> Posted by Center Staff
Nancy Barry pioneered lending to small enterprise at the World Bank in the late 1970s, and she later wrote its policy on this type of lending. She also designed projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and led expansion of the World Bank’s small business portfolio from zero to $3.3 billion in only a decade.
While at the World Bank she joined the board of Women’s World Banking (WWB), a network of women-led microfinance institutions, serving as its president and CEO for 16 years. Most recently, she founded Enterprise Solutions to Poverty, which works with about 130 leaders of emerging market corporations and multi-national corporations that are engaging large numbers of poor people as suppliers, distributors, and consumers of products and services that build assets.
Barry shares her thoughts on the microfinance industry past, present, and future in the fifth installment of the “Microfinance Matters” interview series:
In her early days as a young professional at the World Bank, Nancy Barry traveled to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. She observed micro-venders everywhere — selling farm produce in villages or whatever they could in the streets of cities. “I became obsessed with finding ways to build out to the bottom 50 percent of the economy,” she recalls.
Armed with an MBA from Harvard University, she pioneered lending to small enterprise at the World Bank in the late 1970s, before microfinance was known among development professionals. Barry went on to write the World Bank’s policy on small enterprise lending, design projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America and lead expansion of the Bank’s small business portfolio from zero to $3.3 billion in 10 years.
While at the World Bank she joined the board of Women’s World Banking (WWB), a network of women-led microfinance institutions…
To read more of the interview with Barry, click here.