Research & Analysis

The Missing Links: Financial Systems

In April 1995, 90 leaders of finance ministries, central banks, financial institutions, international development agencies, and Women’s World Banking (WWB) participated in the WWB Global Policy Forum in India, to build actions that would open financial systems to the world’s poor majority. The purpose was to pull together public and private financial leaders with the power to transform local and global financial systems in ways that will open access to millions of low- income entrepreneurs. During the Policy Forum, leaders arrived at consensus on the approaches and actions needed, and committed to moving the recommendations into practice.

This Global Policy Forum was both the culmination and the beginning of a movement to transform development paradigms, policies and financial flows in favor of the world’s poor majority. In January 1994, WWB convened a United Nations Expert Group on Transforming Financial Systems. Forty of the world’s leading microfinance practitioners created a report and set of action recommendations. In September 1994, these recommendations were adopted by the Donors Committees on Small and Medium Enterprises and Financial Sector Development, as the guiding principles for funding. The paradigms, approaches, and recommended actions outlined in this report represent a strong consensus among the world’s financial leaders who participated, the world’s leading microfinance institutions, and the world’s low-income entrepreneurs.