The first five surveys in the Banana Skins Series looked explicitly at microfinance; this year’s survey takes a broader look at financial inclusion.
The reason is that microfinance has changed. Originally, it was seen as a way of making very small loans to groups (primarily of women), relying on group dynamics and social cohesion to ensure timely repayment. It proved extremely successful - so successful that, in some ways, it outgrew its original rationale.
This year’s survey recognises that. It now embraces the wider challenge of financial exclusion and inclusion bringing basic (appropriate, affordable) financial services to the underserved in developing countries around the world, sometimes on a commercial basis but often with some form of subsidy, subvention or pump-priming by agencies either in-country or in the more developed economies of the world.