Call edition 2012
A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.
For people involved in development co-operation both in North and South, micro-credit has become one of the main programs for poverty alleviation.
The main merit of this thesis lies in its solid theoretical framework based on a literature both wide and uptodate.. The author draws the attention to the different problems these institutions of micro-credit may encounter at the different stages of their evolution. In clear and efficient writing, she explains that two main trends can be distinguished within these institutions : the minimalist vision and the maximalist or integrated vision. Followers of the former restrict themselves to credit and saving operations, while followers of the latter develop a much larger range of activities and training courses. B. Marx also analyses two other big trade-offs these financial institutions must decide on : first, they need to set an interest rate yielding a return for the institution while at the same time remaining affordable for the borrowers ; secondly, they need to decide whether or not to link savings to credit.
Another big merit of this work lies in the outstanding field research it is based on. The scientific coherence prevalent in the comparative analysis the author makes between the Grameen Bank, the " classical " banks and CEDAR (Concern for Environmental Development and Research) is striking. CEDAR is a NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) in Bangladesh chosen by the author for an empirical case study. This research concentrates on the analysis of a micro-credit program (called " Alliance ") financed by a Belgian NGO (Ingénieurs Sans Frontière-Belgique) and managed by CEDAR. The project is critically analysed whereby special attention is paid to the responsibilities of the different partners and to the strategies and methods used by CEDAR.
B. Marx concludes her work with some justified recommendations aimed at ISF-Belgique, in particular concerning the future role it should play within the partnership with CEDAR.