the mif blog

Stories of inspiring entrepreneurs and organizations, discussion and commentary of new trends in private sector development, and the latest events and publications.

The impressive impact of village banking in Paraguay

By Lorena Rios

The lower-middle-income country of Paraguay happens to be one of the most profitable markets in the world for banks, according to a study by McKinsey & Company. But 71% of Paraguayans have no bank account, and 42% do not use formal financial products. Of the country’s 16 banks and 12 financial institutions that are regulated by the Superintendent of Banks, only one—plus one nonprofit organization—are directly working on rural microfinance programs for poor areas of the country.  And they are producing some impressive results with a microcredit approach called village banking.

COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco

By Steve Wilson

The UNFCCC’s COP22 will take place in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November 2016, the focus of which is to bring action to last year’s historic Paris Agreement and have countries ratify their agreements by identifying INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) and NAPs (National Adaptation Plans).  While this official process will be discussed inside the official UN Blue Zone, numerous simultaneous side events are taking place outside, organized by UN agencies, multilateral development organizations, civil society and ONGs, research institutions, think-tanks, and other stakeholders, offering discussions on topics that range from energy efficiency and green infrastructure, building bridges between market-based approaches and climate financing institutions, de-carbonizing transport, Water-Energy-Food (WEF) frameworks, among many others.  See more at

Promising a climate-smart future, the end of hunger, and the start of sustainable development

By Lorena Mejicanos Rios

During our last field visit to Guatemala’s Dry Corridor region, we climbed mountains in a four-wheel drive through a dry, dusty and rocky road. After an hour we arrived at the Pitahaya Community in Aldea Nearar at Camotán, Chiquimula (eastern Guatemala). We found ourselves walking in the middle of a beautiful, young, green forest, with a big group of motivated and empowered group of Chorti indigenous peoples, mostly women. We breathed positivity and empowerment in a land that is known for hunger and extreme poverty. What a moment of a lifetime!

Increasing access to credit without increasing the risk of the portfolio

By Irani Arraiz

In September 2011, FOMIN presented a project to the donors committee that aimed to test a novel approach to evaluate the credit worthiness of micro and small entrepreneurs.  It was a tool developed by the Entrepreneurial Finance Lab, a for-profit organization created in 2010 after developing a low-cost credit screening prototype at the Harvard Center for International Development.

Crowdfunding Mexico, bringing financial equality to all

By César Buenadicha

By: Cesar Buenadicha and Stephanie Canfield

Almost two years ago, Crowdfunding Mexico was created with one idea in mind: eliminating the financing gap affecting young entrepreneurs, women, and the general population who face challenges in accessing traditional financial institutions in the country. To solve this problem they thought of using “crowdfunding,”a relatively new funding mechanism that has shown great results in countries such as Great Britain and the United States.