Teaching the Poor to Fish for $9 Trillion

De_soto Domestic nonprofits can't hold a fundraising candle to the international firepower emerging in today's philanthropic marketplace. Consider what the Wall Street Journal (Helping the Poor Register Land, 9/24) called the "sleeper issue" at Clinton's Global Initiative: land rights for the poor.

According to WSJ, Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto estimates a $9 trillion slam against poverty if the many citizens of developing countries were to register their land, thereby gaining the ability to secure loans against it. Unfortunately, the barriers to such access are significant and include ""insufficient legal frameworks, confusing procedures and corrupt property registries."

For donors interested in highly-leveraged international giving opportunities, land rights for the poor sounds like a great place to look. Unfortunately, even the on-line version of the WSJ provides no links for readers  to learn more (Note: hands without ink spots shouldn't be the only difference between on-line and print versions of the same publication.)

Post-Davos, Slate's John Gravios, who called de Soto "practically the patron saint of the global elite" wasn't convinced:

From the field, the verdicts are rolling in: In some corners of the world, the land-titling programs inspired by de Soto's work are proving merely ineffective. In other places, they are showing themselves to be downright harmful to the poor people they set out to help.

Maybe so, maybe no but if can deliver even a fraction of $9 trillion,  he's on to something I want to know more about..

Susan Herr

Posted at 9:37 AM, Oct 03, 2006 in Global Philanthropy | Permalink | Comment