小额信贷催化剂

坎布里奇——所谓的“影响投资者”(impact investor)——即为解决社会挑战的企业提供资本并获取利润的投资者——是当前经济发展的新晋推动力。美国总统奥巴马的社会创新和公民参与办公室(Office for Social Innovation and Civic Participation)最近召集了100多位影响投资者,讨论影响投资如何在美国和发展中国家开展。联合国基金会和美国国务院成立了一个5亿美元的公私合作计划,用以在穷国推广清洁厨灶。英国、荷兰和法国的发展机构正在考虑将部分资金配置于扶贫事业。

据世界银行统计,大约14亿人生活在极端贫困中(每天收入不足1.25美元),26亿人生活在一般贫困中(每天收入不足2美元)。10亿多一般贫困人口——比整个非洲的总人口还要多——生活在南亚。影响投资能够在消除全球贫困方面胜过收效甚微的老办法吗?

贫困人口急需照明、烹饪用燃料、可负担且易获得的医疗、清洁水源、基础教育以及金融服务。供给这些需求的政府计划深受腐败困扰(有人估计,印度大约50—70%的福利支出被盗用了),而且无法提供高质量的服务。此外,大公司则无法满足这些人口的需要,因为这要求它们围绕新产品、新物流和新定价体系重新规划已有的商业模式。

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