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Kiva.org Meets Facebook in China?

Casey Wilson is the Co-founder and CEO of Wokai, the first person-to-person microfinance platform for China. Wokai means “I start” in Mandarin. What’s happening in China? China has the second largest potential microcredit demand in the world, next to India. Yet the total loan portfolio of China’s non-government microfinance sector is only $200 million, in contrast to India, whose microfinance sector is projected to reach $3 billion by the beginning of 2010.
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So How Exactly Do We Regulate Microfinance?

When it comes to prudential regulation – or safeguarding deposits – the stakes are particularly high. In microfinance, most MFIs aren’t big enough to threaten the health of the financial systems they’re part of if they run into trouble.
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Virtual Conference Recap

CGAP and Grameen Foundation would like to thank you for participating in this week’s virtual conference. There have been a lot of valuable contributions and new ideas which I hope we’ll all continue to explore at our respective organizations. While the official conference period has ended, comments will remain open and we invite you to continue sharing your thoughts on these topics.
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Virtual Conference Day 2: Getting Past the Same Old Conversation

As concerns grow in the microfinance community about delinquency crises, responsible finance, client over indebtedness, and social performance management, it becomes increasingly important for MFIs to have solid systems in place to manage their business and understand clients.
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Virtual Conference Day 1: Capacity Building

During our recent workshop series, a consistent theme across all regions was the notion that adoption and usage of back end systems could be done more successfully and for less money if (a) MFIs had better internal skills to work with technology and (b) if vendors gained a more intimate knowledge of MFI operations and requirements. Would capacity building at MFIs and vendors help alleviate technology headaches at MFIs?
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Ethiopia Graduation Pilot Underway

The 500 participants in this graduation pilot have been selected in 10 communities that are particularly poor, ecologically diverse (both dry and dry-wet zones) and relatively accessible for REST staff.
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Virtual Conference: Getting Past the Technology Hurdles at MFIs

Over the past several months, CGAP and Grameen Foundation, with support from the MasterCard Foundation and the EU/ACP Microfinance Programme, hosted a series of four workshops to discuss the back office challenges at MFIs. Workshops took place in Washington, DC, Kenya, India, and Peru in an attempt to understand the issues at both a global and regional level.
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Truth in Advertising

How far do microfinance funds expect their investments to go in changing lives? Are microfinance funds looking for specific changes in the lives of poor people or increased access to finance in a responsible way? And can we tell from the information they provide?
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CGAP and Grameen Announce Virtual Conference, July 7-8

Getting past the technology hurdles at MFIs: Why do MFIs struggle with technology and what can MFIs, donors, investors, software vendors and others do to improve the situation? Join us for a virtual conference to discuss these issues (7-8 July 2010).
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FATF Puts Financial Inclusion on its Agenda

In early June, Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the G20 called on international standard- setting bodies to consider how they can further contribute to encouraging financial inclusion, consistent with their respective mandates. One key standard-setter is well on its way to heeding the G20’s call.
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Interview with Greg Reeve from Vodafone

Greg Reeve is the Head of Mobile Payment Solutions at Vodafone.
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G20 Endorses Nine Principles for Innovative Financial Inclusion

The G20 Leadership Summit in Toronto this past weekend highlighted the importance of the work being done by the G20’s Financial Inclusion Experts Group (FIEG).
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Microfinance Policy Forum for the Arab World

The Forum is a unique opportunity for officials from central banks and government ministries from across the Arab world to exchange experiences and knowledge with peers.
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Letter to the Editor

A CGAP paper clearly acknowledges that randomized studies by Prof. Duflo and others have raised fundamental questions about the claim that microcredit raises incomes and consumption, lifting poor people out of poverty.
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What's the Impact of Loan Size in Microfinance?

People tend to see loan size as a rough proxy of client poverty, which appears to be more or less true as long as you say the word “rough” very emphatically.
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Haiti’s Graduation Pilot Final Evaluation,Promising Results

At the pilot stage, the program has demonstrated significant positive impact upon the lives of its members with 97% per cent of the 150 women that participated “graduating” out of the program.
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Dakar Dispatch: Mobile Money and Financial Inclusion

The regulatory questions around branchless banking are often not black and white, but usually gray. What is quite clear, however, is that the private sector is raring to go in many Francophone African markets, and policymakers need to be informed now more than ever on the appropriate ways to respond.
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West Africa Switches on Mobile Money: Headlines for June 22, 2010

We’ve been saying for awhile that mobile money will be less compelling in places where good alternatives to cash already exist, for example, in developed markets such as North America. Despite that, the folks who look after how payments get cleared has opened a door for mobile.
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India, Microfinance, and Technology

Back office management is a source of such stress for many MFIs that it’s exciting to see MFIs trying new and innovative ways of addressing these issues. Sahayata’s back office strategy includes not only technology, but also people and processes.
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The Other Side of the Interest Rate Argument

High interest rates is not a universal problem. In fact, China is facing the opposite issue: interest rates charged by MFIs are too low.