Measuring the Impact of Microfinance: Looking to the Future

Measuring the Impact of Microfinance: Looking to the Future

Over the last several years, a revolution in thinking has taken place concerning the role of financial services in global economic development. In this context, it is critical to make a distinction between two elements in this revolution: microfinance and financial inclusion. Microfinance is the global industry that provides credit, savings accounts, insurance products, and various combinations of these products to poor households. Financial inclusion is the effort to ensure that poor households have access to the financial tools they need to build assets, manage risk, smooth cash flows, and take advantage of income- generating opportunities. While credit, savings, and insurance all remain central to this effort, financial inclusion brings increasing emphasis on the overall financial ecosystem, including payments systems and the engagement of a range of providers. This shift in thinking creates a compelling challenge for this third paper in the Measuring the Impact of Microfinance series.

Measuring the Impact of Microfinance: Looking to the future is the third in a series of literature reviews commissioned by the Grameen Foundation to survey and contextualize the available evidence on the impact of microfinance. The Microfinance CEO Working Group is especially pleased to be co-publishing this document for one simple reason: All of us need to fully understand the state of the research in the field we are dedicating our lives to. This study does just that, using language everyone can understand. Most of us are not researchers, and not all of the research out there is accessible in a meaningful way to us.

This review of the literature makes a massive amount of the best research accessible to all of us.
This report was authored by Kathleen E. Odell and published by the Grameen Foundation, Accion, Dominican University’s Brennan School of Business, and the Microfinance CEO Working Group.

Download the report here:

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