PORTRAITS OF CHANGE by Saha Dhevan Meyanathan

PORTRAITS OF CHANGE

KIRKUS REVIEW

An inside look at some of the small businesses driving Mongolia’s economic growth and future.

After several decades of working in development finance, the author has written his first book, focusing on the role of microcredit in Mongolia, where he spent several years running the World Bank’s operations. The book profiles 10 entrepreneurs from different regions of the country; they all had built their businesses with small loans from XacBank, a local bank that was established during the country’s transition from communism to a more free-market economy. The businesses profiled include both rural and urban operations that provide services ranging from medical care in remote communities to beekeeping to freshly baked bread to insulation that allows traditional Mongolian houses to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels for heating. In addition to an overview of the business and the importance of XacBank funding, each profile includes the entrepreneur’s personal story, plans for the future and views on topics such as corporate social responsibility to Mongolia’s blend of traditional and modern ways of life. The book begins with an overview of Mongolia from its earliest days to the present, covering the basics for readers unfamiliar with the country’s history of empire, occupation and independence, or with its ties to and conflicts with both Russia and China, its largest neighbors. Full color illustrations on every page give the reader a vibrant picture of modern Mongolia, from its skyscrapers to its nomadic herders, and photographs of the featured entrepreneurs and their businesses show the concrete results of microlending. The author’s enthusiasm for XacBank is evident throughout, and the book concludes with a profile of the bank since its founding, along with commentary from current and former executives. While the uncritical admiration of XacBank’s role in developing Mongolia’s economy may give readers pause, they should note that the book is less an analysis of microfinance in Central Asia than a compelling series of case studies that celebrates some of Mongolia’s recent success stories.

A detailed, well-illustrated overview of Mongolian small businesses that are growing with the help of local microcredit.

Pub Date: July 28th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1468067880
Page count: 200pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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