I am not a regular blogger (does the noun exist ? It sounds slightly inappropriate) but I have succumbed to an invitation to share some hasty and ill-considered thoughts with a wider readership than myself. And, as is often the case, the subject is microfinance; I know quite a lot about it, if knowing means writing books about it, criticising it, directing and rating it, but like just about everyone who reads this note, I have never actually used it.
We think of microfinance as being ‘invented’ in Bangladesh in the 1970s. To be sure, Grameen was the genesis of modern microcredit, the provision of small, unsecured loans to mostly women, for enterprise development. But microfinance – defined more broadly as financial services to the poor – goes back as far as money and commerce.