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Microfinance: We Might Just Be Doing it Right

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Xan Rice, the Guardian’s man in Africa, has taken notice of Equity Bank and its efforts in providing small loans to the “unbanked” of Kenya in a piece published today.

I need to get home soon, because I have only the vaguest familiarity with all the finance houses that have appeared in recent years. Some thorough research – perhaps a loan application! – will have to be conducted to see how they size up.

Anyway, back to Mr Rice’s article: it does touch on a number of points that we mentioned in our post on microfinance earlier in December. However, the tone is generally more upbeat, though I do have to take issue with the author for not making more of the global financial crisis (I cannot stress this often enough: nobody is immune). Nevertheless, it does seem to be an encouraging bit of good news from the less affluent end of the Kenyan banking system.

Once again, though, I do worry for how the microfinance sector might be able to cope with Kenyan technology companies that may need loans that are not large enough to tempt mainstream lenders, yet are larger than those normally granted by microcredit banks. I have to renew my plea for midi-finance, to ensure that the Kenyan tech companies of the future are provided with the funds they need. The undersea cable is coming, we are apparently going to be a technology hub. It would be an awful shame if the funding wasn’t there to ensure that we could all achieve our potential.

[Image by Demosh]


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