Cambodia’s microfinance sector hit by predatory lending claims

Debtor suicides, forced land sales among accusations against industry.

Cambodia’s microfinance sector was supposed to be an engine for small business growth and help lift millions out of poverty.

That promise drew money from European development banks and the International Finance Corp. (IFC), the World Bank’s private lending arm, supplying funds critical to boosting access to credit in one Asia’s most impoverished countries.

But now, Cambodia’s microlenders are under fire after reports of suicides by heavily indebted borrowers, as well as families forced to sell their land or put school-age children to work to pay off crippling debt.

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