The other day I joined Kiva.org and made a couple of loans to entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan; one cafe owner and one animal trader.
What a great sentence...
Anyway, after working in the microfinance industry for two years during business school I am absolutely thrilled at the popularity of this site.
But while Kiva is doing great things, I still think microfinance has an awful long way to go.
The industry will never truly succeed until its investments become regulated and indexable. Regulation and reliable indexes will allow large institutional investors to use the asset class as a way of adding additional diversity and solid returns to their portfolios. The industry can't rely on individuals making loans simply because it's a nice thing to do (which it is by the way).
In order to move money from the top of the developed financial world to the bottom of the developing financial world, microfinance must become a real investment for serious investors.