This week, The Wall Street Journal featured a pair of articles on current issues in microfinance. The first highlights the varied strategies governments across Asia are employing to promote financial inclusion, including mobile technologies and India's policy of universal bank accounts. However, some are concerned about the $80 overdraft feature of these accounts, and liken the potential risk of indebtedness to the past failures of microfinance. FAI's Executive Director Jonathan Morduch notes that indeed, microfinance's impact on poverty alleviation to date has been "disappointing."
A companion piece takes a deeper dive into the impact of microcredit, covering the recent publication of six impact evaluations in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics and the subsequent World Bank conference. We at FAI recently shared our thoughts on the studies and WSJ quotes FAI's Managing Director Timothy Ogden in the article. He notes, “Bringing these together really has shifted the conversation. There are a lot of people that were unaware that microfinance fails to lift many people out of poverty."
Click below to read more on the financial inclusion landscape in Asia and the impact of microcredit: