It is time for DFIs to adopt an alternative approach to financial inclusion that prioritizes needed market changes. A shift to a market systems approach addresses this need and requires that DFIs carefully analyze each market to determine the key gaps, underlying causes, critical actors, and theory of change for bringing about sustainable market development.
These guidelines are intended to provide guidance for funders promoting financial inclusion or pro-poor financial services markets as part of their development mandate. The target audience includes multilateral and bilateral donors, development finance institutions, and foundations.
The paper reviews how USAID, through two programs and in partnership with a series of market actors, helped change the microfinance market dynamics in the Philippines—from a specialized activity with limited outreach and highly dependent on subsidized credit, to a more inclusive and robust market-driven segment of the financial sector.
Despite significant funding for financial inclusion efforts worldwide—an estimated US$34 billion was committed as of 2015—approximately 2 billion adults remain excluded from the formal financial system. How do funders of financial inclusion programs know if and how development programs are making a difference?