The Central African Republic this week cleared its arrears to the World Bank, thanks to a loan by the French government and a grant by the World Bank, that will restore its ties with international donors, a senior bank official said on Tuesday. The move comes as the former French colony tries to resurrect ties with the international community after years of political and economic instability.
After starting out as just small loans for the poor, microfinance has mushroomed into a large market that is attracting big banks, technology billionaires, and last week brought its innovator the Nobel Peace Prize. The business of lending small amounts of money to the poor who are unable to access loans elsewhere was once considered unfathomable by the financial mainstream.
Only governments can effectively deliver services like health and education to the poorest, development group Oxfam said in a report on Friday critical of groups like the World Bank for hindering poverty programmes by pushing private-sector solutions.
The World Bank is preparing funding for Tanzania and Uganda to help the East African countries cope with a power crisis triggered by a three-year drought, bank officials said on Thursday. Tanzania and Uganda have been worst hit by the power crisis and are currently enforcing rolling blackouts that are hurting their economies and stretching financial resources.