Slate has just done a review of microlending services – that provide small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries – and Kiva has come out top. I’m glad about that, because I actually lent some money to the scheme after we featured it on the Ferret a while back (see, we do eat our own dogfood so to speak) and thought it was a great idea and superbly done. Already the entrepreneurs I lent to have started to pay back the loan and I guess I’ll just rotate the money around the system rather than take it back out when it all finally gets repaid.
Finally: microlending as I’d imagined it. Kiva (agreement or unity in Swahili) lets lenders choose from individual borrowers, who are vetted internationally by local microlenders. Started as a side project in 2004 by a married couple, neither the lender nor Kiva takes a cut of the interest, saving it all for the local lender to administer to the borrowers day-to-day.