Browse by Theme: Financial Inclusion

The IMF World Bank Annual meetings set the big picture on global finance – this year talk was how to cope with slowing growth rates in emerging economies. CARE went to ensure that some of the conversation focused on how those living on less than $2 a day manage their finances and why more banks should support the Linking for Change Savings Charter. Here’s what we found...

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CARE International and Accenture are jointly creating a Financial Inclusion Maturity Model – which will provide a unique viewpoint on financial inclusion in the developing world. It will support financial institutions in expanding the scope of their services to the unbanked and under-banked in a commercially viable and socially inclusive way.

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Recently I had the honour of presenting at the PowerShift Conference on Women in the World Economy, hosted by the Oxford University Saïd Business School. PowerShift was hands down the most inspiring conference I have ever attended, largely because it drew together companies, NGOs and academics in a way which not only gave participants a comprehensive overview of the current status quo of women and finance but also encouraged them to envision what the future might look like.

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There are 2.5bn people who are financially excluded – who have no access to basic financial products, like savings, credit or insurance. I’ve just been to Kenya to visit Banking on Change, a programme which is changing that. I met young men and women who have joined savings and loans groups set up by CARE Kenya through Banking on Change, a partnership between CARE, Plan and Barclays. Here are five things that the visit impressed on me.

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Peer-to-peer (P2P) micro-lending platforms, such as lendwithcare, have become a popular method of supporting small businesses in developing countries. Local microfinance institutions (MFIs) select borrowers and appraise their loan applications, which if approved, are financed by the P2P platform. Lendwithcare was established in 2010 and to date around 17,000 individual lenders have financed loans to more than 8,000 borrowers across 10 countries. Our experience over the past four years is that as their loans are repaid, lenders invariably re-lend rather than withdraw their money. But while lendwithcare has proven to be very popular with supporters, is it an efficient way for MFIs to access funding?

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A researcher working for CARE International sent me an expert survey. The questions began, “What is your definition of women’s economic empowerment?” I thought long and hard. I finally answered: An economically empowered woman is one who can leave home if she has to.

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The development world has long embraced micro-finance, and there is a lot of hype about micro-entrepreneurs, but what exactly is a micro-franchise?

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