Browse by Theme: Financial Inclusion

The UN Climate Change talks and the agreement of the Sustainable Development Goals are going to be incredibly important for both NGOs and business in 2015 – but what are some of the other key issues we will be working on with business this year? Here, four of our inclusive business experts have rounded up some key initiatives and (frankly) wishes for 2015...

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I have just spent a few days in Dhaka talking to the Bangladesh Central Bank and a number of the key commercial banks in the country, as part of a research project into the role of banks in furthering financial inclusion. At CARE International, our focus is on the poorest people at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’, and the research so far has posed a key question – what do we think of banks placing a strong emphasis on the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) market, rather than reaching further down the pyramid?

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Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) are a key way to provide access to financial services for people living in areas which financial institutions typically ignore and where the cycle of poverty prevails. They do exactly what their name suggests: provide a way for a group of individuals in any community to save their money and to access loans. But the benefits don’t stop there: later on, VSLAs also serve as an onramp to formal financial services.

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Today CARE has submitted written evidence to the International Development Committee (IDC) of the House of Commons on our peer-to-peer lending network, Lendwithcare. (For a snappier and more entertaining overview of Lendwithcare, see our new Christmas animation.) The IDC is currently looking at jobs and livelihoods and is interested to understand more about the role that a relatively new way of funding micro-enterprises can play in generating growth and jobs in developing countries.

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The Trust Women conference (on 18-19 November) was fundamentally about women’s rights. You can’t talk of rights without talking of financial services because this encompasses so much else. Why are women not accessing education? Why do women not have access to banks? Why are women being discriminated against?

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From time to time here at The MasterCard Foundation, we are asked to support a statement of principles or a code of conduct, writes Ann Miles, Director, Financial Inclusion at The MasterCard Foundation.

Often, these requests fall outside of our areas of operation, so we politely decline. Every now and then, though, we’re asked to sign such a document that aligns so well with our own vision and mission that we are pleased to do so.

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CARE International’s approach to SME development includes access to finance as an important element. But we also believe that it is essential to adopt a systemic view of the market system and of the socio-economic situation of the individuals and communities with whom we work.

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