I am in Paris at the moment, attending a conference on innovative finance in development, put together by the World Bank, AFD (the French development agency), and the Gates Foundation. It is an interesting event. As well as panels and workshops, there is a competition for promising financial innovations. The World Bank has a very good pamphlet, Innovative Finance for Development Solutions, if you want some background reading.
The competition’s 20 finalists include all manner of ingenious schemes designed by small NGOs, not-so-small development agencies, and everything in between. “Mobile Authentication for Indo-Nepal Remittance” (by Ekgaon Technologies and Nirdhan Utthan Bank), for instance; “Natural Catastrophe Protection for the Rural Poor” (Caribbean Risk Managers and Development Bank of Jamaica); “Proving the Value of Mobile Money for Microfinance” (by the Grameen Foundation); and so on.