From Revolution to Evolution: Charting the Main Features of Microfinance 2.0

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The past 30 years or so have seen microfinance take off from small group-based lending experiments to several thousand microfinance institutions (MFIs) serving a growing portion of the developing world today. Nevertheless, the challenge to improve broad-based access to financial services remains—going beyond credit and into other products such as savings, insurance, and money transfer services. Where is the microfinance industry headed? This essay reviews the available evidence and argues that both the public and private spheres are crucial to the continued dynamism and expansion of the microfinance industry: the private sector continuing as a source of product and process innovations; and the public sector taking on a strong market enabling and development role.