There were some good articles in the news today about investing and finance around the world. Which got me thinking about a couple of related points.

– There was this New York  Times story about the limits and problems with microfinance. I have felt for a while that microfinance, while helpful, was being oversold as a panacea to all the Third World’s economic problems.

– This article about the lack of women in Silicon Valley, which touches on problems women face in general in raising capital for new ventures. Really sort of depressing that this sort of thing is still such a problem in 2010.

– Even an editorial from Bono about Africa (what else?). I know a lot of people find him an annoying gasbag; but for the most part, I like his work on Africa. Rather than telling Africans what to do, Bono is more about raising awareness of the good things Africans are doing for themselves. The most interesting part of that editorial to me was the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which gives $5 million plus a lifetime stipend to good African leaders who step down peacefully when their terms are over.

– Meng Wong has posted on his website a Venture Fundraising Rejection Form Letter, which is as hysterically funny as it is insightful and useful. If you are putting together any sort of business proposal, it is totally worth you time to give it a read. If you like that, then be sure to check out his Gamer’s Guide to Start Ups (not a guide for starting a gaming company, but a guide for startups written in the form of a game).

– For advice on the opposite side of the fundraising process, you should read Matt Mireles’ How I Judge Investors.