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September 27, 2013

New & Noteworthy

By Alicia Brindisi

This week’s New and Noteworthy focuses on policy and evaluation – in understanding youth savings in the developing world, looking deeper at the potential of conditional cash transfers in the US, and outlining the road to full financial inclusion.

  • As part of its Financial Inclusion 2020 initiative, the Center for Financial Inclusion this week released its Five Roadmaps to Full Financial Inclusion, which offer recommendations and action points on topics including client protection, credit reporting, and addressing customer needs. CFI’s Managing Director, Elisabeth Rhyne, shared her thoughts on the project on the CGAP blog.
     

  • Much has been written about the pros and cons of bitcoins (and their legal and regulatory repercussions), but Gene Frieda shares his thoughts on the WEF blog on the role of bitcoins as an alternative currency and a speculative commodity.
     
  • Thailand has made progress in the area of financial inclusion (73% of the population has a bank account and only 3% have no access to formal finance whatsoever) but still has a problem when it comes to prevalence of loan sharks. The Economist highlights some interesting tactics that the government is undertaking to try to curb their activity.
     
  • The concept of conditional cash transfers is nothing new and programs like Bolsa Familia in Brazil have shown some success. In the United States, New York City has pioneered the policy strategy domestically. Recent evaluation results of a program administered by MDRC show potential educational benefits, specifically for high school students.
     
  • Many microfinance programs focus on access to financial services for adult populations. But if given the opportunity, would youth in developing countries save via formal services? This is one of the questions addressed by the YouthSave Initiative, which recently released a report of findings from its program targeting 12-18 year olds in Colombia, Ghana, Nepal and Kenya.

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