I was struck by how the problem was described in the article: microloans don't work for the extremely poor because they can't pay them back.
What a shocker. I guess this is a seriously novel idea on a planet where capitalism has triumphed.
Microcredit loans were pioneered by Muhammad Yunus, who founded the Grameeen Bank in Bangladesh. He insisted that loans go, not to the poor, but to the poorest of the poor. He devised a social mechanism to guarantee repayment. Loans were made to groups of six women, who as a group guaranteed repayment. The default rate was very low. Yunas' autobiography, Banker to the Poor, is fascinating.