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MICROFINANCE FRONTIER MARKETS

Problem

In countries with frontier markets (a subset of emerging markets) there are a large number of underserved micro-entrepreneurs and low income individuals, who are not covered by microfinance services despite a high demand for them. This is largely attributable to the lack of financial institutions with adequate capacities (methodologies, products) to serve this segment. These weaknesses result from:
a) Lack of proven cost-effective microfinance products; 
b) reluctance on the part of established financial institutions to penetrate these markets due to the perception of high risks and the lack of adequate microfinance methodologies to manage them;
c) insufficient private investment in microfinance operations.

Objective:

To increase the availability of (micro)finance services for underserved microenterprises and low-income populations in frontier markets. To this end, the agenda seeks to create a more developed microfinance industry in Frontier Markets, develop sound MFIs and promote microfinance investments.

MIF Solutions:

  • Promote good corporate governance, adequate lending methodologies and new technologies in MFIs in order to generate demonstration effects, showing that microfinance is viable in countries where this industry is less developed.
  • Foster partnerships -- a combination of local and international investors, along with the presence of technical partners - to successfully create, transform or strengthen MFIs in countries with a less developed microfinance industry.
  • Create / transform high performing MFIs, as well as strengthen existing ones so they grow, in order to have a positive impact on the regulatory framework and on the business environment for microfinance development.

Results and Impact:

  • An increased number of sound MFIs serving the low-income and poor population in frontier markets;
  • An increase in the portfolios of credit and other microfinance services in Frontier Markets;
  • An increase in the number of low-income and poor clients being serviced by financial intermediaries in frontier markets;
  • An improvement in the institutional framework for microfinance in these countries.
  • As a result, underserved poor and low-income people and micro-entrepreneurs improve their access to credit, savings and other financial services.