International Community Development - Volume 7, Issue 1
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Low-income people in the U.S. and abroad face similar challenges: access to credit, housing, jobs, and critical services including health and education. And yet today, those who work on international economic development and community development hardly know each other. This issue of the Review is dedicated to a simple idea: innovative ideas to solve poverty should not stop at the national border. There are too many good ideas abroad that can help inform our practices domestically, and good ideas here that can be relevant to other countries.
This issue of the Review covers a host of ideas, including: innovating how we do small business finance (Root Capital); learning about affordable housing finance from Europe, Canada and Australia (Housing Partnership Network); overcoming regulatory barriers in the U.S. to help free up more impact capital as has been done in Europe (Calvert Foundation); using credit enhancements to promote bank lending in South Africa (Shared Interest and Strategic Philanthropy Advisors); finding ways to capitalize on the UK’s innovative social impact bond concept for the U.S. (Third Sector Capital Partners); learning the best practices in measuring social metrics from around the world (Paul Veldman, Columbia University); using mobile phones to reach the unbanked (UN Capital Development Fund); thinking about how the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) might go global (David Smith, Affordable Housing Institute); and considering how CRA might, or might not, work in Latin America (Tova Solo, formerly with the World Bank) and China (Prabal Chakrabarti, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston).
Economist Jeffrey Sachs, in his book The End of Poverty, states that “extreme poverty can be ended, not in the time of our grandchildren, but in our time.” If we are to live up to Sachs’ charge, it is essential that we share the best ideas we have from both the international and domestic antipoverty communities.
The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or of the Federal Reserve System. Material herein may be reprinted or abstracted as long as the Community Development Investment Review is credited.
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Table of Contents
Agricultural businesses in developing countries offer an opportunity for market-based economic development that creates benefits throughout global value chains.
The U.S. nonprofit leaders and the European nonprofit leaders alike discovered that nonprofit housing organizations, no matter how different the policy environment, all share the mission of addressing the needs of homeless families and low-income workers.
When Calvert Social Investment Foundation launched its current programs in 1995, with the mission of helping to end poverty through investment, we began our first foray into investing in microfinance. Through our increasing involvement in the international impact investing industry, we have seen a true scaling of targeted investments to the microfinance sector.
As the world grapples with growing income disparities that leave more than three billion of the planet’s people in poverty, and as the current recession shrinks the pool of public and private resources available to remedy the situation, investors and policymakers across the globe are seeking high-impact, cost-effective strategies and tools to reduce the cavernous income and wealth gap and create bridges out of poverty.
In September 2010, the United Kingdom government partnered with Social Finance, Ltd. to break new ground in financing for the nonprofit sector with its pilot program to reduce recidivism in the Peterborough prison. Dubbed the “Social Impact Bond,” or SIB for short, the instrument links private capital to the success of social programs.
This article analyzes the best evaluation methods in international development, including examples of evaluation toolkits, with the aim of helping community development practitioners apply the methods to projects in the United States.
The truth is that banks and other financial service providers haven’t done nearly enough to help the poor. The good news is that this is beginning to change—and we have the world’s mobile network operators to thank.
Populist ire that arose from the credit crunch is being directed at banks from all corners of the globe, triggering a series of new laws and schemas, whose combined effect will be to impose on banks greater government control over their economics (more regulation on safety and soundness) and greater government interest in their social outcomes (inclusive banking).
When I speak of a Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) for Latin America, I mean a mechanism that monitors and makes bank activities public.
The Xi’an branch of the People’s Bank of China reached out to the Federal Reserve Banks of Boston and San Francisco to learn more and engage in a dialogue about how CRA might be applied in China. The discussion was a study in contrast, but also uncovered some surprising areas of commonality.