Moral dilemma inescapable if investing in microfinance

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An ATM owned by Prasac Microfinance Institution in use at a branch in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province.  Source: Phnom Penh Post

Imagine that you could earn 4.75% interest for a term deposit of only one month.  Might you prefer a one-year term?  That would get you 9.75% per annum, and shorter or longer terms also are available at commensurate rates.

Do those rates sound too good to be true?  They are not.

With such returns offered by Prasac, one of Cambodia’s leading microfinance institutions (MFIs), the wise investor can Continue reading

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Reflections on three weeks of travel in Cambodia

A major artery in the capital city of Phnom Penh (click to enlarge photos)

Among the numerous images that I have retained from my recent travels in Cambodia are two indelible ones.

Those impressions involve a family in the seacoast city of Sihanoukville on the one hand and, on the other, works of tourist art in sprawling markets as well as in hotel rooms and lobbies.

In a country of grinding poverty, there is no avoiding beggars, child laborers, individuals asleep where they work or on the street, shop after shop that literally is a hole in the wall, and one-room hovels that many must call home.

Thanks to Nicholas Kristof’s superior work aimed at ameliorating and his writing on humanity’s deprivations around the world, child labor, sex-trafficking and child abuse cannot be far from one’s thoughts.

What remains engraved in my mind is Continue reading