Browse by Theme: Financial Inclusion

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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Empowering women is not without risks – we need to identify and overcome them...

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CARE's own microlending initiative, Lendwithcare.org, welcomed its Microfinance Institution partners from around the world to a workshop in London last week. The members highlighted how microcredit remains effective in fighting poverty, how peer-to-peer platforms can support this, and how social performance can be effectively measured and incorporated into its delivery.

All of this is in contrast to recent questions from sceptics over whether the peer-to-peer micro lending model really helps tackle poverty.

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The World Bank is starting to put the money behind its thinking on Fragile States. However, as a 10-year evaluation of its work in fragile and conflict affected states shows, getting the finance might have been the easy part.

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