sub-saharan-africa-niger-nigerian-water-pot-on-headThe number of people around the world who have access to microcredit financing has fallen for the first time in 13 years, reflecting turmoil in the sector and fall out from the global financial crisis.  The total number of people with access to microloans and other financial services fell by 10 million in 2011 compared to 2010.  The sector had ballooned since the 1990s, reaching hundreds of millions of people and expanded to include insurance, savings, and other financial products.  The decrease of the microfinance industries in India and Bangladesh had a great impact on these falling numbers, as these two countries originally were large hubs for microcredit. However, Sub-Saharan Africa added 1.4 million clients over the same time period.  Reports also site the decline in the industry to donor fatigue, investor wariness, and the tendency of investors and MFIs to flock to regions where microfinance already exists.  Getting the industry back on track will require a new understanding of clients’ needs, preferences, and aspirations, as well as designing new tools for delivering products and services to them at lower costs.  Microfinance is trying to find ways to more efficiently connect with people around the world who are financially excluded.  The demand for microfinance has been estimated to be 1B dollars per year, about four times the amount available.  This highlights the need to build up the sector all across the globe and prevent the number of loans given out from falling in future years.

About Katherine Rodota

Katherine is a recent graduate from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she studied International Business and French. She is currently working at a private equity firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. Katherine loves to travel, and recently spent her summer volunteering in Mauritius.