voxsouley

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In International Development, Microcredit, Niger on October 30, 2006 at 6:10 am

I wanted to get the family postings out of the way… since it seems like only a few very loyal friends consistently look at this blog anyway. Thanks to those of you who do take a peek from time to time. I have been super-duper busy, with having a new baby born right as I start a new masters degree program… not like I have the time I had last Spring…

Anyway – good and very bad news out of Niger lately. Good news first: Taking a cue from the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mohamed Yunus of the Grameen Bank – Niger is starting a more formal micro-credit bank. Check out this article I came across. I really hope this takes off, the trick will be scaling it to regional banks. I know it can work in Niger, my wife Andrea helped get a CARE sponsored project working in our Peace Corps Village – even illiterate village women, with a little encouragement, can save literally thousands of dollars collectively.

And for the bad Niger news…

Nigeriens had better start raising their own money, because this other news won’t reflect well. There are apparently a small group of people named the Mahamid Arabs who fled famine, war, etc. in the 1970’s and settled in Niger. Out of the blue, the Diffa prefet decided to throw them all out because they were damaging the areas resources and not respecting the law.

This garnered tons of press, all over the world. Fortunately, some other benevolent foreign ambassadors probably talked it up to President Tandja, and the whole thing was called off. Articles in the French-speaking press were starting to make a big deal out of this.

This is unfortunately just an outcome of scarce resources. The poorest country in the world does not have enough for their own citizens. So, conflict over scarce resources is inevitable. A decision like this is made in desperation; something must have hit the Diffa préfet close to home.

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