El catalizador de la microfinanciación

CAMBRIDGE – Los llamados “inversores con repercusiones sociales”, aportadores de capital a las empresas que resuelven problemas sociales al tiempo que obtienen beneficios, son actualmente el último grito en materia de desarrollo económico. La Oficina de Innovación Social y Participación Ciudadana del Presidente de los Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, reunió recientemente a más de 100 expertos para examinar cómo se podría fomentar la inversión con repercusiones sociales en los Estados Unidos y en el mundo en desarrollo. La Fundación de las Naciones Unidas y el Departamento de Estado de los EE.UU. han lanzado una asociación público-privada con un capital de 50 millones de dólares para fomentar cocinas limpias en países pobres. En el Reino Unido, los Países Bajos y Francia, los organismos dedicados al desarrollo están pensando en redistribuir parte de su financiación a empresas que presten servicios a los pobres.

Según el Banco Mundial, 1.400 millones de personas, aproximadamente, viven en la pobreza extrema (es decir, que ganan menos de 1,25 dólares al día) y 2.600 millones en la pobreza moderada (menos de dos dólares al día). Más de mil millones de los moderadamente pobres, número que excede la población total de África, viven en el Asia meridional. ¿Podrá la inversión con repercusiones sociales hacer más para reducir la pobreza mundial que tantos intentos anteriores, todos los cuales han representado un gran esfuerzo y han dado escasos resultados?

Las poblaciones pobres necesitan acuciantemente iluminación, combustible para cocinar, atención de salud asequible y accesible, agua potable, enseñanza elemental y servicios financieros. Los programas estatales encaminados a atender esas necesidades adolecen de una corrupción abrumadora (según algunos cálculos, en la India entre el 50 y el 70 por ciento de todo el gasto en pro del bienestar social es objeto de robo) y no pueden prestar servicios de calidad. Además, las grandes empresas no han podido atender las necesidades de dichas poblaciones, porque, para ello, habrían tenido que reinventar sus modelos actuales de negocio en torno a nuevos criterios en materia de productos, distribución y fijación de precios.

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