leading the Treasury Department's efforts to use microfinance in promoting international development. It is my recommendation to the deputies group that the United States expands its funding of microfinance initiatives in post-conflict and humanitarian crisis situations. Microfinance can entail a small loan given to an individual or a group of individuals at shared costs (microcredit), or it can come in other forms such as insurance [Definition of terms GOOD]
The interest rates are relatively high, and of course some individuals do not pay back their loans
Nevertheless, [Considers opposition GOOD]
Nevertheless, many cases, most prominently the Grameen Bank, for which Muhammad Yunus won the Noble Prize, demonstrate that a great majority of enrolled individuals repay their loan and interest, to the extent that some microfinance institutions and funds are able to turn a profit and attract commercial investment REFERENCE.
Recent movements in microfinance have advocated for the focus in funding to shift from public to commercial sources.
Although private sector funding of microfinance is increasing REFERENCE2, public financing must still play a pivotal role when individuals are not being served by microfinance programs.
Such individuals may be members of marginalized groups,
Literature on international development suggests that microfinance can be an effective tool in post crisis and famine situations.
The present situation in Somalia is one in which the use of public sector funding is appropriate, if not necessary. "By any assessment,"?
I will not go into details, but needless to say the situation in Somalia remains dire.
Despite this fact, U.S. international aid to Somalia continues to be cut each fiscal year.
5 Assistance has dropped from $403 million in 2009, to $152.1 million in 2010, to $82.3 million in 20106. This fiscal year, Somalia will receive $84.9 million, slightly reversing the precipitous decline in aid.
[Be wary of descriptors like this; some may not find the decline 'precipitous'; framing your conclusions / leading the reader like this weakens an argument because the reader should supply this adjective themselves. Yes no?]
It is estimated that demand for microcredit in Somalia is ten times the supply.
[SUPPORT: Great, model citation here. This is the type of evidence we want every assertion to be backed with if possible-]
Public grants would contribute to the formation of an actual financial sector in Somalia by allowing individuals to open savings accounts, take out a loans, or buy insurance
GREAT explanation of your assertion this and prior sentences
. The weakness of the informal and unregulated Somali economy is illustrated by the fact that the Somali Remittance Companies are the sole financial provider for the entire country REFERENCE. This is no wonder seeing as though remittances account for one third of the entire Somali economy at $1 billion a year.
Microfinance programs will thus be tuned to specifically address Somalia's unique economic troubles, while respecting its cultural traditions and religious practices [Excellent explanation of why your sub-thesis will help]
The successful use of microfinance in addressing Somalia's problems will hopefully lead to further efforts to apply microfinance to post crisis or conflict situations [EXCELLENT expansion of last sentence from specific to general]
I propose to build upon the work of USAID, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the United Nation Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), in using microfinance to advance the development of the Somali financial sector [Strong sub-thesis GREAT]
The main plan advanced to this end is a joint UNDP/UNCDF program titled Launch of an Inclusive Financial Sector in Somalia (LIFSS) REFERENCE. Launched in 2008, this program is scheduled to last until 2012, and is a part of a larger series OF UNDP/UNCDF initiatives meant to meet the Millennium Development Goals in Somalia. LIFSS has the following 5 FIVE goals, taken verbatim from the program description:
i. Develop a national policy/vision statement of inclusive finance and prepare the next phase of the national strategy;
ii. Provide capacity building and training to key policymakers responsible for removing policy constraints; iii. Put in place a framework that allows the government and donors to coordinate funding based on best-practice microfinance from the start, minimizing potential harm to the credit culture;
iv. Build the supportive infrastructure (service provider networks, partnerships with cell phone companies, audit, training institutes, statistics/data) necessary for a sector to develop;
v. Bring immediate benefits for recovery; contribute to a competitive financial sector while identifying…