The microfinance industry is itself becoming a global phenomenon. The proliferation of microfinance programmes - and in particular of a single loan product - has been accelerated by a global publicity campaign, the MicroCredit Summit. Women were to be targeted, but it is clear that women do not always benefit from credit for microenterprise. This article examines the circumstances of women microentrepreneurs - and finds that some of them are powerless home workers. It also examines the financial products aimed at them - and calls for more products, such as savings accounts, money transfers, or loans for domestic equipment. Also, as microfinance organizations (MFOs) develop and as the sector moves to embrace mainstream financial institutions, it is increasingly difficult to ignore the role of international capital markets. There is a need for 'patient capital' which will be rooted in and respond to local concerns. Financial services should be delivered as effectively and efficiently as possible, but subsidies may continue to be a necessary component in achieving this. Finally, it is argued that although NGOs may continue to provide only a small proportion of the financial services available, they should continue to play a strategic role in their development.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Small Enterprise Development|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sept 1999|