17th Microcredit Summit, Ebola Crisis, Mobile Money Update – Top Picks of the Microfinance Blogosphere

> Posted by Center Staff

This edition of top picks features posts highlighting discussions at the 17th Microcredit Summit, how the Ebola crisis is affecting microfinance in West Africa, and new statistics on the continued growth of the mobile money industry worldwide.

The 17th Microcredit Summit, this year’s iteration of the Microcredit Summit Campaign’s annual conference, is underway this week in Merida, Mexico. For those of us not in attendance, the Campaign is live streaming the sessions online. NextBillion is also sharing the experience through blog posts, including one published yesterday providing a report-back on day one of the event. The post offers insights from the day, including notable quotes from keynote speeches and panel presentations, and themes that emerged across sessions.

A recent post on the Kiva blog details how the devastating Ebola crisis is affecting Kiva field partners working in the West Africa region. Kiva operates in two of the countries hardest hit by the crisis, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where national state of emergencies have been declared and many banks, businesses, and schools have been closed. Kiva partners deciding whether to lessen loan repayment structures or grant forgiveness is being held on a case-by-case basis. Risk of loan delinquency or default is with the Kiva lender, not field partners, so institutions and their clients are not vulnerable. Some Kiva partners including BRAC Sierra Leone and BRAC Liberia have suspended operations for at least a month.

Sharing an update on the mobile money landscape since February’s State of the Industry Report, a new post on the GSMA MMU blog gives a run-down of new service deployments, market competition, and the impact of mobile money on financial inclusion. Eighty-eight markets now have at least one live mobile money service targeting unbanked communities. Since February, services have deployed in new country markets including Romania, Sudan, and Panama. Up from 27 markets last December, there are now 33 markets globally that have three or more live mobile money services.

Image credit: Ianf