If microfinance is to rely on impact investors to fund its future growth, it's crucial that it build credibility with both financial-first and below-market investors. Without clearer and more accurate investment propositions, microfinance could progressively alienate all its investors.
Efforts to improve MFI governance are central to making our industry’s responsible finance movement robust in its practices – not just high-minded principles — and ensuring that it offers meaningful benefits to clients.
Public funders have been instrumental in promoting and developing the microfinance industry; close to 70% of cross border public funding going into microfinance comes from public sources. Currently, the financial inclusion world is abuzz with excitement about branchless banking and the potential of services like M-PESA in Kenya to dramatically reduce costs and increase access to financial services. Yet branchless banking is a new delivery channel mainly implemented by private stakeholders such as for-profit mobile network operators or commercial banks.
MIVs constitute the largest group of MIIs. MIV investment levels quadrupled between 2006 and 2008, and today, according to Symbiotics and MicroRate 2011 MIV surveys, more than 100 MIVs manage total assets of around US$7 billion.
Opportunities for reasonably-valued equity investments still remain, but the majority of recent transactions by foreign-owned funds suggest that finding such opportunities is not necessarily an easy task.