There's been a great deal of excitement over the last few years regarding the potential for mobile money to solve a host of development problems. An increasing number of post-conflict countries are all experimenting with or thinking about mobile money implementations. In addition to the normal issues and challenges facing policymakers and service providers, post-conflict and post-disaster countries face additional problems that merely serve to exacerbate the overall challenges with mobile money.
Access to finance is the most significant obstacle to business growth globally (16.2%) and experts estimate that there are 310 to 380 million enterprises that need more credit but can’t access it, with collective needs totaling $2.1 to $2.5 trillion.
With a series of crises unfolding throughout much of the Arab world today, the donor community has been challenged to find appropriate ways to address the widespread loss and increasing vulnerability in the region.
Transparency on funding for microfinance made significant progress over the last decade. There are strong reasons to believe that transparency contributes to more effective and more responsible funding.
There is broad recognition within the development community that donors have contributed significantly to building microfinance institutions that serve the poor around the world. But isn’t it time donors updated their investment portfolio to reflect new thinking and the new reality on the ground? It takes a broader ecosystem of providers to deliver the diverse set of services that the poor need. Strategies that remain focused on only one of these providers – MFIs – are missing the bigger picture.
How can aid agencies begin to ‘take’ market development thinking and practice into their efforts to enhance financial services for poor people? Drawing from wider experience, here are five basic starting points to consider.
With increasing scrutiny of aid budgets in donor countries, the pressures to prove impact of development programs are higher than ever before. It is relatively easy to assess impacts in a backward-looking fashion when there is already some record of progress, but measurement challenges are more daunting at the start of a program, when impact assessment needs to be forward-looking.