8 Stories

Bangladesh Ousts Nobel Laureate From Job

Muhammad Yunus ordered to leave as head of his bank

(Newser) - Bangladesh's government fired Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus as head of his microfinance bank today—an ignominious exit for a renowned activist whose revolutionary idea of giving out small loans lifted many out of poverty. Bangladesh's central bank ordered the 70-year-old's removal from his position as managing director, arguing that he... More »

India's Microloans Spur a Rash of Suicides

'This is unrestrained consumer lending gone wild'

(Newser) - Out of India's booming microlending industry, a dark reality. Bloomberg Markets magazine travels to the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, which has taken on a third of the country's $5.3 billion in microfinance loans—and has seen more than 70 people commit suicide between March 1 and Nov. 19... More »

Microfinance Bubble Traps Poor in Debt

Predatory lenders offer easy cash with gouging interest rates

(Newser) - Microfinance, loaning tiny sums to the world's poor to help start small businesses, began as an anti-poverty strategy but quickly became highly profitable for private equity firms and foreign investors. In India, writes the Wall Street Journal, poor neighborhoods are being bombarded with high-interest loan opportunities, resulting in a bizarre... More »

Obama Defends Handshake, Urges Cuba to Free Prisoners

Bolivian prez accuses US of assassination plot

(Newser) - President Obama defended his friendly chat with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and asked Cuba to free its political prisoners, the Wall Street Journal reports. At the close of the Summit of the America's today, Obama brushed off Republican criticism, saying that turning a new page with Venezuela and Cuba represents... More »

'Western Aid, Celebs Are Hurting Africa'

'Anti-Bono' author rips help for sapping continent's strength

(Newser) - Dependence on celebrities as spokesmen and Western aid are bad for Africa, argues Deborah Solomon's latest interview subject, Dambisa Moyo. The Ivy-educated former investment banker argues in her new book that the culture of aid for Africa discourages entrepreneurship. "You also disenfranchise African citizens, because the government is beholden... More »

Portman Wants to Talk About Microloans, Not Movies

Teams with Jordan's queen to help women

(Newser) - Among Hollywood actresses, Natalie Portman may be an anomaly. “As opposed to talking about fashion,” the 27-year-old says she prefers discussing poverty alleviation. The Israeli-American discovered FINCA International, a microfinance program for women, through her inspiration, Jordan’s Queen Rania, a Palestinian and an “incredible woman whom... More »

What Killed Bear, Lehman Is What the World Needs

Subprime loans bring relief to millions worldwide

(Newser) - Sure, subprime loans toppled two pillars of American investment banking, gutted the world’s largest insurer, and plunged the entire US financial system into a tailspin. But they are exactly what the world needs today, Daniel Gross argues in Slate. “Far from the madding, depressed crowds of Wall Street,... More »

eBay Launches Microfinance Loan Site

Users can lend money to the world's poor... and earn interest

(Newser) - EBay's newly launched MicroPlace lets users make loans through PayPal or a bank account to needy entrepreneurs worldwide. The idea? Even small sums can help poor people build businesses to raise themselves out of poverty. The site's founder remembers one Bangladeshi woman who bought a handloom, thus earning enough to... More »

8 Stories