Friday, October 30, 2009

UN Offices in Lockdown After Attack in Afghanistan

On Wednesday, Taliban gunman stormed a United Nations safe house in Kabul, killing eight people, six of whom were foreign staff.  In response, the UN has ordered most of its workers in the country to stay home and has stopped all UN flights between Afghanistan and Pakistan as it reviews its security policy.  Prior to this attack, the UN has attempted to remain a neutral actor between the various factions in Afghanistan, but the UN has supported the runoff election, which the Taliban has fundamentally opposed.


Kenya to Strengthen Rural Banking

The government of Kenya expressed its commitment to increase access to traditional financial services in rural part of the country.  At a three day conference with microfinance leaders, the Kenyan Finance Minister, Uhuru Kenyatta said that said that the “Central Bank and other stakeholders are working on legal framework that would enable branchless banking through use of third party agents like Saccos, micro-finance institutions, retail outlets and petro stations.”  In Kenya, only 27% of the population have access to formal finance institutions, mostly in urban areas.  This plan would allow finance institutions to reach rural communities that would otherwise be unprofitable for a bank to serve.