The challenge of international development requires a medley of ideas. At the Multilateral Investment Fund, we work in an array of topics that are at the forefront of efforts to spur the economic development of the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean. Each week, this blog "Trends" brings you our latest research and thinking. 

Our complete list of blogs can be found here.

An alternative anti-drug policy: economic resilience

By Yuri Soares

By Yuri Soares and Sandra V. Rozo

Latin America and the Caribbean is the most violent region in the world, with no fewer than five of its major cities experiencing more than 100 homicides per 100,000 people each year, according to the most recent Global Study on Homicide. While the pattern of violence varies across different regions, a significant share is linked to illegal drug activity, particularly in drug-producing countries and countries that are distribution channels to the main export markets of the United States and Europe. And as is argued in a recent op-ed by the The Brookings Institution, the recent push to legalize the market of marijuana—particularly in the United States—should not be viewed as a panacea for the prevention of drug-related violence. 

Must social enterprises grow to have a large-scale impact on society?

By Nobuyuki Otsuka

By Nobuyuki Otsuka and Claudio Cortellese

There is a proliferation worldwide of “social businesses” that generate goods and services that benefit society as well as financial profits. Likewise, we’re seeing more social business accelerators—specialized intermediaries that provide social entrepreneurs with business tools and approaches to accelerate the growth of an idea that is assumed to create a positive impact. Development professionals who work on building up the private sector are curious about what accelerating a social business means. But perhaps a more fundamental question should be: is it necessary to accelerate a social business in the first place? 

What good is capital without customers? Financial inclusion is necessary for healthy societies

By Tomas Miller

Trends is on vacation this week. This post ran previously on our blog. 

The financial inclusion strategies that several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are adopting and incorporating into their national development policies aim at increasing access to and use of financial services for segments of the population that have been excluded or underserved by financial systems. These policies assume that achieving a higher level of financial inclusion is a necessary condition for increasing the social inclusion of these excluded people. What good is having a solvent and liquid financial system if it serves only businesses and powerful families? What good is capital without customers? 

Social impact bonds are coming to the tropics

By David Bloomgarden

The challenges of providing education and formal employment, encouraging the empowerment of women, and stemming the rise in chronic diseases continue to be serious concerns throughout the developing countries and emerging markets of the world. Institutional roadblocks,  mistrust between governments and investors, inconsistent and low-quality delivery of services, and a simple lack of funds have at times made it impossible to find solutions to these issues.

Bringing more remittance clients into the financial fold

By Fernando Jiménez-Ontiveros

Two pioneering remittances projects from Mexico were honored last month at the Global Forum on Remittances and Development in Milan, Italy. The Mexican Association of Credit Unions in the Social Sector (AMUCSS) and the Center for Monetary Studies of Latin America (CEMLA) received recognition for their work to expand the access of rural Mexicans to remittance payments, and to provide technical assistance to governments to increase the safety and efficiency of remittance markets, respectively.