Week of July 22, 2013

This week’s New and Noteworthy highlights trends in international remittances, the potential of social stock exchanges, and insights into the financial lives of Delhi’s rickshaw pullers.

  • In the wake of the House of Representatives’ passing a massive agricultural and food bill that did not include funding for supplemental nutritional assistance (commonly known as food stamps), Pew Research released a political and demographic snapshot of America’s food stamp recipients.
  • CGAP released two new studies:  One provides an overview of new trends in international remittances through mobile or branchless banking platforms and the other reviews financial data from hundreds of MFIs to look at interest rates and the costs and profits that drive them.
  • Can social stock exchanges make development financing democratic and accessible? That’s the question Devex explores in its overview of the impact investing sector and launch of London’s Social Stock Exchange at the recent G8 summit.
  • Telecom operator Orange announced recently that is it launching a new service called Orange Money International Transfer. The mobile money transfer function will allow users in three different countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Mali) to send money via their mobile phones to any other Orange customer in those countries.
  • During the most recent World Bank Policy Research Talks Series, David McKenzie challenges us to “rethink informality” in his presentation on SMEs in the informal sector.
  • Mani Nandhi, a researcher at the Institute for Money, Technology, and Financial Inclusion, has a fascinating blog series highlighting barriers to mobile money adoption among rickshaw pullers in Delhi. Parts one and two of the series offer personal insights and in-depth profiles of two such men, which include their own challenges and reflections on mobile banking.
  • In the Financial Times, Ramachandra Guha reviews Amartya Sen and Jean Drèze’s new bookIndia: Economic Development and Social Opportunity, on the Indian state’s role in increasing equality and providing social services.

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