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.

Ensuring water access in the face of climate change

By Yuri Soares

Actors across a watershed often have very different needs, with upstream landowners trying to exploit natural resources, such as forests and grasslands, without necessarily taking into account how their actions might impact downstream water users. 

How to train entrepreneurs? Don’t tax their cognitive bandwidth

By Yuri Soares

Have you noticed that when you are driving with a passenger in your car, you stop talking whenever you have to perform a complicated maneuver (such as passing a truck on a narrow road or merging into traffic from an on-ramp)?  It’s because that task requires extra attention, and we have a limited budget for attention (cognitive bandwidth). Because the two activities requiring attention (the maneuver and talking) interfere with one another, it is a challenge to successfully complete the two simultaneously. 

Wanted: Soft skills

By Yuri Soares

When Diogo Barbosa was hired to work at a construction site for the subway in Rio de Janeiro, he did not give much thought to the path that took him from the streets of a Rio slum, to the work site of a well-paying formal job. Nor was he thinking of the skills he had acquired throughout his lifetime, and how they would be key to his success. Rather, he was intent on making the best of the opportunity at hand. Diogo is one of those employees that bosses really like. He is always on time at the job site, and will often stay later if needed. According to job site supervisor he never passes up an opportunity to learn a new skill. He takes the initiative to help others get the job done. He is also known to solve complicated problems, and his peers often turn to him for help.

Equal potential, unequal paths: Explaining the gender gap in entrepreneurial success

By Yuri Soares

At the annual summit last week of the Global Banking Alliance for Women (GBA), it is was evident that we’ve learned much over the past few years on how to fashion effective approaches to help women entrepreneurs. GBA is a group of financial institutions, including some of the world’s main banks, dedicated to expanding access to financial services for women, with an emphasis on targeting women-led enterprises. Its member banks are experimenting with innovative—and profitable—approaches. 

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.