Sunday, April 20, 2008

Grameen Veolia Water partnership

After Grameen Danone partnership offering nutritional yogurt and milk products in Bangladesh, Grameen is doing a deal with the French water company Veolia, for setting up water treatment plants and 'paid' water supply to people in Bangladesh.

Veolia and other water utility companies are seen as bad companies, in particular in the developing third world countries. Across the world, Veolia, Suez, and other water utility companies do not have a good record when it comes to taking over municipal facilities and providing service to the customers. The Water Business, a book by Ann-Christin Sjolander Holland, covers in detail the track record of these companies in Latin American, Asian and African countries.

Prof. Yunus of Grameen is seen as something of an outcaste, for his attempt at alleviating poverty by sleeping with 'profit making companies'. It was Telenor in telecom, a relationship that is not exactly great because Grameen goofed up with the ownership model, giving away majority equity to Telenor. But the deal with Danone is more carefully set up. Veolia will follow the same model of 50-50 ownership. I would like to keenly follow, if Veolia deliver in Bangladesh in the coming years.

Grameen is more than a micro-finance institution, in that it is looking at solutions to complex problems, beyond simply loaning money.

It will be interesting to see which MFI in India will seriously consider this model.

Micro finance institutions in East India, Forbes List

This Business Standard article mentions several MFIs active in East India namely,
  1. SKS Microfinance
  2. Bandhan
  3. Microcredit Foundation of India
  4. Sadhana Microfin Society
  5. Grameen Koota
  6. Asmitha Microfin Ltd
  7. Share Microfin
  8. BISWA
  9. Kas foundation
  10. Prochesta
  11. Youth Volunteers Union
This article also mentions a Forbes ranking list. So I searched for it and got this list.