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winning idea for microfinance development

Posted by Sandeep Puri on March 11, 2010

Quoting Center for global development

The proliferation of saving, lending, and insurance ideas at the conference left no doubt that this sector is rapidly maturing. It is no coincidence that three out of five winners came from this field. (Having evolved in our thinking from microlending to microfinance, how long before we start extending the concept to microservices other than finance?) I did not see a revolutionary new concept, but there were many small, smart innovations on display.

Winning teams: IFPRI’s team led a field of initiatives influenced by behavioral economics with a rainfall insurance program for Ethiopia. It has been carefully whittled down to the simplest possible structure, and adapted to the local context. The scheme offers insurance tickets in $1 increments, color-coded for growing seasons, and with payout-rules customized to local definitions of big and small rains. The increase in flexibility over standardized parametric insurance seems considerable. Researchers will be excited to hear that the team would like the insurance tickets to be ultimately available to non-farmers – recognizing that drought also affects other businesses.

Another prize was taken by the Grameen Foundation for a ready-to-use business process for MFIs. A third went to a French team that has written code to allow online shoppers to round up every payment they make, and invest the difference in a Kiva-like micro-lending project.

Full article at cgdev.org blog.
Microfinance seemed to have so much promise for nations in the developing world. Nepal, however, seems stagnant, or unwilling to move in that direction. Even kiva.org has zero players in Nepal.

Thoughts?

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