Week of March 14, 2014

  • CFSI published its Prepaid Industry Scorecard, which analyzes 18 prepaid cards and assesses their level of quality based on criteria related to transparent communication and marketing, overall value for the customer, and ability to expand financial access.
  • While mobile phone penetration in Ghana is over 90%, up-take of mobile money services lags behind, particularly in rural areas.  IMTFI investigates why this is the case and also looks at the role of the private sector and government in promoting the use of these services. 
  • The ILO’s Microinsurance Facility issued its 2013 annual report with the theme “Protecting the Working Poor.”  The report not only summarizes the work of the organization over the last year but also looks at shifts and trends in the microinsurance industry since 2008, focusing on the commercial viability of products and their value to customers.
  • Elisabeth Rhyne, Managing Director for CFI, turns a critical eye to the current state of the microfinance infrastructure, focusing on key organizations that set standards and provide information globally. 
  • Kevin Starr and Laura Hattendorf from the Mulago Foundation write a compelling piece for SSIR that reminds readers to temper the hype surrounding GiveDirectly and to not mistake “an important experiment for a proven solution” to poverty.  Also see Chris Blattman’s response to the SSIR piece.
  • According to the IFC, “The total supply of formal finance to women-owned MSMEs [micro, small and medium enterprise] in 2012 is around Indian rupees 2.31 trillion ($42 billion). This resulted in a finance gap of Indian rupees 6.37 trillion ($116 billion), or 73 percent of total demand.”  The organization’s new report on the state of women-owned MSMEs in India looks at why this gap in demand exists and offers recommendations on improving female entrepreneurs’ access to finance.
  • We appear to be in another cycle of the “RCT debate”: see recent posts from Lant PritchettChris BlattmanRachel Strohm, and David Mckenzie. Here are couple of posts from FAI Managing Director Tim Ogden from the last cycle: on External Validity and  Transcendental Significance critiques.

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