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.

Microfinance places hope in big data, but other things are also needed

By Fermín Vivanco

What a micro lender does after giving a loan matters too

Microfinance was created in part because banks were not meeting the needs of the large segments of the population. One of the barriers to reaching those segments was the fact that formal credit records for those clients were nonexistent, leading microfinance institutions to consider other information instead. And for decades, the microcredit industry has considered two main factors when doing credit analysis: ability and willingness to pay.  

Boot camps to kick-start public-private partnerships in the Caribbean

By David Bloomgarden

The concept of public-private partnerships is in vogue in the Caribbean. Some governments mistakenly believe that PPPs allow the private sector to build and maintain infrastructure like roads, and provide public services like wastewater treatment, with little cost to the public sector. This is not the case. However, in certain PPP projects, private-sector efficiencies can allow governments to deliver much-needed and improved infrastructure and services with greater value to society.

Men vs. women: Why pitching your startup is like dating

By Guest

By Rania Anderson, president & founder of The Way Women Work 

Last week, I sat with four other judges in Miami, listening to the finalists at the WeXchange Latin American women’s entrepreneur pitch competition. The businesses and entrepreneurs were strong evidence of the rise of female entrepreneurs in Latin America.

$180 million on the line: Bank de-risking reaches the Caribbean

By Rebecca Rouse

There has been much conversation in recent months about the effective shut down of remittance services to Somalia from key sending markets such as the United Kingdom, United States and Australia. Somalia receives more than $1.3 billion in remittances a year, representing at least a quarter its GDP and far outweighing international aid. However, fears surrounding money laundering and terrorism financing have led banks to determine that holding remittance service provider accounts is simply too much of a risk, leading bank partners to drop their accounts until there were simply none left. Humanitarian workers fear that these moves will destroy the vital lifelines that keep many Somali families afloat. If remittances hold equal importance in some Latin American economies, should stakeholders fear that this trend could spread to our region?

Greening corporate value chains lowers environmental impact and lifts competitiveness

By Michael Hofmann

Adidas, one of the world’s top two sportswear manufacturers, recently ended its business relationship with 13 of its Asian suppliers as a result of their severe or repeated noncompliance with labor, health, and safety workplace standards at their factories. This is one example of large multinational corporations working harder to demonstrate to their ever-more-demanding stakeholders that they operate sustainably. As a result, companies’ sustainability strategies are increasingly directly relevant to their operations—and are resulting in positive financial returns. An analysis of S&P 500 companies confirmed that businesses that have built sustainability into their core strategies achieve financial profitability that is significantly higher than that of their laggard peers—by between 18% and 67%.