Microfinance

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Definition

Microfinance encompasses a broad category of financial products and services offered to poor or socially marginalized individuals. Unlike other products and services under the banner of 'alternative financial institutions', microfinance typically serves those living in poor countries or communities where access to "high-quality financial products and services, including not just credit but also savings, insurance, payment services, and fund transfers."[1] 

Problems and Purpose

According to the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, the goal of microfinance is to increase the availability of financial services and products to those in poor or socially marginalized societies. Microfinance is a broad category, so there is mixed evidence of its impacts; however, its main intended purpose is to increase or enhance financial inclusion.

History

The beginnings of microfinance are attributed to economist Muhammad Yunus' poverty-reducing rural economic programme which was initially designed as a research project after the Bangladesh Liberation War in the 1970s. in 1976, Dr. Yunus began issuing 'micro-loans' of $27 (USD) to women in the village of Jobra, creating what he referes to as a virtuous cycle of "low income, injection of credit, investment, more income, more savings, more investment, more income". His work eventually won him the Nobel Peace Prize and inspired other microfinance organizations and institutions such as Kiva who is famous for leveraging the power of the internet and online crowdsourcing to increase the scale and reach of microfinance services. Occording to the organization, between their founding in 2005 and 2015, they have "enabled more than 1.5 million people to fund over 2 million borrowers in over 80 countries [resulting in] nearly $1 billion dollars lent to borrowers and repaid at a rate greater than 97%."[2]

Participant Recruitment and Selection

 

Deliberation, Decisions, and Public Interaction

 

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

 

Analysis and Lessons Learned

 

Secondary Sources

[1]  Robert Peck Christen, Richard Rosenberg, Veena Jayadeva, "Financial Institutions with a 'Double Bottom Line': Implications for the Future of Microfinance," Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (Vol. 8, July 2004): https://goo.gl/Lim9gp

[2] "What is Microfinance," Kivahttps://www.kiva.org/microfinance

External Links

'The Microfinance Delusion - Who Really Wins?' (The Guardian): https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/201...

Kiva https://www.kiva.org/

Notes

 

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