In any event, here’s a snapshot of the latest ranking:
Latin America clearly dominates the top of this index. From the report’s key findings:
Latin America has the largest number of top-performing countries in this year’s Microscope. Eight of the top dozen countries by overall rank are in Latin America, with Peru and Bolivia placing fi rst and second, respectively. Notably, the high overall scores are driven by comparatively strong results globally in the Supporting Institutional framework category, with a particularly robust showing on credit bureaus, which are relatively well established throughout the region. As a group, the Latin American countries perform less well on Regulatory Framework and Practices, although top performers Bolivia and Peru, joined by El Salvador, Ecuador, hold their own, placing in the first eight spots in the overall ranking. Peru stands out for having one of the most sophisticated microfinance sectors in the region, owing to the effective supervisory capacity of its principal regulator, the Superintendency of Banking, Insurance, and Pension Funds, and a favourable regulatory framework that sets out well-defined rules for both regulated and nonregulated MFIs. El Salvador is the only country in the region that scores relatively highly for its deposit taking framework.
Here’s the thing: much like the World Bank’s Doing Business index, Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions index or any variety of indices that come out of the United Nations apparatus, these sorts of rankings are mere estimations of relativity. More specifically, just because Peru is at the top of this particular list doesn’t mean it’s a haven for microfinance transparency or that investing in Peruvian MFIs is a sure bet or even that microfinance is alleviating poverty there, whatever that even means; all this shows is that Peru is a safer place for socially responsible investment allocation than Vietnam. But then we didn’t really need this index to tell us that, did we?
Actually, what I find more interesting here is that there’s even any data at all for China, and that Mexico ranks as “highly” as it does.
Relativity — not just for physicists.
EIU report downloadable here.