A Tale of Two Springs

Facilitating peace, development and banking in Mosul, Iraq

Archive for January 2010

Treading Up The Tigris

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Mosul.  January 20, 2010

No matter what political reasons are given for war, the underlying reason is always economic.

~A. J. P. Taylor

I sit across the table from two majors in the United States army. They glare at me, measuring up the new guy, the latest civilian to show up in these parts, and they tell me their plan. Heads of a civil affairs unit who are truly committed to making things right here, jaded but still determined, they sound increasingly eager as we begin to craft our plan.Ninewa is in Northern Iraq, nestled between Syria, the Kurdistan regional area and the Sunni triangleThere is a class in Iraq for which the banking system seems to be functioning pretty well.  Decent interest on savings, loans to start and grow businesses, home mortgages.  And USAID and other US government agencies have successfully provided some degree of support to the institutions in that banking marketplace.  The problem is that group is very small, the majors explained.  It has been decades since Iraq had a census, but estimates are that as many as 90% of families here in Ninewa are subsistence farmers.  And that means 90% of residents are effectively shut out of the banking system, excluded from receipt of American economic assistance in the province.  And these two majors, who have no development background outside of their Iraq experience, have developed a scheme to provide micro-loans to that excluded 90%.  I listen, and we plan.  We have millions of dollars in US taxpayer money at our disposal.

After a career on Wall Street and microenterprise experience in East Africa, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by treadingupthetigris

January 25, 2010 at 6:56 pm

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