Fellows Blog Posts by ilmarisoininen

Jan 22, 2010 SN Senegal

KF9  Ilmari Soininen    UIMCEC,     Thies, Senegal

Over the last four months working in microfinance in urban Senegal, I have come across many clients who report increased income thanks to their loans. Fishmongers, clothing salesman, taxi drivers, you name it. Indeed, this has come to be expected – put the capital into the entrepreneur’s hands and he will surely put it to the most efficient use, and help bring his family out of poverty.

 Makes sense. But trying to tease out exactly by how much the client’s income has increased is not as straight forward....

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Jan 8, 2010 SN Senegal

By Ilmari Soininen,  KF9  Thies, Senegal

Of the forty-eight countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, how many would you guess have a Mcdonald’s? Why would one care?

Thomas Friedman, the columnist and author, posited “No two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s”. If one had missed the lesson on causation versus correlation back in statistics class, the answer to ending conflict in Africa would be simple. Step one:open a Mcdonalds in every country on the continent....

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Dec 29, 2009 SN Senegal

By Ilmari Soininen, KF9 in Thies, Senegal

Christmas kicks off a serious week of celebration for Senegal’s Christian minority. Dispersed families unite, meaning a series of sept-place, clando and bus rides from the capital. Like in many parts of the world, roasted chicken (or turkey) is an important part of the Christmas menu here. The bird is carefully prepared, and cooked to tender perfection. Chicken is not an everyday treat for most of Senegal. Indeed, it is quite a luxury item. But why is this so? And can this tell us something about the country’s...

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Dec 3, 2009 SN Senegal

Ilmari Soininen KF9  UIMCEC Senegal


Many developing countries were just beginning to recover from the havoc caused by sky-rocketing food and fuel prices, when the last F-bomb hit – the financial crisis. A year in, what are the effects on Kiva’s borrowers, partner MFIs and the diverse array of countries we work in? Is there reason for optimism for the future?

Credit institutions issuing loans to local clients and then shuffling the risk to investors in the four corners of the world – hmmmm sounds oddly familiar. Fret not, Kiva is not responsible for the...

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Nov 15, 2009 SN Senegal

Ilmari Soininen

KF9  UIMCEC  Dakar, Senegal

Topping up one’s phone credit is never a problem in Dakar – on every street corner you will find one, or usually three or four young men hawking the same exact Orange Telecom cards. They offer the exact same cards, in the exact same spot, at the exact same time. Peanut vendors are equally ubiquitous, often stationed only a feet away from each other, selling the same peanuts, in the same 50 Franc increments.

These vendors often rarely have many other avenues for...

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