Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Kiva activities in Latin America

On The Kiva Chronicles blog, a commenter remarks that there are very few Kiva investment opportunities in Latin America. This is true:
  • Of the 28 partners that Kiva lists currently, only 5 are from Latin America.

  • Compared to some of the Eastern European partners, they are not very active. I see once in a while a loan appear from Prisma in Honduras (but nothing in Nicaragua), and I see regularly loans from Mifex (Ecuador) and Admic (Mexico). Where are the other MFI's? FVP (Mexico), Fundación Adelante (Honduras), Prisma Nicaragua, where have you gone?

  • Where is the rest of Latin America? I can't imagine that the existing MFI's in Brazil, Guatemala, Perú, Colombia, Bolivia, to name a few, are all set.

  • Are there any other reasons that MFI's cannot or don't want to "hook up" with Kiva? I can think of several reasons why not:
    • Currency import and export restrictions (Bolivia, Venezuela, other countries as well probably). I know that exporting US Dollars is prohibitive in Venezuela, where according to local regulations individuals can only take US$10,000 per year out. The process for businesses to apply for a money-export-license is prohibitive as well...
    • Increased overhead for micro-loan administration because of Kiva reporting requirements. I don't think that this is a valid argument-- microloans are administration-intensive by nature, due to extra due diligence that is needed due to the lack of collateral. Also, many MFI's have a social chapter (business counseling/advise, assistance, group loan events, etc.) into which Kiva should well fit.
    • Access to cheaper funds. Possible if the MFI is backed by a large charitable fund from which it can draw no-cost or very low-cost loans. That'd be a good problem to have, but also-- not very likely.
If anyone has any contacts with MFI's in Latin America (that are not yet Kiva partners), or contacts that could help get contacts, or people that know people that know people (et cetera), please let me know. I'd be more than happy to send an email or two, or make a few phone calls, to put them in touch with the right person at Kiva.

No comments: