Triple Pundit: What Is The Future Of Microfinance?
The outlook that emerged from the 2011 Net Impact conference has experts quite positive despite scandals over the past year.
It’s been a tough year for the image of microfinance. Mohammud Yunus was removed from his Nobel Prize winning Grameen Bank in March and scandals have erupted due to increased debt and high interest rates in countries such as India. Is microfinance just a fad that is now approaching its end? No way, say the experts. At the 2011 Net Impact Conference, the outlook was positive surrounding the future of microfinance.
Innovations to Keep an Eye On:
1. Technological Innovation
Thanks to innovative companies like M-PESA in Kenya, mobile banking is revolutionizing microcredit in developing countries. Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President & CEO of Women’s World Banking, confirms that powerful things can be done these days with a cell phone. She asserts that internationally, women are 33 percent less likely to own a phone, yet they are the primary money managers in the family. “Women value confidentiality and convenience,” Iskenderian explains, “and mobile banking offers both.” She sees increasing access to mobile banking as a main priority in the near future and is determined to get phones into the hands of more women worldwide.