The Cracking the Nut publication Lessons from the 2011 Conference is now available and can be downloaded at…/ctn2011-publication.pdf?

The publication summarizes the key lessons learned from the knowledge generated at the conference. We hope this publication serves to reinvigorate the passion and inspiration you got from the conference to continue cracking the remaining tough nuts of rural and agricultural finance.

Microfinance Association Planning Guide
by Sharon D’Onofrio and Deena M. Burjorjee in 2011
Community of Practice: Association Development? |? World Region: North America

Two of the most important foundations of a microfinance association?s operations are the strategic plan, which sets the broader strategic goals, and the business plan, which lays out the implementation of those goals. This guide stresses the importance of the strategic and business planning process and guides microfinance associations in developing strong, realistic and measurable plans, a first step in ensuring an association’s long-term success.


Available at:

Innovations in Youth Financial Services Practitioner Learning Program
by Alice Lubwama and K.M.D.B. Rekogama in 2011

The period of youth is an excellent time to learn responsible financial habits and attitudes toward saving, borrowing, and spending. Research has supported the hypothesis that appropriate financial and non financial services (such as education and training), tailored to the unique needs and capabilities of youth, can help young people better manage their finances to support themselves and their families over both the short and long term.

Scaling up youth financial services is one way to address the enormous gap between demand and availability. However, scaling up is not a simple process; many organizations find that they need to consider certain unique factors when scaling up youth financial services. Often, youth products are developed as part of a financial institution?s corporate social mission; as a result, they are not always fully incorporated into the organization?s business plan, structure, and processes.

In this technical note, FINCA Uganda and Hatton National Bank Sri Lanka (HNB) explore key components and issues around the institutionalization of youth financial services, based on their individual experiences. Topics that are explored include key considerations, steps, and challenges of institutionalization. While some universal aspects of institutionalization are covered, this document primarily examines differences in institutionalizing youth financial products as opposed to financial products targeted to non-youth.

Financing Africa Through the Crisis and Beyond
The book intends to contribute to the efforts of African policy makers to capture opportunities and overcome the challenges faced by African financial sectors. It includes a stocktaking and forward-looking exercise that shows viable paths to financial sector deepening and broadening. It represents an effort to document existing and new trends in Africa?s financial sectors, taking into account Africa?s many different experiences.

Broad policy messages are outlined for financial systems in Africa on the premise that one size does not fit all. The book also discusses specific segments of the financial sector, such as rural and housing finance; it does not, however, offer an exhaustive and conclusive coverage of these segments. We leave that to more specialized publications in these areas. It builds on and extends substantially the 2007 World Bank publication Making Finance Work for Africa by Honohan and Beck that drew attention to the opportunities and challenges of financial system development across Africa.

The World Bank has published a report ?Women, Business and the Law 2012 Removing Barriers to Economic Inclusion?. The findings of the report are that while 36 economies reduced legal differences between men and women, 103 our of the 141 economies studies still impose legal differences on the basis of gender in at least one of the reports key indicators.

Women entrepreneurs face many legal barriers in the workforce. Hence, globally, women represent 49.6 percent of the population but only 40.8% of the workforce in the formal sector. The legal differences between men and women may explain lower female participation in the formal labor force.

In every region there are unequal laws for men and women in the workforce. However, the extent of inequality varies widely. For instance high-income economies have fewer differences than middles- and- low- income economies. We see the greatest gender inequality in the Middle East and North Africa, followed by South Asia and Africa. Regionally, the most improvements in gender parity occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia.


Full report:


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