Investing in the Poor: New Directions in Microfinance

Entrepreneurs need education to make the most of financial services for the poor. Chakriya Bowman and Patrick Kilby

Microfinance has come a long way since Grameen Bank first offered small loans to the poor. Microfinance now offers a full range of financial services, including savings, insurance, money transfer services and pension schemes. But the promise of microfinance, of poverty-beating incomes for budding entreprenurs, has failed to materialise.

Chakriya Bowman and Patrick Kilby say that we know now it is investment in people, not simply the provision of loans, that really makes the difference to the poor. Education should be at the heart of microfinance. Download Brief

Migrating to Prosperity: Remittances in the Pacific

The youth bulge in the Pacific means labour mobility may be the only way to find jobs. Richard Brown, CIPRD Fellow, and Patrick Kilby

When Bob Zoellick said that "labout mobility is absolutely critical to the long-term development of the South Pacific", he was reinforcing the fact that remittances and migration are fundamental to developing country prosperity.

This brief, which draws on work by Richard Brown, CIPRD Fellow and Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Queensland, and Patrick Kilby proposes that well constructed labout mobility programs and well managed remittances offer a path to prosperity for the Pacific.Download Brief


Agriculture Liberalisation Won't Save the Third World

Looking for trade in PNG Chakriya Bowman, CIPRD Senior Fellow

Of the 100-odd developing countries in the World Trade Organisation, most (76%) are net food importers. Those without a comparative advantage in agriculture face negative outcomes from the Doha talks, because the price of basic food staples will rise.

Chakriya Bowman, CIPRD Senior Fellow, says that south-south trade - trade between the developing economies themselves - offers the greatest growth and productivity opportunities, and that south-south trade liberalisation must be pursued if Least Developed Economies are to benefit.
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Policy Brief

Half Way to Nothing? MDGs in the Pacific

MDG2 is the provision of universal primary education. Simon Feeny, CIPRD Fellow

As the mid-way point for the Millennium Development Goals approaches, there is much to be done in the Pacific if the goals are to be met. In 2015, it is likely that Pacific island countries and their major aid donors will be heavily criticised for their failure to achieve their MDG targets.

Simon Feeny, CIPRD Fellow and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at RMIT University, says that Australia must help Pacific countries tailor the goals to something realistic and achievable if there is to be any progress made. Download Brief


Size Matters: The Impact of Aid on Institutions

Small size is working against institutions in Pacific countries. Chakriya Bowman and Satish Chand, CIPRD Senior Fellows

Modern aid is based on the fundamental assumption that economic growth reduces poverty, and therefore growth is good. This assumption underpins development activities in the Pacific. But, as has been noted by most Pacific analysts over the last 30 years, economic growth in the Pacific has been almost non-existent and in Melanesia it has failed to keep pace with population growth. This paper, written for UNU-WIDER's Fragile States program, finds evidence that aid has a detrimental impact on smaller economies as it weakens institutions, and therefore undermines growth. Download Report