.