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Microfinance in the Asia Pacific

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The use of financial services as a development tool has taken a variety of forms over the past 25 years—rural credit schemes offering heavily subsidised loans to poor farmers, microfinance organisations providing working capital loans to predominately female micro-entrepreneurs, and a variety of organisations offering a range of financial services (credit, savings and insurance) to help poor households increase incomes and reduce their vulnerability to income fluctuations. Microfinance providers in Asia and Latin America have been world leaders, and the demonstration effect of their successes has helped to build substantial microfinance industries in countries such as Indonesia, Bangladesh and Bolivia. Africa has fewer well-known programs but some notable performers and growing microfinance sectors nonetheless; while regions such as the South Pacific have few if any microfinance successes. This paper highlights some key themes in the development of microfinance, with particular reference to the Asia Pacific region.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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