Introduction to Portfolios of the Poor: An Interview with Bob Christen

Bob Christen, director of the Financial Services for the Poor Initiative at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, offers a thoughtful introduction to Portfolios of the Poor. Critical to the value of microfinance, he states, is the recognition and understanding of the nuances in the financial lives of the poor: broader financial inclusion can be achieved in ways that extend beyond loans for investment purposes. Portfolios revealed that what poor households need are better ways to manage and save their limited resources. Christen emphasizes that with this awareness, microfinance practioners can design a better generation of financial instruments for the poor, and identifies Portfolios of the Poor as the "guide" to achieve this goal.