The term ‘Micro-Finance’ is not as ubiquitous as it might seem. In some developing countries its reputation has dived subterranean with interest rates and conditions that would make a loan-shark blush. The term ‘Micro Enterprise Development’ is not just a rebrand; it is an attempt to look at business development holistically, with support and advice from those already on the runway and not as an extension of colonial patronage.
Managing expectations in the initial training of the local constitutional and management team in Kibera was therefore going to be a challenge. A group of successful Kibera business people who would be unable to gain either finance or favour from the project, tussled and challenged and agreed a constitution and terms for prospective Kibera micro loan beneficiaries. Ditching the need for offices, staff, expenses and high speed internet connections, the group’s realisation that those with tiny businesses and incomes of under five dollars a day, could do with a leg up. The chapatti seller really needed to find their USP and be briefed on the finer points of stock control.
The slum Shylocks with their eye watering multi thousand percent interest rates that would make Wonga bristle with anticipation, may not have yet had their day, however those that have made a start and were working the full twelve hours to support their families may just have a chance.